Can Belgium Negotiate New Income Tax Treaties?

Because of its position on bank secrecy rules, Belgium found itself on the OECD gray list of tax havens in 2009. Finance Minister Didier Reynders announced that Belgium would raise the level of information exchange and that his department would start negotiations with its foreign counterparts. At the same time, he announced that Belgium would opt for exchange of information under the EU savings directive.

Belgium’s Ministry of Finance started accelerated negotiations with more than 80 states to sign new income tax treaties, protocols, or tax information exchange agreements that contain a provision for exchange of information that complies with the international standard of article 26 of the OECD model tax treaty.  By July 2009 Belgium had  reached the threshold of 12 TIEAs required and was promoted to the OECD’s white list. In total Belgium has signed 52 treaties and protocols.

However, none of these treaties and protocols has entered into force even though quite a few have been approved by the Belgian Parliament. In fact the entire treaty ratification process came to a halt in 2010 after the Council of State commented on the bills for the ratification of these agreements and pointed out that these income tax treaties were ‘‘mixed’’ treaties.  (read the full article).

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