Financial Minister talks to Andorra about tax deal

The Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt (Flemish Nationalist) has agreed to a request from the authorities in Andorra to start talks about a tax deal. News that the talks are to take place appear in articles in Tuesday’s editions of the dailies ‘De Morgen’ and ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’.

The Flemish socialist opposition opposes any talks taking place with the Pyrenean tax haven. The Flemish socialist MP Peter Vanvelthoven told the papers that “Andorra is a tax haven and you don’t sign treaties with tax haven”.

"Organised tax evasion"

The Flemish socialists call for the talks to be stopped forthwith.
"In parliament and in the press the Minister says that he wants to take measures to ensure that multi-nationals are taxed fairly, while in practice he is doing quite the opposite”, Mr Vanvelthoven said.

"He is entering into tax treaties with countries that organise tax evasion. This will be the case here too. This has nothing to do with the real economy, as there are hardly any economic relations between Belgium and Andorra”.

Mr Vanvelthoven also says that the talks are against the recommendations made by the Chamber of Representatives’ Special Select Committee on the Panama Papers.

"One of the recommendations that we have just approved is that we shouldn’t enter into tax treaty with tax haven”, Mr Vanvelthoven said.

This view is shared by the Flemish Christian democrats, a party that is a member of the federal coalition. The Flemish Christian democrat Federal MP Roel Deseyn told the papers that Mr Van Overveldt shouldn’t really talk to Andorra “however it depends what the contents of the talks is. This is something that we as a parliament want to have more control over. The end result must be the correct taxation of real economic activity. Under no circumstances should it result in double non-taxation".

Nothing has been decided yet

Meanwhile, Mr Van Overtveldt’s office is keen to stress that talks with Andorra are still in their infancy.

"Belgium will look at what Andorra is asking and if it complies with our country’s pre-requisites. It is not because Andorra wants a treaty that there will be a treaty”, Mr Van Overtveldt’s spokesman Ferry Comhair said.

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