Ruling service fully operational again

The federal Service for Advance Rulings in Tax Matters (shortened as “ruling service” or “ruling commission”) is headed by the so-called “committee”. The committee is composed of at least three and a maximum of six members that are appointed for a term of five years. Their term can be renewed (Art. 2 of the Royal Decree of 13 August 2004).

José Vilain, former staff member of Elio Di Rupo, is a former member of the committee. After his renewed candidacy was rejected, he challenged the appointment of the three French speaking members of the committee before the Council of State. The Council of State ruled on 28 April 2017 that indeed the appointment was insufficiently substantiated and annulled the appointment of Véronique Tai, Serge Riga and Matthieu Bataille.

The annulment resulted in the impossibility for the ruling service to legally convene and to issue its rulings. When questioned on the matter in the Finance Committee, minister Johan Van Overtveldt confirmed that taxpayers still had the possibility to submit ruling requests pending the members of the ruling committee to be reappointed. Those requests would already be investigated by the staff members of the ruling service, so that a decision thereon could be taken once the college is fully operational again (Full Report of Finance Committee, 10 May 2017, nr. CRIV 54 COM 659, 22).

As a result of the annulment, the government had to repeat the entire appointment process, including a new call for candidates (issued in the Belgian Official Gazette on 10 May 2017) and exams. This procedure has now been concluded and resulted in the same three candidates as before to be appointed.

Even though this is not expressly stated in the press release, the appointment of Véronique Tai, Serge Riga and Matthieu Bataille has been approved during the council of ministers of past Friday 30 June 2017. This means the ruling service is now fully operational again and can again issue its rulings.