Statbel DataLab: new statistics, methods and data sources beta version
Number of cars per household type: from the DataLab to an official statistic
Since 2019, Statbel has implemented a double coupling of the annual population data files and the vehicle fleet files (DIV), on the one hand, and the tax data files (Belcotax) making it possible to count the number of company cars, on the other hand.
This methodology successfully passed several validation exercises, both internal (in comparison with our surveys) and external (by consulting experts), and has been sufficiently refined to act as official statistic.
The DataLab series therefore ends here and data from the reference period 2022 onwards are now available in the official section.
In order to identify households with vehicles registered in Belgium, we performed a double coupling. The first couples the annual population files with the vehicle fleet files (DIV). This makes it possible to identify cars registered in the name of a natural person. The second couples the annual population files with the tax data files (Belcotax). This makes it possible to count the number of company cars. Both groups of cars are taken into account when calculating the statistics on car ownership by households.
This double coupling is necessary because it is currently not possible to identify company cars in the vehicle fleet administrative data (DIV). Indeed, these cars are registered in the name of an enterprise without information on the type of use of the vehicle. Thus, it is not possible to distinguish them from, for example, fleets or rental cars. However, the number of company cars can be calculated based on tax returns . This double coupling methodology, developed for the 2019 figures, has successfully passed several internal (in comparison with our surveys) and external (by consulting experts) validation exercises. Based on the 2019 figures, the external experts suggested an underestimation of around 150,000 company cars . This represents a potential error of about 3% on the total number of coupled vehicles (5,311,000 in 2019). We continue to work on improving the quality of this statistic by refining our methodology and assessing the potential of additional administrative sources.
 The declaration of a vehicle can be made for self-employed company directors by declaring the ‘benefit in kind due to the use of a company car’ in tax sheet 281.20, and for employees by declaring the ‘benefit in kind due to the use of a company car’ in tax sheet 281.10.
 According to experts, the underestimation of the number of company cars is not due to individual citizens not declaring them since, in practice, declarations are often prepared by personnel services and social bureaus.