This article describes and compares the possibilities under Belgian and Dutch law for taxation by local authorities. The most striking difference is that Belgian local authorities may decide on their own as to which taxes they wish to impose, save for interdictions imposed by law, whilst local authorities in the Netherlands can levy only those taxes allowed by national law.
The main purpose of this study is to enquire if the differences in tax competence are as substantial as one might expect at first glance. More specifically, the authors compare the existence, meaning and scope of some general principles and principles of tax law which are considered to limit the municipal tax competence.
The conclusion is that the scope of some principles and even their very existence seems to be affected to a considerable degree by the extent of the municipal tax autonomy. The Belgian open tax system has been widely constrained by general principles of tax law, that are absent or have less far reaching consequences in the closed tax system existing in the Netherlands. Further research is needed to determine whether the authors’ findings can be extrapolated to other Member States who are operating systems of open or closed tax competence.Intertax