Private Client news

Greenille by Laga Newsflashes

Overview of the latest Private Client news

Brussels inheritance taxes and split sales

11 October 2019

The Brussels Tax Administration reviews its position regarding the inheritance tax consequences of a split sale following the 12 June 2018 decision of the Council of State annulling the Flemish Tax Authorities' position on split sales.

The new Flemish Government Agreement (2019-2024)

4 October 2019

In the Government Agreement of 1 October 2019, changes were announced regarding registration duties and inheritance taxes. What will the impact be on private clients?

Dutch foundation administration office (StAK) captured by the Cayman Tax?

27 September 2019

Although several arguments exist to counter the qualification of a Dutch foundation administration office (StAK) as a legal arrangement, certificate holders should consider to report the StAK as a legal arrangement in their personal income tax return.

Belgium’s UBO-register: tolerance policy until 31 December 2019

25 September 2019

The deadline for completing the UBO register (30 September 2019) is in sight. On 23 September 2019 the Treasury announced that there will be no additional postponement, but that it will carry out a tolerance policy until 31 December 2019 and will not impose sanctions during that period.

Belgian UBO-register and listed companies: FAQ amended once more!

17 September 2019

On 16 September 2019 the Treasury published a new addendum to the UBO FAQ on listed companies. The addendum explains how 100% subsidiaries of listed companies should claim the exemption from UBO registration.

Enterprising families rightfully doubt the value of values

12 September 2019

A different approach on family values can unlock insights for families to successfully navigate their private, business and investment spheres. In this article, Greenille by Laga’s Family Dynamics experts outline common pitfalls, and describe concrete solutions to harness family values as a sustainable competitive advantage.

Belgian UBO-register and listed companies

29 August 2019

The deadline for the first submission to the UBO-register is fast approaching (30 September 2019). In an addendum of 26 August 2019 to the UBO FAQ of 22 July 2019, the Treasury clarifies the interpretation of the UBO-registration exemption for listed companies (Dutch | French; under 2.1.4).

Disinheritance of spouse according to new inheritance law

22 August 2019

The new inheritance law has softened the conditions under which the deceased can disinherit the surviving spouse through a will.

Current accounts in divorce matters

12 August 2019

How should a current account be qualified in matrimonial property law in the event of a divorce?

Exit participation clause in the Flanders region (bis)

8 August 2019

In the Flanders Region, a participation clause (in a marital contract of assets separation) has been subject to inheritance since 24 December 2017. In its decision of 10 July 2019, the Constitutional Court upholds the constitutional validity of the inheritance tax consequences of a final participation clause in the Flemish Region.

Belgian UBO register: ‘Foundation administration office’ FAQ published

24 July 2019

The treasury recently published a brand new FAQ (NLFR) regarding UBO register procedures when a Foundation administration office (‘Stichting Administratiekantoor’ | ‘Fondation bureau d'administration’) is involved. The FAQ offers answers to practical questions, details how to determine the ultimate beneficiary owners (UBOs), and addresses privacy concerns. With this FAQ, the treasury finds a balance between the international call for transparency on the one hand and the requests from families to respect certain private aspects of their planning on the other hand. At the same time, the Treasury applies the current Anti Money Laundering Directive, its Belgian legal implementation and respects the (sometimes difficult) differences in the application of these rules to companies, other entities, and companies held through other entities.

The family council

17 July 2019

Enterprising families struggle to keep every member aligned regarding day-to-day affairs, as well as major strategic decisions concerning the private, business and wealth spheres. A family council could be the platform to keep everyone on the same page. However, how do you design, implement and maintain a family council that meets the specific needs of every family member? In this article, Greenille by Laga provides a blueprint for enterprising families and their advisors to make the family council work for them.

The key issues and pitfalls in a family business

8 July 2019

In an interview with VKW Limburg, Alain Laurent Verbeke sheds some light on the key issues and pitfalls encountered in a family business.

Three wills left by the ‘Queen of Soul’

25 June 2019

The legendary gospel, soul and R&B singer Aretha Franklin died on 16 August 2018. Aside from leaving behind a phenomenal musical repertoire, she surprised her heirs by leaving three wills that have caused a stir.

EU Succession Regulation and habitual residence

20 June 2019

The Regulation employs the notion of “habitual residence” of the deceased at time of death as a general connecting factor to determine both jurisdiction and applicable law. On 29 May 2019, the French “Cour de Cassation” ruled on the notion of “habitual residence” in a succession with cross-border implications.

The time has come for enterprising families to embrace the notion of ‘sustainable shareholdership’, especially in times of succession

24 May 2019

Enterprising families too often end up conflicted in times of succession. This can often be explained by the fact that succession is defined too narrowly, focusing solely on ‘who gets to be the new CEO of the family business’. In order to deal with succession in a smooth way, Greenille by Laga offers enterprising families a unique matrix to plot family roles to open up the scope of succession and embrace diversity in talent and ambition.

Belgian Cayman Tax: non-EEA Royal Decree finally published

17 May 2019

The long awaited Royal Decree amending the Royal Decree of 23 August 2015 regarding entities with legal personality outside the EEA has been published in the Belgian Official Journal of 16 May 2019 (Dutch | French).

Tax implications of succession agreements

15 May 2019

The Flemish Tax Authority recently published a position statement on the tax consequences of debts established in inheritance agreements.

Positive case-law for bank transfers mentioning “gift” in the reference

30 April 2019

The mentioning of “gift” in the reference of a donation via bank transfer does not render the gift invalid

Do family firms outperform non-family firms?

25 April 2019

Data collected from more than 1.5 million companies allows us to answer this hotly debated question. The research findings however are more nuanced than one might expect.

What can sushi teach us about family business succession?

8 April 2019

‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’—a documentary that aired in 2011—portrays the life of the 85-year old sushi master Jiro Ono and his two sons. 

Below the surface of the only sushi restaurant in the world awarded with three Michelin stars, one finds more universal challenges that every family business faces. 

In this article we use valuable insights from ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ to formulate questions for family business owners and advisors towards a more unified perspective on ‘sustainable shareholdership’

Belgium’s UBO register: updated FAQ published

5 April 2019

The long awaited update to the UBO FAQ is available on the Treasury’s website since 2 April 2019 (Dutch | French). In addition to the FAQ, the user manual for legal representatives of non-profit associations and foundations has also been updated.

This update also provides some details on more complex issues, which remained unaddressed in earlier versions of the FAQ. What follows is a selection of the most important clarifications from a private client’s perspective.

New legislation in the Flanders Region for inheritance tax proceedings

28 March 2019

A decree of 21 December 2018 provides that the Flemish Tax Authority will be obliged to give notice within two years after expiration of the delay to file an inheritance tax declaration if it challenges the value of the declared assets. A similar rule was introduced for gifts, or transfers of real estate. The new rule should contribute to more legal certainty. 

UBO-registration deadline postponed until 30 September 2019

14 February 2019

It has been confirmed that the deadline for the registration of UBOs in the Registry has been postponed again, this time until 30 September 2019.  The UBO-registration was initially foreseen for 30 November 2018 but was immediately postponed until 30 March 2019.

Application of the European Regulations on Matrimonial Property Regimes and the Property consequences of Registered Partnerships

12 February 2019

On 29 January 2019, the European Regulations on Matrimonial Property Regimes and the Property consequences of Registered Partnerships became applicable. The Regulations harmonise in the area of jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regime and in matters of the property consequences of registered partnerships.

Cayman Tax amended once more

5 February 2019

On 31 January 2019, the Belgian federal parliament approved a law on fiscal, anti-fraud, financial and miscellaneous provisions (“the Law”).

The Law extends the tax audit period for income tax fraud (illegal tax evasion) from 7 years to 10 years, provided such fraud involved the use of a legal arrangement (as defined under the Cayman Tax Legislation).

Court fee reform as of 1 February 2019

28 January 2019

The court fee rate is no longer linked to the dispute’s value or the type of role on which the case was registered, but to the court level.

Real subrogation: Flemish Tax Authority imposes condition

22 January 2019

Real subrogation has both civil and tax relevance, but one has to document everything properly when replacing one good with another. With this article, Greenille by Laga aims to underline the importance of providing proper documentation when claiming real subrogation, because the tax authorities do pay close attention to this.

Occupation rent in divorce cases

17 January 2019

Unfortunately, divorce cases easily end up in long-winded proceedings. Not only should child arrangements be made, but also property arrangements. The preparation of the latter, i.e. division of matrimonial property and assets, involves a lot of paperwork. With this article, Greenille by Laga aims to underline and clarify the importance of good administration and more specifically what impact this can have in terms of occupation rent.

Belgian tax on securities accounts: action required?

18 December 2018

A few appeals before the Constitutional Court were submitted against the annual tax on securities accounts. In order to safeguard your rights in light of a possible annulment by the Constitutional Court, it may be useful to submit a reasoned request for restitution. The deadline to submit this request is 31 December 2019, but the request should preferably be submitted before the Constitutional Court’s final decision (probably fall of 2019).

More EEA legal arrangements in scope of Belgian Cayman Tax

3 December 2018

On 3 December 2018 a new Royal Decree was published regarding Belgian Cayman Tax. Following this new Royal Decree more EEA legal arrangements are in scope of Belgian Cayman Tax.

Belgian UBO register update

28 September 2018

The deadline to report the required information is extended until 31 March 2019 at the latest. An FAQ has also been published.

Transfer of assets to a joint bank account

25 September 2018

What can you do when you transfer ‘own assets’ to a joint bank account? We have found a very simple solution to avoid discussion as to the ownership of those assets.

Valuation of usufruct

30 August 2018

The yearly statutory conversion tables of usufruct were published in the Belgian State Journal of 3 July 2018. They apply as of 13 July 2018.

Budget agreement proposes changes to the benefit in kind on real estate

17 August 2018

Following recent case law, the budget agreement of 28 July 2018 provides new valuation rules for the benefit in kind for the free disposition of real estate.

The Law of 22 July 2018 amends the matrimonial property law

14 August 2018

The law introduces some changes to the regime of separation of property.

The Law of 22 July 2018 amends the matrimonial property law

7 August 2018

The law introduces some changes to the default regime of community property.

Reparations and additions for Inheritance Law of 2017

3 August 2018

The Law of 22 July 2018 provides some reparatory changes and adds some new rules to the Inheritance Law of 2017.

New inheritance and gift tax in the Flemish Region as of 1 September 2018

31 July 2018

A new Flemish Decree  and some recent decisions of the Flemish tax administration provide details on several tax aspects of the new inheritance law.

New family property law as of 1 September 2018

20 July 2018

On 19 July 2018 the federal Parliament approved a new matrimonial property law.

The law also provides some reparatory changes to the new inheritance law, which was approved last year.

Both laws (new matrimonial property law and new inheritance law) will apply as of 1 September 2018.

National courts cannot issue a national certificate of succession in cross-border inheritance cases

26 June 2018

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled a judgment in case C-20/17 (Oberle) on 21 June 2018 on the interpretation of article 4 of the European Succession Regulation.

Gifts with reservation of usufruct in a foreign notarial deed are once again untaxed

15 June 2018

The Council of State issues a 12 June 2018 decision annulling the Flemish Tax Authorities' position statement SP 15004.

Parliament approves draft law modifying the divorce procedure

24 May 2018

Divorce by mutual consent will be completely done in writing as of 1 September 2018. 

Civil partnership qualifies as an enterprise

18 May 2018

The reform of Belgian Business Law introduces new obligations for civil partnerships as from 1 November 2018. This entails a compulsory registration at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises and an accounting obligation.

Living will and patient’s rights: equally relevant to deal with personal and patrimonial aspects

19 April 2018

A look at Belgium's legal framework for end of life care and planning

Did you know that there are two different Aldis?

1 March 2018

The two different entities are now considering a rethink of their collaboration. It will be a challenge – especially for the shareholder-familymembers, but it may provide substantial advantages.

The misleading simplicity of the tax on securities accounts

21 February 2018

The Belgian Parliament recently adopted a new tax on securities accounts. In an article published in TFR 2018, n°535 by Larcier, Greenille by Laga's Patrizia Macaluso looks at the extent to which this tax can affect family planning.

How to deal with intense family conflicts and disputes

9 February 2018

Conflicts and disputes between family members are often highly intense and emotionally charged. Even more so than during a divorce or when a joint venture goes down the drain, getting a conflict between family members out of a destructive spiral is very challenging. This is partly due to the fact that inheritance law provides mechanisms that enhance the intensity of conflict.

Reform of registration duties and inheritance taxes in the Walloon Region: alleviated taxation for certain transactions

25 January 2018

The reform aims at lowering the tax burden on the acquisition of houses and stimulating the voluntary registration of movable gifts between non-related persons.

Beware of life annuity pitfalls

16 January 2018

Belgium’s Court of Cassation confirms nullity of a life annuity that is not an aleatory contract.

From family enterprise to enterprising family

19 December 2017

An outline of the Family Dynamics model by Greenille by Laga Partner Alain Laurent Verbeke.

Exit participation clauses in the Flanders Region?

15 December 2017

In the Flanders Region, a participation clause (in a marital contract for separation of assets) will be subject to inheritance tax as of 24 December 2017.

Legislator closes Cayman Tax Loopholes

11 December 2017

The Cayman Tax, introduced in 2015, is essentially a look-through tax applicable to Belgian Personal Income Tax (“PIT”) and Belgian Legal Entities Tax (“LET”). It targets income generated by qualifying legal arrangements, by attributing it to and taxing it in the hands of the founder or third-party beneficiary of such an arrangement, as if the latter had received this income directly. Next to this transparent approach, the Cayman Tax also aims at taxing liquidations of legal arrangements and certain transfers of (part of) the assets (for legal arrangements with legal personality, so-called ‘Type 2 arrangements’, as opposed to the Type 1 legal arrangements lacking legal personality). Apart from the effective taxation, there is (since 2013) also an obligation for founders and third-party beneficiaries of legal arrangements to report the existence of the legal arrangement in their annual tax return. The Cayman Tax was amended for the first time at the end of 2015 (see previous newsflash coverage).

Inheritance tax: flat tax regime would be much fairer

6 December 2017

Greenille by Laga Partner Alain Laurent Verbeke has written an opinion, published by De Tijd, regarding the inheritance tax regime.

In his published opinion, Alain Laurent argues that a flat tax does not force people to donate (for fiscal purposes), rewards transparency and allows society to gain its fair share without subjecting spouses and children to stifling taxation after inheritance.

Have you ever heard about ‘Family Social Responsibility’?

5 December 2017

In their book ‘Mommy, why are we rich?’ (2015, Intersentia) authors Prof. Dr. Alain Laurent Verbeke and Dr. Tijs Besieux form a plea to address Family Social Responsibility as an integral component of family wealth.

Be prepared for the new inheritance law

29 November 2017

A new heritage guide (Erfenisgids/Guide Successions) was published as a supplement to the De Tijd and L'Echo issue of 25 November 2017. Alain Laurent Verbeke and Hélène Casman contributed to the guide regarding donations under the scope of the new law. Alain Laurent and Hélène were part of the expert group that helped Minister Koen Geens draft the new inheritance law.

Forced heirship and the European Succession Regulation

27 November 2017

Are the rules of forced heirship part of the international public policy?

The new inheritance law: 3 questions

23 November 2017

The De Tijd newspaper asked Greenille by Laga Partner Alain Laurent Verbeke three key questions around the new inheritance law. Alain Laurent was part of the expert group set up by Minister Koen Geens in drafting the new law. The questions focus on the reduced forced heirship share and the introduction in Belgium of ‘pactes successoraux’.

ECJ issues very first decision on the European Succession Regulation (Kubicka case, C-218/16)

16 November 2017

The European Court of Justice ruled that a ‘vindicationslegaat’ should be accepted and executed in Germany without further formalities. Germany cannot convert the ‘vindicationslegaat’ into a ‘damnationslegaat’. 

Inheritance tax on participation clauses

13 October 2017

The participation clause is a very common clause in marital contracts of property distribution. It allows participation in the assets regardless of the assets' principal separation. A new pre-draft law by the Flemish Government introduces inheritance tax on these clauses. In Greenille by Laga's opinion, the Flemish Government introduces a discrimination against spouses married under the default regime.

Read more of Greenille by Laga's view.

Belgium implements the fourth anti-money laundering Directive - including UBO-register

10 October 2017

On 6 October 2017, a new law on anti-money laundering, counter terrorism financing and the use of cash was published in the Official Journal. The law transposes the fourth Directive on anti-money laundering (‘AML 4’) and the updated recommendations of the Financial Action Group into national law, while replacing the previous law of 1993 on anti-money laundering.

The most important change is the creation of a national Ultimate Beneficial Owner register (‘UBO-register’). Belgian companies and other legal entities must collect the necessary information on their beneficial owner(s), which is recorded in the UBO-register.

Usufruct on gifted assets

5 October 2017

Usufruct of the surviving spouse on gifted assets under the old and new inheritance law.

How do you make an indirect gift through bank transfer (from the donor’s account to the donee’s)? Greenille by Laga’s position

2 October 2017

One can make a gift through bank transfer whilst mentioning “gift” on the transfer document and whilst using e-mail.

Valuation of usufruct

27 September 2017

In the State Journal of 11 July 2017, the yearly statutory conversion tables of usufruct were published.

They apply as of 21 July 2017.

Income tax regime for interest received on foreign savings under ECJ spotlight

22 September 2017

Belgian income tax regime for interest received on foreign savings accounts may be contrary to EU Law.

New inheritance law from 1 September 2018: Should you make a declaration to maintain the old rules?

12 September 2017

The new inheritance law is effective September 2018 and also applies to donations before the law's entry into force. However one can opt for the old rules within the year. This choice has to be made before September 2018. Should one opt out or not?

Flemish Tax Authority’s position on a Dutch STAK

7 September 2017

The Flemish tax authority recently published its position on a Dutch Stichting-Administratiekantoor holding French real estate.

New bill reforming Belgian inheritance law published: Should you make a declaration to maintain the old rules?

1 September 2017

Find out about the most important aspects of this major reform.

Belgian Family Partnership and Real Estate

21 August 2017

Advance tax ruling of the Flemish Tax Authority on registration duties and inheritance tax on a family partnership and real estate published.

End of double taxation on French-source dividends for private investors 

9 August 2017

During recent years, the Belgian government has been increasing taxes on private investments and the income they generate. The default tax rate for dividend income has increased from 25 to 30%. The scope of the stock exchange tax has been broadened, the rates and maximum amounts of the stock exchange tax were increased several times. More recently, the government announced the introduction of a new tax on securities accounts of individuals residing in Belgium (see the newsflash on the Budget 2018 agreement).

Legislative change in Flanders will impact tax planning between spouses

9 August 2017

Flemish government announces legislative changes to tackle inheritance tax planning through matrimonial contracts.

Budget Agreement 2018 – Impact for High Net Worth Individuals and Families

3 August 2017

As you may have read in the press, the so-called Summer Agreement reached by the Federal Government last week, includes a number of tax measures potentially impacting high net worth individuals and families. Please find below an overview of these measures. For the measures put forward by the Corporate Tax Reform Agreement, reference is made to Deloitte’s Tax Reforms Hub.

New position of the Flemish Tax Administration regarding civil partnerships

15 May 2017

On 26 April 2017, the Flemish Tax Administration (Vlabel) published its new (additional) position regarding civil partnerships and the issue of split-registrations (usufruct – bare ownership). This position will enter into force on 1 June 2017 and applies to situations where parts in a civil partnership - in which securities and cash investments are held - are donated with reservation of usufruct (for example to the children).

Before 1 June 2017, the income of the civil partnership (i.e. dividends and interest) that is not distributed to the usufruct holder but is instead incorporated in the capital or reserved, is regarded as a gift. If no gift tax is paid, this income is taxable under Belgian inheritance tax if the usufruct holder passes away within 3 years after the donation.

As of 1 June 2017, Belgian inheritance tax is also due after this 3 year period if no Belgian gift tax was paid upon the split-registration.

There are however certain options to avoid this new Vlabel-position.

Ruling Commission’s Board temporarily not operational

5 May 2017

As covered by the press on the morning of 5 May 2017, the Ruling Commission’s Board is not operational until further notice.

This is due to a decision by the Council of State dd. 28 April 2017 annulling the appointment of the three French-speaking Board members, Matthieu Bataille, Serge Riga and Véronique Tai. This decision was triggered by an appeal introduced by José Vilain, a former member of the Board. This decision does not affect the appointment of the 3 Dutch-speaking Board members, Steven Vanden Berghe, Guy Giroulle and Luc Saliën.

Flemish Tax Administration targets donation of bare property

14 April 2016

Recently, the Flemish tax administration has published a new position based on which Flemish inheritance tax will apply to all tax free donations of securities or cash investments made with reservation of usufruct since 1 September 2013.

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