Benelux Countries Sign Agreement To Combat Fiscal Fraud

; posted on
October 17th, 2019

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have signed an agreement strengthening their cooperation in the fight against tax evasion. The attention will be focused on digitalisation to combat new forms of fraud and anticipate new phenomena in this area.

Background

The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg as part of EU Members have been collaborating closely in the area of taxation and combatting cross-border tax fraud since 2001. This collaboration has generated significant financial results and has repeatedly served as a model for combatting fraud on the European level. For example, a system (Transaction Network Analysis) making it possible to automatically detect cross-border VAT fraud was developed by the Benelux and subsequently adopted by the EU.

The measures taken to fight fiscal fraud

The Benelux countries collaboration go even further by participating together in digital projects that will allow the automatic exchange of information between countries. In the field, joint studies will be conducted to detect new phenomena of fraud. The three countries will share their tax experience more closely and closely follow European developments in this area. At least once a year, the tax administrations of the Benelux countries will hold high-level strategic consultations to discuss progress and provide impetus. The agreement also confirms the Benelux finance ministers' willingness to continue to play a pioneering role in the EU through their enhanced tax cooperation.

Scope of cooperation

Further, the scope of the cooperation covers direct and indirect taxes, advance levies (Dutch: voorheffingen) and excise duties. In addition, the Agreement notes that particular attention will be paid to:

  • tackle the risks associated with VAT procedures and direct taxes;
  • improve the exchange of information (best practices), taking into account the domestic legislation with due regard for data protection;
  • improve the multilateral cooperation in fiscal audits/checks using a risk-based approach;
  • integrate further the tax collection within the "tax chain" (Dutch: “fiscale keten”);
  • reform the equine (i.e. horse) industry in line with recommendation M(2016)9 of the Benelux Commission of Ministers which relates to cooperation in tax, customs and veterinary matters of that industry;
  • comply with excise duty legislation;
  • share experiences regarding the tax aspects of the digitalization and e-commerce; and
  • observe relevant EU developments and, where possible, leading by example.

Dutch Government 

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