Flemish inheritance tax is applicable when:
- the deceased is a Belgian national resident, with their last fiscal residence in the Flemish Region
- the deceased owned immovable property in the Flemish Region.
Every beneficiary of the estate of a deceased is liable to inheritance tax on the value of the property acquired. There are various types of successors of the estate:
- the legal heirs (relatives of the deceased and the spouse or legally cohabiting partner)
- one or more legatees. These are persons who have been favoured in the will of a deceased. They can be both private individuals and public authorities, non-profit organisations or other institutions.
- the surviving spouse can also be designated as grantee in a gift made by the deceased spouse, which only becomes effective upon the death (also known as a contractual appointment of heirs).
If an heir resides outside the European Economic Area (Dutch), a surety must be secured for this heir (e.g. a mortgage on an immovable property located in Belgium, a surety in money or securities, a personal surety).
- Stap 1
Two weeks after the death of the deceased, the Flemish Tax Service sends an invitation to submit a declaration of estate to the last known residence of the deceased.
If no declaration has been received by the submission deadline, the Flemish Tax Service will send a reminder to the known heirs.
If no invitation has been received, heirs nevertheless will have to make a declaration of estate (Dutch: aangifte van nalatenschap) at their own initiative.
- Stap 2
On every death, the estate of the deceased must be declared to the Flemish Tax Service. A declaration must be submitted, even if the deceased has few or no possessions. This declaration contains an estimate of the assets of the deceased and describes the acquisition of the estate in detail.
More detailed information on our Dutch pages:
- concerning the method of submission and a standard form for the declaration of estate (in Dutch)
- step-by-step instructions for filling out a declaration of estate (in Dutch) (Dutch).
You must submit the declaration within:
- 4 months if the death occurred in Belgium
- 5 months if the death occurred in a country belonging to the EEA
- 6 months if the death occurred outside the EEA.
Upon request, a deferral of 2 months can be obtained for the submission of the declaration. A request for a deferral of more than 2 months must be justified.
Joint or individual declaration
The declaration form only applies to the petitioners who have signed the form. You are free to choose how you submit the declaration:
- as a joint declaration, whereby all the successors complete and sign the declaration together. A general settlement (assessment notice) will be sent to the address for service.
- as an individual declaration: whereby a successor completes and signs the declaration alone. In this case, you will receive an individual settlement (assessment notice).
Proposal for estimated assessment
If no declaration is submitted even after a reminder has been issued, the Flemish Tax Service will send a proposal for estimated assessment to the known heirs.
This is a letter, as yet not an assessment notice. The taxpayer then has one month to submit a declaration or to respond in some other way.
Estimated assessment (Dutch: ambtshalve aanslag)
If, after the proposal for estimated assessment, still no declaration is received, the Flemish Tax Service will, if necessary, send an estimated assessment by means of an assessment notice to the known heirs. The normal rates are then applicable for the estate, plus a default penalty (Dutch: verzuimboete)
- Stap 3
Principle: value of all the property
The inheritance tax is calculated on the value of all the movable and immovable property (both at home and abroad) which the deceased owned on the date of death (the estate), minus the costs of the funeral and other debts of the deceased, if any. More detailed information concerning the basis for calculation of the inheritance tax (in Dutch) (Dutch)
If you do not declare all the property, do not declare them in full or declare an amount that is too low, a tax increase will be due.
Estimate of immovable property
It is not always easy to estimate the value of immovable property yourself, since this depends on many factors, and often has a considerable financial implication. For this reason you can:
- ask the Flemish Tax Service for a free estimate. This estimate is binding for the Flemish Tax Service and will be used to calculate the inheritance tax. More information and the application procedure for a binding estimate of real estate (Dutch) (in Dutch).
- engage the help of a recognised expert assessor to determine the value of an immovable property. The Flemish Tax Service has agreements with recognised expert assessors. They draw up an estimate report that must meet a number of formal and quality requirements. The Flemish Tax Service will accept this estimate as a realistic value on condition that the assessor has respected the rules. More information and a list of recognised expert assessors (Dutch) (in Dutch)
When making the calculation, the Flemish Tax Service applies the correct rates and takes into account the reductions and exemptions to which the heirs are entitled.
Some reductions and exemptions are applied automatically, others because you have claimed them on the declaration of estate.
- Stap 4
The assessment notice (Dutch: aanslagbiljet) is normally sent to the address of service stated on the declaration within three months of submission of the declaration of estate. The address of service is generally that of a notary or one of the heirs.
The final payment date is in principle two months after the date on which the assessment notice was sent.
- Stap 5
After the death, certain events can occur which give rise to a recalculation of the inheritance tax. To make such a recalculation possible, you must submit a new declaration of estate.
- The inheritance tax is calculated according to various rates, which depend on the relationship with the deceased and the extent of the estate.
- There are rates (Dutch) (in Dutch) for:
- direct line heirs and partners
- brothers and sisters
- other persons.
- There is a reduced rate for:
- Reduction for ‘modest bequests’ (Dutch: bescheiden verkrijgingen) in the form of a tax credit (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Reduction for the children of the deceased who are younger than 21 and for the other parent of those children (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Reduction for an immovable property abroad (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Reduction for successive transfers within the year as a result of a new death (Dutch) (in Dutch)
The following (partial) exemptions can apply:
- Exemption on the family home for the surviving partner (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Partner tax reduction (Dutch: partnerabattement) to the maximum of the first 50,000 euros in movable property (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Tax reduction (Dutch: abattement) for a successor with a disability on a part of the value of their share in the estate (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Young people who lose both parents before the age of 21 are not required to pay inheritance tax on the family home and receive an exemption on the first band of 75,000 euros in movable property (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Exemption for the corporate rights or the equivalent value thereof, in a corporation that is recognised by the Government of Flanders in the context of the funding and realisation of service flat buildings or residential complexes with service provision (Dutch) (in Dutch)
- Exemption for the legal return of gifts (Dutch) (in Dutch): if parents or (great) grandparents gift specific immovable property in the descending line to their child or (great) grandchild and the child dies before the giver, an exemption is allowed for the gifted property