Wealthy people in particular withdraw a lot of black money from foreign accounts. Not only the Dutch, but also the Belgians are trying to quickly clean up their act before the fine is increased. There is also help with voluntary disclosure, and this is widely used, because no one wants a high fine. Belgians are also bringing black money back to their own country en masse. Black money is still an important issue in 2020.
The hunt for black money seems to be having more and more effect. Quite a few Dutch and Belgians now seem to be getting their money’s worth. The Belgians had a large amnesty scheme, where black money could be laundered without a fine. If this money did not come from money laundering or crime. The government has even set up an official Regularization Contact Point. In 2020, it will also be the case in Belgium that anyone who announces that they have dirty money (confessing) will receive a fine. The fine increases to 10%. Many Belgians now take the 10% fine for granted, fearing the high fine if they do not voluntarily surrender. Moreover, it appears that the fine will only increase further in the coming years.
What many Europeans fear is the collapse of banking secrecy. This means that data can quickly end up with your own tax authorities. It remains to be seen whether things will actually progress this quickly, but people no longer want to wait for that opportunity. Belgium is even said to have promised the Netherlands an automatic exchange of tax information. It is obvious that Belgium will also submit similar requests to other countries and the hunt for undeclared savings will intensify.
Assistance with voluntary disclosure – the voluntary disclosure scheme
Belgium has therefore had its major voluntary disclosure scheme several years ago. In the Netherlands, fine-free disclosure will be a thing of the past in 2020. The fines handed out may be higher the longer the money is hidden. The significantly higher fine on black money apparently deters quite a few people. Anyone who does some calculations will see that if he is caught, a relatively high fine will have to be paid. This usually involves large amounts of money. Especially when the tax authorities can go back to the period before the new tax system with its additional assessment. Before the 2001 system change, you had to pay a high marginal rate on all your income, including your savings, and this can still be recovered.
Reason for disclosing black money
A number of reasons why more black money is being reported than in previous years:
- Political pressure in Europe continues to increase.
- People are rewarded and punished at the same time. You will be rewarded if you make use of the voluntary disclosure scheme yourself, and punished if you are caught by the tax authorities. The reward has disappeared, while the punishment only increases.
- In the past, you still received a high savings interest rate on your assets in the world. Now savings interest rates have become increasingly lower, and it is therefore less and less worthwhile to place money in a foreign account. In fact, a number of medium-sized banks in our country offer relatively high savings interest rates. Why would you then go abroad with your savings?
Turning back is not without problems
Anyone who took advantage of the amnesty scheme in Belgium was a winner. No further questions were asked: the money was laundered, and from that moment on the assets would be taxed. In the Netherlands it works differently. Anyone who uses the voluntary disclosure scheme must answer a laundry list of questions from the Tax Authorities, such as where the money comes from, who deposited it and why. And that can also turn people away. Moreover, the tax arrears can also cost a lot. These people will not make use of the voluntary disclosure scheme, but will look for a tax haven further away on the planet and seek good advice about it.
The laughing third party in the hunt for black money is of course the Tax Authorities. The economy benefits from the extra savings, and the government coffers are filled with the fine, the overdue taxes, and the regular levies for the coming years.