• BELGIAN INHERITANCE TAX Open or Close

    The Belgian inheritance tax rules follow the Belgian inheritance rules.

    In other words, if you do not inherit anything, you do not pay inheritance tax. However, sometimes when you are the heir, you may have to pay the inheritance tax for someone who received a bequest.

    If you are domiciled in Belgium, Belgian inheritance tax is due on your entire estate (i.e. all real estate and all movables) including on real property outside Belgium (see 30).

    If you are not domiciled in Belgium when you die, Belgian inheritance tax will be due only on Belgian real property. Your worldwide estate is normally liable to inheritance tax in the country where you are domiciled at the time of your death.

    The fact that your heirs do not live in Belgium does not prevent Belgian inheritance tax being charged on the Belgian property.

  • Do I pay inheritance tax when I inherit from my mother who lives in another country? Open or Close

    No, Belgium charges inheritance tax on the estate of someone who lived in Belgium.

    Belgian inheritance tax is only due if your mother lives in Belgium. If she lives outside Belgium, no Belgian inheritance tax is due unless your mother owned real property in Belgium. Inheritance tax will normally be due in her country of domicile.

    Most countries apply similar rules and they tax the estate of their residents.

    Some countries such as Spain charge inheritance tax on what a resident beneficiary inherits even if the deceased was not living in Spain.

    And some countries no longer have inheritance tax (Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, or Sweden).

    The United States are special in that they tax the estate of American citizens even if they were resident or domiciled in another country.

  • What if I have a special status? Open or Close

    There are indeed certain special diplomatic or tax regimes that can exempt you from inheritance tax.

    Only officials of the Institutions of the European Union, the European Investment Bank, NATO, the Western European Union, etc ... who are living in Belgium for the purpose of carrying out their duties are considered to be domiciled in their country of origin for inheritance tax purposes.  If these officials are not domiciled in Belgium, their heirs will pay Belgian inheritance tax but only on real property in Belgium.

    Other special tax regimes (such as the expatriate tax regime) do not give an exemption of inheritance tax in Belgium, unless the expatriate had not taken up domicile in Belgium.

  • How do you calculate the inheritance tax? Open or Close

    The inheritance tax is due for each heirs to an estate or beneficiary on his/her share in the net value of the estate of the deceased.

    However, inheritance tax may also be charged on certain assets or on money that is not in that estate deceased. 

    These are rules to prevent inheritance tax avoidance in the form of e.g. lifetime donation.a

  • ... life time donations in the last three years Open or Close

    If the deceased has made a donation less than three years before his death, that donation will be liable to inheritance tax.

    This is similar to the British 7 year rule for PETs (potentially exempt transfers).

    Paying the inheritance tax can, however, be avoided by making the donation before a notary and pay gift tax.

  • ... donations in a marriage contract Open or Close

    In Belgium married couples have, by default, community property (gemeenschap van goederen / communauté de biens) with the exception of  everything they owned before the marriage. Usually what one spouse receives or inherits from his family remains personal property and does not become community property.

    Community property means that they own everything they acquire during their marriage in equal shares.  When one of them dies, their half of the community is inherited by their heirs, usually the children. If there are no children, the surviving spouse would inherit their half of the community property. 

    In their marriage contract, a couple can agree that the surviving spouse will receive more than their half of the community property. If so inheritance tax will be due on what they receive in excess of their half. 

  • ... the insurance company pays out Open or Close

    Inheritance tax is also due when an insurance company pays out a capital upon someone's death or starts paying an annuity. If the insurance has been taken out by the deceased on his own life, the beneficiary will have to pay inheritance tax. 

    Inheritance tax is also due if the insurance is taken out by someone else on the life of the deceased.  That is, in principle, the case for an an insurance taken out by the employer, but statutory insurance schemes (a state pension paid to a surviving spouse) or a group insurance scheme set up by the employer are specifically exempted.  

    The group insurance taken out by a management company on the life of its self employed company director is not excluded.

    Inheritance tax is also not due if the beneficiary has taken out insurance on the life of the deceased.  He just recoups his investment which may result from a donation from the deceased.

  • ... tax schemes involving usufruit. Open or Close

    Usufruit is the right to use and receive the income from a property or from an investment for the rest of one's life.

    If the deceased had bought the usufruit of a house, and someone else had bought the bare ownership rights with him, of if the deceased had sold the bare ownership rights to him/her, this could be a tax efficient scheme to pass on ownership. 

    That is why the taxman may presume that there was a donation in disguise. He may charge inheritance tax over the assets as if they were left by the deceased in his estate.

    However, the "beneficiary" may prove that it was not a disguised gift, e.g. because gift tax had been paid on the donation.

  • How do you put a value on usufruit? Open or Close

    The value of usufruit is calculated as a percentage of the value of the assets on the usufruit is given depending of the age of the beneficiary of the usufruit.

    The value of the bare ownership is calculated by deducting the value of the usufruit from the value of the assets.

    Age

    Usufruit

    Bare ownership

    Under 20

    20 - 30

    30 – 40

    40 - 50

    50 - 55

    55 - 60

    60 - 65

    65 - 70

    70 - 75

    75 - 80

    over 80

    72 %

    68 %

    64 %

    56 %

    52 %

    44 %

    38 %

    32 %

    24 %

    16 %

    8 %

    28 %

    32 %

    36 %

    44 %

    48 %

    56 %

    62 %

    68 %

    76 %

    84 %

    92 %

     

     

  • Can my heirs take any deductions? Open or Close

    Against the value of the assets, one can set off a number of debts and liabilities that the deceased had at the time of his death. These include his/her tax liabilities, any outstanding loans, professional liabilities, maintenance payments, the last hospital bills, and the cost of the funeral.

    The mortgage can be deducted from the value of the property, but if the mortgage is covered by an insurance policy, the mortgage capital paid out by the insurance company will cancel out that deduction. 

  • The inheritance tax rates Open or Close

    Within Belgium, the inheritance tax rates vary from one region to another.

    The applicable rate is the rate of the region where the deceased was living at the time of his death. If he moved within the last five years, it is the region where he lived longest in the last five years.

    There are different inheritance tax rates depending on the family ties between the deceased and the beneficiary.

    The inheritance tax is calculated, for each heir separately, on his share of the estate, according to the following rates.  

  • ... in the Brussels Capital Region Open or Close

    Inheritance tax is calculated, for each heir separately, on his share of the inheritance.

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    3%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    8%

    +  €1 500

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    9%

    +  €5 500

    €175 000   

    -    €250 000

    18%

    + €12 250

    €250 000   

    -    €500 000

    24%

    + €25 750

    over €500 000

    30%

    + €85 750

    Each heir is taxed on his own share with a tax-free allowance of €15,000 each. For children under 21, €2,500 is added for each year under 21.   If the deceased owned or co-owned his principal residence, there is a reduction of the inheritance tax.

    There is an inheritance tax exemption for the family home when it is inherited by the spouse or civil partner. 

    2 Between brothers and sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    20%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    25%

    +   €2 500

    €25 000   

    -    €50 000

    30%

    +   €5 625

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    40%

    +  €13 125

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    55%

    +  €33 125

    €175 000   

    -    €250 000

    60%

    +  €74 375

    over €250 000

    65%

    + €119 375

    3. Between uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces
    (the tax is calculated for the whole group at the following rates)

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    35%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    50%

    + €17 500

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    60%

    + €42 500

    over €175 000

    70%

    + €87 500

    4 Between other persons
    (the tax is calculated for the whole group at the following rates)

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    40%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €75 000

    55%

    + €20 000

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    65%

    + €33 750

    over €175 000

    80%

    + €98 750

    Charity

    Legacies tot non-profit associations and foun­dations: 25% (12.5% if they have been recognised as charitable institutions by the federal government). 

  • ... in Flanders Open or Close

    The tax is calculated for each heir separately. The calculations are made separately for real property and moveables.

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners and partners living together

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    3%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €250 000

    9%

    +  €1 500

    Over €250 000

    27%

    + €19 500

    Liabilities are set off against moveable assets, unless they were specifically incurred to acquire real estate.

    Widow(er)s and live-in partners do not pay inheritance tax on the family home or the usufruit on the family home.  

    2 Between brothers and sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €75 000

    30%

     

    €75 000   

    -    €125 000

    55%

    + €22 500

    Over €125 000

    65%

    + €50 000

    3. Between other persons
    (the tax is calculated for the whole group at the following rates)

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €75 000

    45%

     

    €75 000   

    -    €125 000

    55%

    + €33 750

    Over €125 000

    65%

    + €61 250

    Bequests to Charity

    Legacies tot non-profit associations and foun­dations (in Belgium or within the European Economic Area): 8.8%.

  • ... in Wallonia Open or Close

    Inheritance tax is calculated, for each heir separately, on his share

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    3%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    4%

    +    €375

    €25 000   

    -    €50 000

    5%

    +    €875

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    7%

    +  €2 125

    €100 000   

    -    €150 000

    10%

    +  €5 625

    €150 000   

    -    €200 000

    14%

    + €10 625

    €200 000   

    -    €250 000

    18%

    + €17 625

    €250 000   

    -    €500 000

    24%

    + €26 625

    over €500 000

    30%

    + €86 625

    There is a tax-free allowance of €12,500 for each heir (€25,000 if the estate is worth less than €125,000). For children under 21, €2,500 is added to the allowance for each year under 21.  If the deceased owned or co-owned his principal residence, there is a tax reduction.

    In 2014, an inheritance tax exemption was introduced when a spouse or a registered partner inherits the family home. That exemption is limited to the inheritance tax on the first €160,000.

    2 Between brothers and sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    20%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    25%

    +  €2 500

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    35%

    +  €5 625

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    50%

    + €23 125

    over €175 000

    65%

    + €73 125

    3. Between uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    25%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    30%

    +  €3 125

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    40%

    +  €6 875

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    55%

    + €26 875

    over €175 000

    70%

    + €81 875

    4 Between other persons

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    30%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    35%

    +  €3 750

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    60%

    +  €8 125

    over €175 000

    80%

    + €38 125

    Charity 

    Legacies to non-profit associations and foun­dations (in Belgium or in the European Economic Area: 7%. 

  • New families Open or Close

    The tax rates for children are for all children even for children from your first marriage.

    The children of your spouse or partner do not have the benefit of these rates. They would normally be taxed at the high rates for strangers. It is only in Flanders that the inheritance tax rates are the same for children and stepchildren (please note that they can only inherit if you provide for them in your Will).

  • Double taxation Open or Close

    As a rule, Belgium does not grant any relief for double taxation, except for the inheritance tax paid abroad in respect to real property in another country. Only this inheritance tax can be offset against the inheritance tax due in Belgium. Any other capital taxes paid abroad can only be set-off against the net value of the assets as a liability of the estate.

    In practice, this means that, even if there is no inheritance tax between spouses in e.g. the United Kingdom, they will have to declare the British property in the Belgian inheritance tax return, and pay Belgian inheritance tax on the British property. They can offset the British inheritance tax, but since that is nil, that they would have paid.

    The double taxation treaties which Belgium has signed with most European countries, relate only to income tax and not to inheritance tax. Belgium has signed two double taxation treaties relating to inheritance tax, with France and Sweden.

  • Gift Tax Open or Close

    Gift tax is due on any donations before a notary.

    For real property, the gift tax rates are comparable to the inheritance tax rates. The gift tax can be mitigated by making donations over a period of time with intervals of three years.

    There is a flat tax rate for donation of movables before a notary. The rate is 3 % for descendants, ascendants, spouse and civil partner, 7 % for all others.
    Wallonia has rates of 3.3 and 7.7 % with a rate of 5.5 % for donations between brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces.

    Hand to hand donations are tax exempt but if the donor does not live for another three years following the donation, the donation is added back into the estate.

  • ... in the Brussels Capital Region Open or Close

    Movables

    Gift tax on movables is calculated n the value of the donation at the flat rate of 3% between (grand)parents and (grand)children, spouses and registered partners, and 7% for donations to anyone else.

    Real property

    Gift tax on real property is calculated on the value of the donation

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    3%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    8%

    +  €1 500

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    9%

    +  €5 500

    €175 000   

    -    €250 000

    18%

    + €12 250

    €250 000   

    -    €500 000

    24%

    + €25 750

    over €500 000

    30%

    + €85 750

    2 Between brothers ad sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    20%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    25%

    +   €2 500

    €25 000   

    -    €50 000

    30%

    +   €5 625

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    40%

    +  €13 125

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    55%

    +  €33 125

    €175 000   

    -    €250 000

    60%

    +  €74 375

    Over €250 000

    65%

    + €119 375

    3. Between uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    35%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    50%

    + €17 500

    €100 000   

    -    €175 000

    65%

    + €42 500

    over €175 000

    70%

    + €87 500

    4 Between other persons

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €50 000

    40%

     

    €50 000   

    -    €75 000

    55%

    + €20 000

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    60%

    + €33 750

    over €175 000

    80%

    + €98 750

    Donations to charity

    Donations to non-profit associations and foun­dations (in Belgium or in the European Economic Area) are taxed at a flat rate of 7%.

  • ... in Flanders Open or Close

    Movables

    Gift tax on movables is calculated at the flat rate of 3% for donations between (grand)parents and (grand)children, spouses and registered partners and 7% for donations to anyone else.

    Real Property

    Gift tax on real property is calculated on the value of the donation

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    3%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    4%

    +   €375

    €25 000   

    -    €50 000

    5%

    +   €875

    €50 000   

    -    €100 000

    7%

    +  €2 125

    €100 000   

    -    €150 000

    10%

    +  €5 625

    €150 000   

    -    €200 000

    14%

    + €10 625

    €200 000   

    -    €250 000

    18%

    + €17 625

    €250 000   

    -    €500 000

    24%

    + €26 625

    over €500 000

    30%

    + €86 625

    2 Between brothers and sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    20%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    25%

    +   €2 500

     €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    35%

    +   €5 625

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    50%

    +  €23 125

    over €175 000

    65%

    +  €73 125

    3. Between uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    25%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    30%

    +   €3 125

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    40%

    +   €6 875

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    55%

    +  €26 875

    over €175 000

    70%

    +  €81 875

    4 Between other persons

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    30%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    35%

    +   €3 750

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    50%

    +   €8 125

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    65%

    +  €33 125

    over €175 000

    80%

    +  €98 125

    Donations to Charities

    Donations to non-profit associations and foun­dations (in Belgium or in the European Economic Area) are liable to gift tax at the fixed rate of 7%.

  • ... in Wallonia Open or Close

    Movables

    Gift tax on movables is calculated at the flat rate of 3.3% for donations between (grand)- parents and (grand)children, spouses and registered partners, 5.5% between brothers and sisters and uncles or aunts and nephews or nieces and 7.7% for donations to anyone else.

    Real property

    Gift tax on real property is calculated on the value of the donation

    1 Direct line, spouses, registered partners

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -     €12 500

     3%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

     4%

    +    €375

    €25 000   

    -    €50 000

     5%

    +    €875

    €50 000  

    -    €100 000

     7%

    +  €2 125

    €100 000   

    -    €150 000

    10%

    +  €5 625

    €150 000   

    -    €200 000

    14%

    + €10 625

    €200 000   

    -    €250 000

    18%

    + €17 625

    €250 000   

    -    €500 000

    24%

    + €26 625

    over €500 000

    30%

    + €86 625

    2 Between brothers and sisters

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    20%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    25%

    +  €2 500

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    35%

    +  €5 625

    €75 000   

    -   €175 000

    50%

    + €23 125

    over €175 000

    65%

    + €73 125

    3. Between uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    25%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    30%

    +  €3 125

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    40%

    +  €6 875

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    55%

    + €26 875

    over €175 000

    70%

    + €81 875


     
    4 Between other persons

    on the band between

    Rate

     Tax on previous bands

    €0   

    -    €12 500

    30%

     

    €12 500   

    -    €25 000

    35%

    +   €3 750

    €25 000   

    -    €75 000

    60%

    +   €8 125

    €75 000   

    -    €175 000

    80%

    +  €38 125

    over €175 000

    80%

    + €118 125

    Donations to charity

    Donations to non-profit associations and foundations (in Belgium or in the European Economic Area) are taxed at a flat rate of 7%. 

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