The world of finance already seems to evolve at a slow pace, yet some countries manage to come up new ideas that make the situation even worse than before. Recently the Belgian Court of Cassation has decided to let the Department of Finance use any evidence in court, even if it has been obtained through “dubious” activities.
Which Evidence is Allowed and Which is Not?
When governmental bodies and departments start blurring the lines between what is morally correct, and what is an outright breach of privacy, things take a turn for the worse. The main issue most people have with the ruling by the Belgian Court of Cassation is how it will differentiate between “illegal” and “legal” evidence if it opens the floodgates in this way.
Luckily, there is a clause in this proposal which will make it a bit easier to separate right from wrong. Any evidence that is gathered through legal means in Belgium, but is deemed illegal under EU laws, will not be valid in court. However, if it is not deemed illegal under either Belgian or European law but has been acquired “immorally,” there is no reason not to use theevidence.
Belgian CD&V politician Roel Deseyn stated the following:
“All civilians and enterprises have the right to be treated under the rules of transparency, justice and the utmost respect. There is absolutely no room for arbitrariness in financial matters. We [all political parties] will need to take a closer look at this proposition, and if needed, counter is with an official legislative initiative.“
The proposition made by the Belgian Court of Cassation is in stark contrast to the country’s coalition agreement. In this agreement, there is a clause stating that Belgian citizens are treated with respect by the taxman. Granted, several of the procedures regarding taxation in Belgium will need to be evaluated and adapted if necessary. But all of those changes have to occur while keeping the utmost respect for the citizen in mind.
Furthermore, the privacy of all Belgian taxpayers has to be respected and guaranteed at all times, as has been decreed by the European Court of Human Rights. It goes without saying that, if this “ruling” is be used in the future, there will be a lot of questions raised regarding the implementation of this proposition.
Roel Deseyn continued by saying that:
“We should never assume that unlawfully acquired evidence can not be presented in court. The taxman should not be weakened by any means, but they will have to adhere to a legal framework within which they can operate. The only option, suitable for both the taxman and the taxpayer, is creating an set of rules similar to those we use for criminal cases.”
Lack of Transparency Leads to Dubious Decisions
The current financial ecosystem is far from transparent, and governments are slowly coming to the realization that something needs to change. Rather than looking at constructive ways to resolve the matter, government officials are making hasty and uneducated decisions, which will do more harm than good in the long run.
This, once again, shows the need for more transparency in our financial world. Adopting blockchain technology for the betterment of a nation could bring the necessary transparency to the table without harming or disrespecting citizens. However, officials seem to be stuck in the same pattern of thought as 50 years ago, which creates volatile situations like these.
Bitcoin may not be a proper solution to all of the world’s economic problems, but it is showing us that there are other ways to go about handling finances. By treating citizens in a respectful way, and giving them the tools to manage their money, situations like tax evasion and VAT carousels will be far less frequent than they are now.
What are your thoughts on the proposition by the Belgian Court of Cassation? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: De Standaard (Dutch)
Images:De Standaard and Shutterstock
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