The Bureau of Special Tax Inspection (BBI) is increasingly conflicting with the ruling service of tax authorities over tax agreements with corporations. According to de Tejed, this is evident from new personalities in the ruling service.
In the past year, discussions took place between the ruling circuit and BBI or other tax auditors about 12 files before the ruling was closed. There were eleven discussions in 2019, five in 2018 and one in 2017, 2016, and 2015. After one judgment was closed, eleven files were discussed last year, compared to three in 2019, five in 2018 and none in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the majority of discussions, BBI, which targets major tax fraud, ran into problems with judgment files.
Stephen Vanden-Berghey, Chief of the Governing Service, maintains that nevertheless it was explicitly the intention of the governing law to create legal certainty. “Fortunately, in many situations we can still convince the tax auditor that there was no error in our judgment.”
BBI CEO, Jean-Francois Vandermelen, puts the growing number of discussions into perspective. Last year, BBI handled more than 1,600 files. This is much more than the discussions of the eleven provisions. This might be unpleasant for the taxpayers involved, but it’s hard to argue that BBI is chasing judgments. We never open a file because of a verdict. “