Febeg, the Federation of Belgian Electricity and Gas Companies, asks that clear rules will be in place in the event of a possible VAT reduction. The demarcation must be clear for the sector of electricity producers and traders and suppliers of electricity and gas. There were uncertainties about the previous VAT reductions at the time.
The Di Rupo government had already lowered the VAT on energy to 6 percent in 2013, but the Michel government later reversed that. With Van Peteghem’s proposal, the measure is once again more explicit through the Wetstraat.
“There must be very clear rules”, says Marc Van den Bosch, director-general of Febeg, so that the sector can apply them correctly. “During the previous VAT reduction just under 10 years ago, there were uncertainties about the definition. It was then only for private individuals, but then you get discussions.” For example, there was the question of whether the reduction applies to a shopkeeper who lives above his shop, and what about retirement homes where people are domiciled. It must also be clear when a reduction applies. This can be for the consumption in a certain period, or for the invoice that is sent at a given time.
Febeg also charges the same rate for gas and electricity, which can be 6 or 21 percent, but nothing in between because the sector’s systems are not equipped for it. For the energy sector, the measure is essentially cost neutral in itself, because the companies pass on the VAT to the state, says Van den Bosch. On the other hand, members indicate that it is already busy because the energy companies are implementing all kinds of changes to the rules, or the reform of the federal contributions to excise taxes.