Clamp down on small-time property speculators

The Belgian taxman intends to carry out more checks to ensure that people who buy a house and then sell it quickly are not defrauding the tax service by failing to pay all the tax that is due.

Homeowners who sell a property within five years of the initial purchase have to pay tax on the money they make from this sale as a result of the increase in home prices.

New checks have revealed that thousands of people have failed to do this. The Anti-Fraud Secretary, Carl Devlies (Flemish Christian democrat) explained that by connecting several different data banks large amounts of unpaid taxes have surfaced:

"Often it's semi-professionals who purchase houses in order to improve them and sell them within a short period of time. This is one of the many benefits of matching data from various databanks, VAT data, income tax returns, sale registrations. The matching of these databanks identified 7,000 dossiers that needed a closer look. Tax had not been paid in 2,000 cases. We expect that when the operation is complete we will have raised an extra 27 million euros.”

The tax on the increased value of a house is not due on the sale of a house that has been used as a family residence for at least one year.