Corporation tax reform too little for American Chamber of Commerce

The corporation tax reform announced this summer by the Michel government does not go far enough.

This is the view of the American Chamber of Commerce (“AmCham”) in Belgium. The nominal tax will go down to 25% by 2020, but according to the organisation, this is still above the European average. It states, “The ultimate objective should be to reach a uniform rate of 20% for all companies.”

The federal government decided over the summer to reduce corporation tax. It is thus intended to go from 33.99% now to 29% next year, before reaching 25% in 2020. For Small and Medium Entreprises (PMEs), there will be a faster change as the rate will reach 20% from next year, in respect of the first 100,000 euros a company earns.

For a long time now AmCham has demanded a tax rate of 20% for all companies – both large and small. AmCham stresses that efforts are being made across the whole of Europe to improve the attractiveness of all European countries to foreign investors. The pressure could be further exacerbated by AmCham in Belgium if the Trump administration reduces the rate to 15% in the United States, as it has announced.

AmCham also fears the operation of the Belgian federal government, which is presented as budget-neutral, will not enable a reduction of fiscal pressure for businesses. It says, “Some industries are finding, both directly or indirectly, that they are paying more to the Belgian state.”

The organisation is moreover calling for the retention of notional interest in its current form. The latter has not been removed by this summer’s agreement but simply adapted. AmCham regrets, “International businesses are seeking clear and coherent rules, and regulatory changes which can be easily anticipated and planned for. This is not the case in Belgium.” It goes on, “Other alterations of the deduction of notional interest will not only influence its efficiency, but will send out a bad signal to investors.”

Amongst AmCham’s other priorities feature more efficient government and better collaboration between the various levels of government in Belgium. AmCham also seeks a reduction in labour costs, as well as better transport systems, by Belgian investment in transport infrastructure and by introducing a toll for all road users.

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