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Individual elements in the Belgian tax system affect the growth process through different channels and to a varying degree.
The paper discusses the current state of fiscal relations across levels of government in Belgium and how it has developed over time.
Prices for many goods and services in Belgium are higher than in other countries, reflecting generally weak competitive pressures.
Economic forecasts for GDP, unemployment, inflation and fiscal balance.
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External links to: recent economic data; current interest rates and exchange rates; latest macroeconomic reports; current outlook and projections; government budget information; speeches; relevant sites.
The tax system is relying too much on relatively growth distorting taxes. Despite reforms, labour taxation continues to contribute to substantial labour market traps while corporate tax rates are relatively high. Moreover, most tax bases are narrowed by numerous exemptions and reductions.
Securing fiscal sustainability requires a reform of the fiscal federalism system. The current transfer system does not align spending and taxing responsibilities and the organisation of the federation is not promoting public spending efficiency.
Competition policies are being strengthened which will improve consumer welfare and growth. However, competition in retail is hindered by unusually extensive sector regulation while the liberalisation of network sectors has been less successful than in other OECD countries.
The Belgian economy has entered into a deep recession. The government responded with prompt interventions in the financial markets and fiscal stimulus, but needs to follow up with long-term structural reforms.
Public finances are shifting further away from fiscal sustainability, emphasising the need for the reform of the fiscal policy making and strategies to deal with the costs of ageing.