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The myth of the 183 days

Tax residence can be a difficult concept, in particular if one has many residences. Johnny Hallyday is a French rock star, who died at the end of last year. In fact, he was Belgian but became the French rocker of all rockers, made millions and moved to Switzerland for tax reasons.  In 2013, he took up residence in Santa Monica, California. …

Flanders reduces inheritance tax

In Belgium, gift tax and inheritance tax are regional taxes. That has not always been the case, some twenty-five years ago, the gift tax and the inheritance tax were a matter for the federal parliament. The Flemish, Brussels and the Walloon parliaments have gradually changed the rules, starting with small changes to the inheritance tax rates to some more fundamental …

New tax rules in Wallonia in 2018

On 13 December 2017, the Walloon Parliament has modified certain tax rules regarding inheritances and donations as well as the purchase of a building. In respect of inheritance tax, the surviving spouse or civil partner will be entitled to total exemption for the family home.  Until 2017, this exemption was limited to € 160,000.  Wallonia is thus on the same …

More Guidance on Belgium’s General Antiabuse Rule

The Belgian program law of March 29, 2012 has replaced the general anti avoidance rule by an anti abuse rule. The GAAR was introduced in the income tax, registration tax, and inheritance tax codes in 1993 but had proven ineffective. The new rule must combat abuses of tax avoidance schemes, but even after Finance Minister Steven Vanackere published a first …

The future of the (U.S.) Estate Tax

In December 17, 2010 President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (TRA 2010) into law. With one swift stroke, he quashed the hopes of some who thought they could inherit mom’s estate without any estate tax.  Or did he? What happened? The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 gradually …

The Ruling Committee is back on track

Over the last five years, the Ruling Committee has built up a track record for delivering speedy advance rulings on all sorts of tax issues. More importantly, it grants rulings that offer legal certainty to taxpayers and investors. When the appointment of three board members of the Ruling Committee had to be confirmed by the government in October, the socialist …