Taxman files legal complaint against thousands who regularised capital

Belgium's special tax squad has filed a legal complaint in connection with 61,546 tax regularisation dossiers. The tax service suspects that successive rounds of tax regularisations during the past twelve years have allowed significant money laundering.

The special tax squad believes that 36 billion euros has been laundered in Belgium. It comes to this conclusion because tax or fines were only due on the interest these funds generated, but the funds formerly kept beyond the ken of the Belgian taxman have been laundered at the same time as the interest.

Between 2004 and 2013 fines or tax between 4.5% and 8.7% was paid on the capital that was regularised. Under a later regularisation a tariff of 35% was charged.

Financial expert Michel Maus says that members of the public repatriating funds after the regularisation merely had to show that the monies had been regularised for the period covering the past seven years. This is because the taxman can't go back in time any further. Anybody who laundered money before then can be prosecuted and this explains the present complaint.

Concerns remain about what local prosecutors will do with the complaint. Prof Michel Maus points out that they do not have the means to reopen 60,000 dossiers: "They don't possess the manpower. If they wish to take this course of action, it will be hard to deal with in practice."