The House approved Thursday in plenary session, majority against opposition, the bill on various tax provisions. This text, carried by the Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V), could not be approved before the winter holidays with the 2022 budget and the program law. The N-VA then requested a written report. The opposition also criticized the government for tabling many amendments late.
The text makes it possible in particular to include donations to regional disaster funds in the donations allowing a reduction in taxes. It also provides for administrative simplification for seasonal workers and modifies certain provisions concerning frontier workers. For example, compensation for dismissal abroad will no longer be taken into account in the tax calculation. Conversely, the N-VA criticized the pensions section concerning cross-border workers.
For its part, the PTB tabled its amendment announced on Wednesday aimed at reducing VAT on gas and electricity from 21 to 6%. “Let’s do it now“, urged Raoul Hedebouw, calculating that 78 deputies were in favor of the measure.”We will see which parties are in the action and which are doing blah blah.“The amendment was rejected.
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A debate not finished
Christophe Lacroix (PS) recalled the demand of French-speaking socialists to extend the social tariff beyond March 31 and to grant a check for 200 euros to target audiences. “Yes, the VAT reduction was included in our electoral program in 2019. But we also found that a linear reduction will be paid by the whole country to favor, in large part, high incomes. Reducing VAT is Christmas for everyone, including the rich and the very rich.“The deputy also warned of a risk of postponing a future indexation of wages.
Raoul Hedebouw disputed these arguments, calling it “legend“the fact that the richest would overconsume.” If you want to make the rich pay, it is not with VAT that you have to do it, because it is the least redistributive and the most socially unjust tax. This is the ABC of a left-wing economics course, or even just the A.“
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The debate on the reduction to 6% of VAT is not closed. Discussions will continue within the federal government. At the start of the session, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo set three guidelines: the measures that could be taken must be temporary, targeted and sustainable for public finances, he said.