The Belgian Tax Office claims 30.44 million euros of tax money from brewery group AB InBev. On Friday, two court cases will be brought before the Dutch-speaking court of first instance in Brussels, despite an existing tax deal.
Secret tax deal
For five years, between 2011 and 2015, AB InBev had to pay only 11.2 million euros in tax on a profit of more than 287 million euros in Belgium, Belgian newspaper De Tijd writes. The company had entered into a tax deal with the government for Ampar, its central procurement office, that did not have to pay taxes on 80 % of its profits. However, the Belgian Tax Office did not agree to the deal: it is fighting it and demands more corporation tax for the first two financial years.
The dispute comes at an inconvenient time, because at the same time a lawsuit is going on at European level about Belgian tax deals with forty large companies. Three years ago, European Commission ruled after an investigation that this was unlawful state aid. However, Belgium was proved right by European judges in February, but the European Commission appealed and is now collecting information about the (secret) deals. In short, two cases intersect. In the meantime, AB InBev chose to be on the safe side and moved its purchasing department to tax-friendly Switzerland.