Unformatted text preview: tes, the government confined itself, in
1989, according to the CSF, to “mentioning that, in relation to 1980, autonomy has been broadened since the Regions
may determine the exemptions.”
As for registration fees on the transfer for payment of real property, autonomy is even more restricted. Here, it is a
question of autonomy in respect of margins in that the federal government is empowered to set the tax base, exemptions
and rates, and the Regions may only establish additional taxes (tax levies) or grant refunds.
There is an absence of autonomy with regard to the tax on vehicle use, for fear of encouraging fictitious registrations in
the Region with the lowest taxation.
Moreover, the CSF has noted that “from the standpoint of taxes in respect of which the fiscal autonomy of the Regions is
not complete, a general principle has been established whereby modifications in the tax base and, as the case may be,
the rates and exemptions, require the agreement of the regional governments.”
To the foregoing observation, it must be added that, since 1993, environmental taxation has been reserved for the
Regions. This is true of so-called ecotaxes, actually excise taxes levied on consumer goods likely to harm the
environment, e.g. because of their containers, of water and waste taxes, except for radioactive waste (the Walloon
Region levies a tax on waste water and another tax on waste, while revenues from the Flemish Region’s environmental
taxes are directly paid to a specialized body, the Mina – Fonds (Spinoy, 1998)), and of the Eurovignette on vehicles and
combinations of vehicles with a maximum weight of under 12 tonnes.
In addition, since 1993, the Regions may levy additional duties on radio-television fees, which, as we will see later, are a
Community tax. The Regions may cede back proceeds from the fees to the Communities or assume certain of their
b) Additional levies and rebates on the personal income tax
According to the CSF, “the Regions also have the possibility of establishing additional taxes or granting rebates on the
portion of personal income tax attributed to them as a joint tax.” Under the law of January 1989, doing so was subject to
prior agreement between the different levels of power and could not lead to greater overall fiscal pressure during the first
three years. Subsequently, the King, i.e. the federal government, may decide the maximum amount of the additional
taxes. Within the same maximum limits, rebates could only appear starting in fiscal 1995 in respect of 1994 revenues.
The Regions have not actually made use of this provision, which was substantially altered in 2001. 184 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance c) New taxes
In light of provisions in the Belgian Constitution and a general taxation principle applied in Belgium, embodied in the
Latin expression non bis in idem, the Regions may levy a tax on any matter provided that there is no federal tax on this
matter or that the federal government has not shown the need to levy such a tax.
This means, in particular, that the Regions could not levy a tax on added value or an excise tax (two taxes that are
coordinated throughout Europe), a corporate income tax or personal income tax, outside their autonomy in respect of
margins in the latter domain. 4.1.4. Other non-tax revenues of the Regions These include two types of revenues, i.e...
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