Do you know the Tax Mediation Service?
The Tax Mediation Service is operational as from June 2010. This Service handles mediation requests in disputes over the calculation and claiming of taxes. The success of the Tax Mediation Service shows from its first annual report on mediation between the tax payer and the tax authorities.
Every tax payer which has a dispute with the federal tax authorities on the taxation and claiming of taxes can turn for free to the Tax Mediation Service. This Tax Mediation Service is competent for almost all tax related disputes: VAT, income tax, stamp duties, inheritance tax, cadastral income, customs and excise duties. The Service is e.g. not competent for immovable withholding taxes in Flanders.
Important condition is that the procedure is still in its administrative phase. This means that you cannot have issued a summons before court. Next to this you should have taken the necessary actions towards the tax authorities to come to a solution. For income tax purposes, you can only turn to the Service after the taxation and appeal. But when the Regional Tax Director has taken a decision, you are too late.
Applications to the Tax Mediation Service can be made by mail, by fax, by letter or even orally (attention: disputes over cadastral income should be filed through the investigating tax officer): Koning Albert II-laan 33, box 46, 1030 Brussels (tel. 02 576 23 60, fax 02 579 80 57, firstname.lastname@example.org).
After receipt of your application, the Tax Mediation Service will provide you within five working days with a confirmation receipt. Within fifteen working days after receipt of the application it is communicated whether your dispute qualifies for mediation or not. During the mediation inquiry the mediator tries to bring the parties together and to propose a compromise. Arrangements are laid down in a non-binding report. You can decide for yourself whether you agree with the proposed solution or not.
Annual report 2010
During the last seven months of 2010, the Tax Mediation Service received 1.198 applications (533 in Dutch and 665 in French). This adds up with the 194 applications which were filed before the establishment of the Service.
Most disputes handle on personal income tax and corporate tax. End 2010 986 files were closed (71%). When the application was admissible, 76.17% of the cases ended in mutual agreement.
The Tax Mediation Service is established to reduce the number of court cases. The Service still has to come to cruising speed but it seems a significant initiative for tax disputes. Court cases are after all expensive and time consuming.
The annual report is electronically available on the website of the tax authorities : http://minfin.fgov.be/portail2/fiscal-intermediary/nl/downloads/rapport-annuel-2010.pdf