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Administrative error leads to 27,000 people receiving tax breaks

Illustration picture shows a tax declaration form in French, in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:32 01/11/2021

About 27,000 taxpayers have wrongly benefited from a tax cut in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration. All of them were disabled at some point, but the tax service wrongly considered them permanently incapacitated, according to a report published by Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad last week, citing the federal tax department, FPS Finance.

These taxpayers are now required to pay back hundreds or even thousands of euros. They have been informed by mail of the error and will receive an adapted version of their tax form for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

According to a spokesperson for FPS Finance, 46,000 people were involved but not all of them will be required to make repayments. "This week, about 27,000 letters were sent to rectify the mistakes of previous years,” the spokesperson said.

“For the fiscal year 2021, adjustments will be made gradually as the files in question are processed. Our processes have in the meantime been adapted to avoid this in the future and we apologise to all interested parties for the inconvenience."

The error occurred during manual encoding of the data, with temporary disabilities wrongly recorded as permanent, but the process is now automated which should prevent further errors in the future, according to the spokesperson who added that FPS Finance fully understands the dissatisfaction of the taxpayers concerned. "However, the administration cannot leave unchanged a situation that it knows to be incorrect."

Written by Nick Amies


Frank Lee

But don't worry, no civil servant at the FPS Finance was hurt by this. God forbid one should be reprimanded or lose his or her cushy job...

Nov 1, 2021 12:31