6

Do they pay tax in Belgium, their country of origin or a special E.U. tax?

5

They only pay a special E.U. tax.

From the European Commission Permanent officials page:

As a European civil servant, your salary is not subject to national income tax. Instead, salaries paid by the Commission to its officials are directly subject to a Community tax which is paid directly back into the EU's budget. This tax is levied progressively at a rate of between 8% and 45% of the taxable portion of your salary. An additional special levy is in place until 2012 (see Article 66 of the Staff Regulations ).

3
  • Do you know if this is a similar rate of taxation(in euros) if they paid directly to the Belgian treasury?
    – Karlth
    Jan 7 '13 at 13:20
  • @user357320 Sorry, no; I don't know the Belgian tax system. Probably it depends on the exact situation.
    – gerrit
    Jan 7 '13 at 13:22
  • According to UKIP's Farange EU officials pay 12% tax.
    – Karlth
    May 22 '13 at 14:03
4

No, they don't pay any local taxes on their income and there is an excellent reason for that. Such a tax would effectively be a subsidy from the EU budget and EU member states to the states that happen to host the main institutions. It could also provide those states with leverage over these institutions beyond what's provided for in the treaties.

Incidentally, this is an old and established principle that applies to all international organizations.

What I don't understand is why the EU established this “Community tax”, which seems a purely circular thing, coming from one part of the EU budget to return directly ti the same budget.

8
  • Certainly the reason must be that the EU doesn't want a section of its citizens to be tax free, using services that other citizens (on lower salary) pay for.
    – Karlth
    Oct 3 '14 at 9:55
  • 2
    @user357320 That makes no sense, it's a pure fiction, the money comes from the same pool in any case and doesn't pay for the public services EU civil servants use in the country they are stationed. Since the EU budget come from taxes or customs duties in the first place, other citizens somehow “pay for it” in any case but if there were no taxes, the wages would simply cost less to the EU, with exactly the same net result.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 3 '14 at 10:16
  • 1
    Incidentally, the notion that EU civil servants have extraordinarily high compensation is a legend repeated for political reasons. Meaningful comparison is difficult but in Luxembourg, one of the seats of the EU, the lowest EU pay grade is actually lower than the local minimal wage. In some member states like Denmark, it's also difficult to attract people with the right skills because the pay is too low for them. It's obviously higher than what people make in Romania but that's a trivial function of the type of work EU civil servants do and the location of the institutions.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 3 '14 at 10:18
  • I think it is not a fiscal issue but a moral one. People, at least in the UK and Iceland, frown upon tax free salaries - for example in Iceland absolutely everyone has to pay taxes on their salary above a certain amount, nobody is exempt. So I think it is not a question of where the money goes or where it comes from to but rather of "if I pay he should too." Even if the money just goes directly back to the EU.
    – Karlth
    Oct 3 '14 at 10:35
  • 2
    Going by the same argument, shouldn't all government employees pay zero tax too? After all, its pretty much equivalent to the government shuffling money around between different pockets. Dec 21 '18 at 20:02

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