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description Journal article public Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

Transfer of Family-owned Companies by Succession or by Gift Inter Vivos According to Belgian Succession and Registration Taxes

Bertel De Groote, Katrien Van Boxstael
Published 2007

Abstract

Under Belgian constitutional law, succession tax and registration tax are regional taxes. For the Flemishgovernment, the legislative competence in this field seems an important instrument for policy making. In anattempt to sustain familial entrepreneurship as a valuable element in our society's economic texture, the inheritanceof a family-owned company is exempted from the Succession Tax (art. 60bis Succession Tax Code for the FlemishRegion). It is useful to analyse this measure. More precisely, it is interesting to figure out the material conditionsfor the aforementioned exemption and policy-goals that inspired to them. Questions to be dealt with are thecharacteristics of a family-owned company - how must the company be organised; minimum control/participationof the deceased's family - and the minimum standards the company must fulfil in terms of - ongoing -employment. For transfer by death, an exemption exists; while for the gift of a company inter vivo, a reduced taxrate is applied (art. 140bis-octies Registration Tax Code for the Flemish Region). The conditions forthis reduction need to be analysed, as well as the differences with the conditions for the exemption of art. 60bisSuccession Tax Code for the Flemish Region shall be commented. It has to be clear why the reduction of thepercentage of the Registration Tax is not reserved to family-owned companies and why it does not seem to besubject to an employment condition, but only to keep the company ongoing during a period of five years. Lastly,the Flemish measures to promote entrepreneurship form the viewpoint of Succession tax and Registration tax needto be situated in an International and inter-regional context

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