The center-right Belgian coalition government of Charles Michel has announced that as of 1 September 2015 the value-added tax rate applied to residential energy service will rise to 21%. The applicable rate had been 6% since 1 April 2014 under initiative of the previous government under Elio Di Rupo.
Reception to the change has been negative from various fronts. Socialische Partij Anders (formerly called the Belgian Socialist Party) came out strongly against the change as did FEBEG (the federation of Belgian Electricity and Gas Companies). The former opposed the change based on the increased cost to families, while the latter’s opposition came from a desire to provide companies a longer period to impliment the change. The consumer group Test-Aankoop calculates that the average family will see an increase in electrical costs of € 250 or more, and started an on-line petition against the change that has received over 100,000 signatures (Belgium has a population of approximately 11.2 million).
In spite of opposition from various sectors, the spokesman for Minister of Finance Johan Overtveldt, Ferry Comhair, said that the increase “must” begin in September.