Introduction of a general anti-VAT avoidance measure in Belgium

Apart from the recently announced introduction of the "open market value" as the minimum taxable amount in respect of transactions between connected parties, Belgium has made another step on the road to total eradication of any possible form of VAT avoidance by taxable persons by introducing a measure depriving them of the freedom to choose the "least-taxed way". In this article, the author describes the nature and consequences of the newly introduced Belgian measure and summarizes some critical questions that have been raised in the past as regards similar measures that have existed for more than a decade for income tax and registration duty purposes. Tax practitioners and businesses should be aware that combating VAT avoidance has high priority on the agenda of the Member States and the Commission.