Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom

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Fiscal competition and economic freedom

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"Belgium is not a tax haven, but France is a tax inferno!"

What’s the point of a Swiss bank account? Is Belgium still a tax haven? Tax lawyer Thierry Afschrift, member of the IREF Board, was interviewed in Belgian daily La Libre Belgique on 10 November 2012. Read the article.


Is there a demand for fiscal amnesty, in view of the fact that Belgians hold assets worth some € 30 billion in Switzerland?

Yes indeed, there is a demand! This is of interest to those who do not conform to current regulations, e.g. those who hold capital that they cannot explain, without being frauds. Concerning those who have inherited accounts, inheritance taxes are such that it is practically impossible to make it conform. (...)

Is banking secrecy in Switzerland and Luxembourg still guaranteed, seeing that there are international agreements, computer files containing the names of account holders, threats?

I think that Switzerland is clearly setting out to eliminate bank secrecy, and Luxembourg will follow suit, only much more discreetly. Luxembourg’s policy is to align with Switzerland on this topic. (...)

Considering the crisis and the debt issue, don’t you think that a wealth tax is desirable or even unavoidable?

The state of the budget is not the consequence of a lack of revenues, as Belgium is practically the most taxed country in the world. We need to deal with excessive spending, government has to reduce spending but it isn’t happening: the 2012 budget is higher than in 2011. If you look to increase revenue, a wealth tax is clearly the worst solution. Taxing wealth outside of revenues is confiscatory and purely ideological.

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