Van Peteghem kicks off the debate on tax reform

Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V) is doing well on his intention to start the debate on tax reform before the summer. He does this through a symposium.

Will she still be there this legislature, or will she not be there anymore? It has been the key issue for more than a year and a half about the major tax reform that Van Peteghem must prepare by 2024. The CD&V member himself maintained that he would put a plan on the table by the summer of 2022, but expectations in the Vivaldi government became lower and lower .

The vision of the expert team led by Professor Delanote is more or less the best kept secret at Wetstraat.

First, information about the preparatory work of the expert team led by tax law professor Mark Delanote (UGent) was leaked by MR. Then PS blasted the preparatory work in the Danish Bankers Association out of the blue. This raises the question of whether the climate is not too toxic to lead a mature debate on an extremely sensitive topic.

But Van Peteghem perseveres. On Tuesday morning, many Vivaldi cabinets were surprised to receive an invitation from FPS Finans to a symposium on tax reform on Tuesday 5 July. ‘During this study day, the various policy preparatory recommendations will be discussed.’

The study day was organized on a large scale. First, the Supreme Court will present its recommendations, then a study on greener taxation will be explained, and on top of that comes the general vision statement on the personal income tax reform by Mark Delanote’s expert team, which is more or less considered the best kept secret by Wetstraat. In the afternoon, the International Monetary Fund will respond to the survey and Van Peteghem will present concluding observations.

Pension report Vandenbroucke

The CD & V Deputy Prime Minister’s way of working is somewhat reminiscent of the presentation of the report from the Pensions Committee chaired by Professor and current Minister Frank Vandenbroucke in 2013. Vandenbroucke was then commissioned by then-Pension Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) to draw up a future pension plan . To prevent the professors’ work from being directly threatened politically, the plan was proposed far away from Wetstraat.

The difference is that the performance was not immediately followed by a major political debate. It was not until the formation of the Michel government in 2014 that some of Vandenbroucke’s proposals – such as working up to 67 – were taken up. Van Peteghem wants to approach this differently. He will immediately come up with a political translation in which he will publish his vision of the tax reform. This is not necessarily entirely in line with the recommendations of all experts. As you know, CD&V is still in favor of a ‘double income tax’, where work is taxed progressively and capital via a fixed rate.

Van Peteghem is expected to continue phasing out the special contribution to social security before drawing up a budget for 2023.

There is little chance that the major financial reform will take steps before the summer holidays, but Van Peteghem intends to continue with the budget preparation for 2023 on the path he started last year, especially the further reduction of the financial year special contribution to social security (BBSZ ). It should further contribute to the attempt to make it more attractive to work than not to work and thus increase the employment rate to 80 per cent. And it can also be sold as a purchasing power meter. The big challenge will then again be to put new income from, for example, consumption and capital against a tax relief of a few hundred million.

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