The Belgian Court of Cassation rendered a judgment stating that the Belgian tax authorities are allowed to inspect even the bedrooms of taxpayers suspected of tax fraud. The decision is a continuation of a long chain of similar decisions, e.g., decisions empowering the tax authorities to open chest of drawers and seize computers if they are used for both private and business purposes.
The case related to the above-mentioned judgment was initiated by an owner of an advertising agency who did not declare some of the agency’s income. The court was requested to clarify the freedom of the tax authorities in case of suspected tax fraud. In a previous case, the court clarified that the tax authorities do not need a previous approval of a judge to inspect a part of a living space which is used for work.
The judgment of the Belgian Court of Cassation is in line with intensified efforts of the Belgian tax authorities towards the identification and elimination of tax evasion. To illustrate, the Belgian weekly news magazine Knack reported in February 2020 about a tax inspection related to businessmen, a member of a noble family, and other rich Belgians who allegedly hid taxes by transferring funds to jurisdictions, such as Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the United Arab Emirates. Last year, the Belgian newspaper De Tijd received 3,100 leaked documents which provide information about the tax evasion, which allowed about 50 Belgians to hide up to EUR 13 million per person from the tax authorities.