“50% of Belgians guilty of tax fraud”

Last year, the tax collector found unreturned profits in more than half of his thorough inspections. Economic newspaper De Tijd was able to look into the Finance Department’s annual report, and found these surprising figures. Private individuals as well as companies didn't return part of their taxes, ridding the government of a total of six billion euros.

The tax man usually carries out two types of inspections. The first are management audits, in which the collector checks tax returns, looking for errors. 2.2 million Belgians were subjected to this kind of audit last year. The collector had to make adjustments in one out of every five cases, amounting to a total of about 445,000 tax return errors.

The second type of tax inspections are thorough ones. 91,000 of these more in-depth checks were carried out in 2014. In 53,000 of them, the tax collector found unreported earnings. So, experts conclude that half of Belgians subjected to a thorough tax inspection were found guilty of fraud.

The same trend is seen in companies. Last year, 62,000 commercial enterprises were checked comprehensively. About 36,000 of them turned out not to have reported all of their income. Collecting these unreported taxes lead to an extra 2.5 billion euros of revenue. Furthermore, management audits in the commercial sector helped the collector find another 410 million.

Remarkably, the tax collector found more revenue in 2014, despite carrying out fewer inspections. According to the Finance Department, this is because selections for inspection are now being made centrally (from Brussels), and more carefully.