Members of the Belgian parliament yesterday unanimously voted in favour of the country's proposed tax shelter scheme (see 8 Jan 2004)

The scheme, which took practical effect from Jan 1, permits reductions in corporate tax bills in return for guarantees on production spending in Belgium.

Investors are able to enjoy a 150% corporation tax reduction against their investment, while producers have to spend 150% of the equity portion of the investment in Belgium. The tax-shelter does not set any language or nationality restrictions on a production.

The parliamentarians also made a series of recommendations for improvements and extensions to the scheme.

-They suggested to the government that the current ceiling on investment - set at Euros300,000 or Euros500,000 if a loan element is included - be raised.

-They also proposed that the scheme, currently open only to corporations, be accessible by private investors.

-In a further move the members of parliament said that in addition to feature films, the tax shelter should be extended to include television productions.

One financial advisory group commented: "at a time when similar schemes have been shut down in The Netherlands and the UK, we are very happy with the way MPs and the government are clearly willing to support the film industry in Belgium."