Gift tax and the ‘cheese route’

Belgians have suddenly discovered that there is a “cheese route” and that it has been closed today A “cheese route”? The “kaasroute” as even French speakers call it is a cheesy joke. It is supposed to be the road to the Netherlands where Belgians can make gifts of cash, shares or bonds before a notary free of gift tax and, therefore, inheritance tax. Since 15 …

Webinar ‘Expat Financial Affairs’, Q&A

On 10 December, we made two presentations on wills and estate planning at the annual Expat Financial Affairs event of the British Chamber. Here are some of the questions and our answers. Real estate acquired before marriage is personal or communal property? Under the Belgian default matrimonial property rules, spouses have community property from the day they get married.  Everything spouses acquire during their marriage is community …

Upcoming webinars

we organise regular – free – webinars on various issues related to taxes and estate planning
– The new Tax on Securities Accounts – 7 January 2021
– The Art of the Gift – 28 January 2021
– The Art of writing a Will – 25 February 2021

Expat Financial Affairs 2020

We will be making two presentations on wills and estate planning at the annual Expat Financial Affairs event of the British Chamber.
The first is for ‘pre empty nesters’
The second presentation is for youthful retirees.

Webinar ‘Expat Estate Planning’: the Questions

On 26 November, we participated in a webinar on estate planning for expatriates. This is always an interesting event to hear the questions expatriates have.
These are their questions with our answers.

Investing in UK real property?

With the Stamp Duty holiday available until 31 March 2021, it may be worthwhile to invest in real property in the United Kingdom. To help buyers who have taken a financial hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Stamp Duty nil rate band in England and Northern Ireland has been increased to £500,000. As a result, it is reported that the UK property market activity …

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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. When he died, it came …

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 rules. Flanders took the lead …

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 footing as Brussels and Flanders. …

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 practice note, there was a …