Not a quiz question, but a serious discussion: How many pints of beer are there in a keg?

How many pints of beer are there in a keg? Although it seems like a quiz question, the Belgian tax authorities and Fedcaf have been discussing it for some time. Although the Council of State agreed with the Belgian Federation of Cafés last year that a keg contains 168 glasses of beer and not 192, as the tax authorities claim, the latter are sticking to their guns. As a result, the Royal Decree of 15 May, which sets the standard VAT regime for pub owners at 192 pints per 50-litre keg of beer, remains in force.

Fedcaf has long contested the tax authorities' rule of calculating how many pints can be tapped from a 50-litre keg. According to the taxman, this is 192 pints, while Fedcaf assumes an average of 168. According to the Belgian Federation of Cafés, this means that twenty-four pints are over-taxed each time.

In the autumn of last year, the Council of State ruled in favour of the pub owners in a procedure that had been initiated in 2020, but on formal grounds. The court did not rule on the merits of the case. Despite the fact that the Council of State annulled this regulation in the autumn, the FPS Finance is still refusing to adjust the calculation.

In particular, the FPS should have submitted the regulation to the legislation section of the Council of State for its opinion before it could enter into force. This did not happen because the FPS considered the regulation to be an administrative provision.

Fedcaf now believes that the royal decree "does not meet the criticism of the form, nor the criticism we had of the content". Therefore, the federation will "make every effort to force the tax administration and the Ministry of Finance to re-establish fair tax bases, based on the real income of pub owners".

The royal decree under discussion sets the rates for 2020, 2021 and 2022.




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