Belgian tax procedures vary slightly depending on the type of tax. However, a common feature of Belgian tax procedures is that there is no fee or cost due to the tax authorities or to the courts. The taxpayer may defend itself before the tax authorities and the courts, and thereby avoid paying fees to counsel.
Tax procedures may be slow. The tax authorities may revisit taxpayers’ files after several years, administrative appeals may take several months, and the courts are under-resourced. Nevertheless, most misunderstandings are swiftly settled at the stage of an administrative procedure organised as a series of open discussions where the taxpayer has access to the tax authorities’ files.
Special services have been organised within the tax authorities to serve as intermediaries between taxpayers and the services in charge of assessing taxes. The Ruling Commission was created to prevent disputes, while the Tax Conciliation Service was created to assist taxpayers in tax disputes.
This chapter focuses on income tax disputes and the procedure organised by the federal legislation.