Flanders investigates ‘improper use’ of fiscal benefits for pick-ups
The Flemish Minister for the Budget, Mathias Diependaele (N-VA), starts an investigation about the improper use of the tax advantages attributed to pick-up vehicles. The sales of pick-ups have tripled in the past ten years.
This success is mostly due to the fiscal advantages. When somebody registers a vehicle as a ‘light truck’, he/she pays a very small road tax, and he can fiscally deduct his vehicle costs for the full 100% as professional expenses.
Minister Diependaele thinks there is a lot of improper use in this matter. “At the moment, there are 31.000 officially registered pick-ups in Flanders. Most of them have five seating spaces, and still, they are considered as trucks. I have ordered my administration to investigate if it’s possible to halt the improper use of these vehicles.”
The Minister doesn’t want pick-ups to disappear. Road safety experts are already pointing at the safety risks (mainly for other road users) for years. “But people have the freedom to buy the vehicle they want. If they want a vehicle to tow or just as a status symbol, that’s not my problem.”
“The problem is that those people obtain a fiscal advantage,” he adds. “This advantage is only made for people who use their pick-up vehicle professionally, like the gardener, the building contractor, or the forest supervisor.”
Not so simple
A change in the legislation regarding this problem is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, it’s a federal issue. The definition of ‘light truck’ or ‘light freight’ is part of a cooperation agreement between the different authorities in the country.
So, a change in legislation is subject to the approval of the other regional and federal authorities. Once the study is concluded, Minister Diependaele wants to start up negotiations between the different parties concerned.