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Section 7(7) of the special act of July 13, 2001 proposes the amendment of section 5, §3, paragraph (1) of the special
financing act governing the rules in force for the collection of all regional taxes. The general rule remains unchanged.
The federal government will continue to collect free of charge regional taxes, in keeping with its own procedural rules,
although the regions are now entitled to assume responsibility for their collection. One regional tax is an exception, i.e.
the radio-TV fee. The communities will continue to collect the fees until December 31, 2004 at the latest, in exchange for
remuneration. However, nothing prevents the regions from resuming this service in their own name prior to this date.
The Lambermont agreement introduces certain specific rules with which the regions must comply should they decide to
collect their own taxes:
♦ In order to ensure the organizational efficiency of the federal finance ministry, the regions may not collect an isolated tax in
their own name but are obligated to exercise this jurisdiction by group of taxes, i.e. the three small taxes, the three
mobility taxes, the real estate tax alone, and the combined estate tax, duties on gifts and registration fees. ♦ A region’s decision to directly collect taxes will only come into force in the second financial year after it has notified the
federal government of its decision. This rule will ensure that the regions have sufficient time to establish adequate
administrative structures. ♦ When the collection of a group of taxes is transferred to a region, the latter is free to establish its own rules concerning
administrative procedures but will continue to apply federal judicial procedures, which, along with recourse to the council of
state, remain under federal jurisdiction. The objective is to ensure the coherence of the Kingdom’s judicial system. ♦ The transfer of administrative jurisdiction must be accompanied by an optimal exchange of information between the tax
services of the authorities concerned. This exchange is crucial when the authorities need information from other authorities
in order to properly determine a taxpayer’s tax liability. c) Budgetary neutrality
The Sainte-Thérèse agreement announced a twofold budgetary neutrality. On the one hand, vertical budgetary
neutrality implies total compensation for the federal government following the transfers of revenues from the new
regional taxes by means of a reduction in the personal income tax transfer granted to the regions. It is no longer a
question of increasing in this way the regions’ financial resources in order to enable them to finance the exercising of the
new fields of jurisdiction allocated to them. The principle of vertical budgetary neutrality therefore reinforces the key
objective pursued by this transfer, i.e. the granting to the regions of broader fiscal responsibility. On the other hand,
horizontal budgetary neutrality should ensure that no region is put at a disadv...
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