Reinforcement and investment in the Belgian Special Tax Inspectorate
At the start of this cabinet term, it was decided that the staff resources would be reduced by 2% per year in each administration. This number even amounted to 4% in the first year (2015). From a cumulative viewpoint, this intervention implies a workforce reduction of more than 10%. This measure was and still is required in order to slim down the civil service and with a view to increasing government efficiency.
The Minister of Finance, in charge of Combating Tax Fraud, Johan Van Overtveldt: “The ageing workforce and the outflow of experienced staff combined with this downsizing resulted in too much pressure exerted on the organisation and activities of the Special Tax Inspectorate. In order to address the fight against fraud in a thorough and effective manner, we introduced a number of measures aiming at the reinforcement of the Special Tax Inspectorate. In 2018, staff numbers will reach its highest levels in seven years. Furthermore, there have been investments in ICT and data mining.”
An overview of measures taken:
In 2015, it was decided to increase the STI staff numbers by 100. These people have been recruited meanwhile.
Also, the Belgian government accepted the Finance Minister’s proposal to proceed to the one-to-one replacement of the control staff in the FPS Finance. The Steering Committee of the FPS Finance has now decided on the spread among the different administrations. Consequently, the STI can once again recruit 20 extra staff members.
The BISC (Belgian Internet Service Center) has also been reinforced in view of, among others, the increasing shift towards online platforms. Its staff numbers doubled.
In 2018, the STI will have a workforce consisting of approximately 670 people. This equals a net increase (i.e. following outflow) of 25 persons in respect of 2017 while, moreover, the highest levels in seven years have been reached. Apart from investments in staff members, the STI has an array of new tools and techniques at its disposal, which can be applied to address the growing information flow that is a result of enhanced international data exchange.