Taxman may now see the balance of your bank accounts

In 2018, the government has decided to take the rules on the Central Point of Contact with the Belgian National Bank, which holds the information on taxpayers’ tax accounts, out of the tax code and to provide for it an autonomous legislative framework.

This is the Act of 8 July 2018 “organizing a central point of contact for financial accounts and contracts and extending the access to the central file of notices of seizure, delegation, assignment, collective settlement of debts and protest”.

The purpose of the Central Point of Contact (CPC) is to facilitate the work of the tax administration so that they can direct their inquiries into the bank information of certain taxpayers so that they would not have to contact each financial institution to obtain certain information relating to the taxpayer.

Since the Act of 8 July 2018, whenever a bank account or a current account is opened or closed or when any information is modified, this must be notified immediately to the CPC (Article 4).

Until now, the CPC only had to be informed of the bank account numbers and the account holders. Since January 2022, financial institutions operating in Belgium will have to submit additional information to the Central Contact Point for Financial Accounts and Contracts:

  • the balances on 30 June and 31 December of bank and payment accounts,
  • the aggregate amounts on 30 June and 31 December of investment contracts and related contracts, and
  • the aggregate amount on 31 December of life insurance policies.

Article 20 of the program law of 20 December 2020 has extended the reporting obligation with effect from January 2022 (and the Royal Decree of 6 June 2021). This extended reporting obligation is part of the fight against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and serious crime, and tax evasion.

More precisely, it is foreseen that the periodic balance of bank and payment accounts, as well as the global amount of a set of certain contracts (asset management contracts, certain life insurance contracts) must be reported to the CPC. The first reporting must be done before 31 January 2022. Insurance companies have until 31 March 2022 to report the value of insurance contracts on 31 December 2021.

What has not changed is under which conditions the tax authorities have access to the Central Point of Contact. The taxman only has access to the information if he has indications of tax fraud. There is still some banking secrecy …