Industry representative body Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is confident that the adoption of a new fiscal Diamond Regime - commonly known as the 'Carat Tax' - will give a new impetus to the Antwerp diamond industry and will attract new companies to the diamond capital, or encourage those that had left to return, writes Belgian daily De Tijd. Antwerp's diamantaires recognize their tax burden will increase, "But we accept this fact," said one prominent trader. "Our main concern is legal certainty," which the Carat Tax will provide. "Diamond traders have been asking for a transparent and stable fiscal climate," says AWDC spokeswoman Margaux Donckier. "Legal certainty is an essential component to doing business."
AWDC is convinced that many companies which had left Antwerp in recent years, specifically due to uncertainties regarding tax compliance obligations, will recognize that Antwerp has much more to offer than a favorable tax system alone and will return as a result of the new fiscal regime. "We consult our stakeholders regularly," says Donckier. "From these discussions it was clear that they are prepared to return to Antwerp and reestablish a company once a more predictable system is in place. According to our calculations, our turnover will increase 10 - 15% once the Carat Tax is implemented." AWDC emphasizes these are not empty assertions, but are rather based on research into the impact of the Carat Tax.
"The Carat Tax increases the attractiveness of Antwerp as the largest diamond trade center in the world. Diamond traders from abroad travelled here to attend our information sessions about it. The meetings were a huge success. Diamond companies then started requesting their accountants to prepare to return to Belgium. It should happen very quickly. We except to see a difference in just a few months." The Belgian Parliament is on the verge of adopting the new regime into law, after which it will enter into force immediately and be applicable to all registered diamond traders as from tax year 2017 (income year 2016).