Taxpayer or customer? An inductive inquiry into 'fiscal outsourcing' to private service providers on the basis of the Belgian distance charge.

01 January 2021 → 31 December 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Economic, commercial and financial law
    • Tax law
Tax outsourcing -kilometre tax
Project description

Distance charges are used for both environmental reasons and in order to combat road congestion. The distance charge in Belgium, which is for the moment limited to heavy goods vehicles, is not determined and collected directly by the government, but by external private companies which determine and collect the charge (in the form of taxes or other levies such as retributions) on behalf of the Regions. The Regional governments have little to no control over the levying process. E.g., in Flanders, the citizen who has to pay the kilometre tax is no longer in an exclusive relationship with the Flemish Tax Administration, but also obliged by law to enter into a contractual relation with an external service provider. The (tax)payer can therefore not rely on public law procedural safeguards in the levying process, but is confronted, as a customer, with private service providers who impose their own general terms and conditions. Under the current framework, these co-existing intertwined private and tax law relationships are very complex and untransparant for the (tax)payer.

The research aims to analyze the legal protection of the (tax)payer/customer in cases of outsourcing in tax matters on the basis of the example of the distance charge. Its objective is to provide the legislator with a solid legal framework within which the outsourcing of taxes and other public levies, such as retributions, can be achieved while respecting the legal protection of the (tax)payer/customer.