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An example of Belgian Kafkaism
March 29th, 2010 by Eurosocialiste

After I got fined for not declaring that I had nothing to declare, I now have to pay taxes on revenue I never earned. Feeling confused? Welcome to Belgium!

ceci-n-est-pas-une-pipe.jpgLet me try and explain… After I was made redundant because of the crisis a year ago I registered as a freelancer on a complementary basis, thinking boldly: what the hell, what if I were to become my own boss? That didn’t happen though as I found a new full-time job straight away. Having been too busy since then I never used my freelancer status, thus made €0.00 with it. Still I had to fill in VAT declarations. I did so but too late, which is why I got a fine. Fair enough, I should have declared in time that I had nothing to declare. Mea culpa… But isn’t there something a little surreal about fining someone for not having declared that they had nothing to declare? Or am I just not Belgian enough? Anyway, I’m an honest citizen so I paid my fine. I also kept on declaring that I had nothing to declare. That’s how cooperative I am. And then I received a letter from the Belgian tax authorities telling me that I had to pay tax on revenue I never earned. Hold on. I thought you actually had to earn revenue to get taxed on that revenue… or am I missing something?

What is the moral of the story? I am going to get rid of this freelancer status as it is just too much of a bother. It’s a shame as I will probably have freelancing opportunities in the future, which I will then decline because it just seems like too much of an administrative nightmare! When a year ago I was thinking of getting this freelancer status, some friends advised me to register in France or in the UK for it was more interesting tax-wise. But as a socialist, I don’t mind paying high taxes. Besides I thought it was just the right thing to do to register as a freelancer in the country I live. How very idealistic of mine…

PS: If you are a Belgian tax expert, please get in touch with me. Thank you!

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4 Responses  
  • Belgique writes:
    March 30th, 2010 at 10:02

    Bienvenue dans le monde suprenant de l’administration belge. Comme tout expatrié qui se respecte, travaillant aussi dans les affaires européennes, j’ai également eu quelques problèmes avec le paiement de côtisations professionnelles (je suis indépendant), l’obtention d’une carte de résident temporaire, etc.

    Voir plus d’informations sur mon blog.

    P-A

  • PK writes:
    March 30th, 2010 at 13:37

    I have had the same issue, and gave up being independent because it was just too much hassle.

    And as for paying high taxes – I don’t mind so long as I get something in return. Not sure that the high belgian taxes represent value for money in my opinion!

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