Finding out about inheritance tax in the Walloon Region

Summary

Inheritance tax is a tax that is paid to the state on the inheritance from a deceased person.

Inheritance or transfer tax is calculated, in brackets, based on the (net) share of inheritance received by each heir or beneficiary and varies depending on the relationship that exists between the heir or the beneficiary and the deceased individual. There is no pooling system.

The higher the share of inheritance received and the more distant the relationship with the deceased, the higher the inheritance or transfer tax.

Key points

The amount of inheritance tax differs depending on which of the three Belgian regions the deceased resided in, or in which the inheritance is located. This sheet details the legislation and the applicable amounts in Wallonia.

In detail

Target audience – details

Citizens who are faced with a death, legal heirs (as designated by law) and/or beneficiaries (as designated by a will).

Benefits

The law provides for exemptions and deductions on inheritance tax with respect to certain heirs, through the consideration of certain situations.

Exemptions

Exemption on the first bracket of €12,500

The direct heir, spouse or legal cohabitant of the deceased individual does not pay inheritance or transfer tax on the first bracket of€12,500 (which represents a saving of €375) that they receive personally in the inheritance. There is an additional exemption of €12,500 on the taxable base when the net share received by the direct heir does not exceed €125,000.

Furthermore, the exemptions are further increased in favour of the deceased’s children when they have not yet reached 21 years of age. This increase amounts to €2,500 for each full year which remains until they reach 21 years of age. The abatement in favour of the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant is increased by half of the additional abatements granted to each child under 21 years of age that they have with the deceased.

The other heirs, beneficiaries or inheritors are exempt from inheritance or transfer tax if the net amount of the inheritance does not exceed €620.

Exemption for the family home

Since 1 January 2018, the Walloon Region has had a total exemption on inheritance tax on the net share of the family home that is inherited, which is in favour of the surviving legal spouse/cohabitant. This exemption applies to the following criteria:

  • The inheritance must include at least one share that is fully owned (but the abatement at this time also applies to a usufruct or bare ownership share);
  • The building must be intended for habitation, either in whole or in part;
  • The deceased’s main residence has been in this building for at least five years. However, if the deceased has not been able to keep their main residence in the building in question due to force majeure, or due to a compelling family, medical, professional or social reason, the benefit of this new abatement still applies.
  • The exemption only applies in favour of the surviving spouse or surviving legal cohabitant (which, in the Walloon region, refers to a cohabitant who has made a declaration of legal cohabitation and who was residing at the same address as the deceased at the time of death) and not in favour of direct heirs who benefit from a reduced rate (see below) on the family home.

Exemption on the transfer of a family company

In the Walloon Region, the transfer of a family company is fully exempt from inheritance tax. 

Exemption for legacies made to certain public institutions

Any legacy that is made to the following public institution is exempt from inheritance tax and transfer tax: 

  • the Walloon region;
  • the French Community, the Brussels-Capital Region, the agglomeration of Brussels, the French and Flemish Municipal Community Commissions, the German-speaking Community, the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community;
  • similar institutions to those mentioned in paragraphs 1 and 2, which were created in accordance with, and are subject to, the legislation of another European Economic Area member state;
  • the Federal State, and to a member state of the European Economic Area;
  • legal entities that were created by the institutions mentioned in paragraphs 1 to 4.

 

Deductions

  • The inheritance or transfer tax is reduced if an heir or beneficiary has at least three children under 21 years of age in their household at the time of the death. They are entitled to a deduction on the inheritance tax of 2% per child under 21 years of age. This deduction cannot exceed €62 per child. This deduction is increased to 4% per child who has not reached 21 years of age in favour of the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant, without this discount exceeding €124 per child. This deduction can be deducted from the inheritance tax due, unlike the exemptions, which are deducted from the taxable base.
  • Inheritance or transfer tax may be reduced if the same assets are subject to several inheritances in the same year, or if an industrial, commercial, agricultural or artisanal operation is being inherited, or in the event of a legacy to certain Belgian institutions (CPAS, Municipality, Province, etc.) or to certain non-profit organisations.
  • The inheritance tax is reduced on the family home for direct heirs (spouses and legal cohabitants are fully exempt; see below). 
Procedure

When a person dies, legal heirs (as designated by law) and/or beneficiaries (as designated by a will) of the deceased person must submit an inheritance declaration to the relevant legal security office at SPF Finance. This process must be carried out within four months of the date of death.

As the inheritance declaration requires in-depth knowledge of civil and tax law, heirs usually engage a competent person (e.g. a notary) to help them draft this document. You can also obtain information regarding the legal provisions the declaration must follow from the legal security office to which the declaration must be submitted. 

Each heir or universal beneficiary may submit an inheritance declaration; however, it is common practice to submit a single declaration signed by all the heirs and/or universal beneficiaries.

Conditions

Inheritance or transfer tax is calculated, in brackets, based on the (net) share of inheritance received by each heir or beneficiary and varies depending on the relationship that exists between the heir or the beneficiary and the deceased individual. There is no pooling system.

The higher the share of inheritance received and the more distant the relationship with the deceased, the higher the inheritance or transfer tax.

Tax bracket

Rate for direct line between spouse and legal cohabitants

From €0 to €12,500

3%

From €12,500 to €25,000

4 %

From €25,000 to €50,000

5%

From €50,000 to €100,000

7 %

From €100,000 to €150,000

10%

From €150,000 to €200,000

14%

From €200,000 to €250,000

18%

From €250,000 to €500,000

24%

€500,000+

30%

 

 

 

 

Tax bracket

Rate between brothers and sisters

From €0.01 to €12,500

20%

From €12,500 to €25,000

25%

From €25,000 to €75,000

35%

From €75,000 to €175,500

50%

€175,000+

65%

 

 

Tax bracket

Rate between uncles or aunts and nephews and nieces

From €0.01 to €12,500

25%

From €12,500 to €25,000

30%

From €25,000 to €75,000

40%

From €75,000 to €175,000

 55 %

€175,000+

70%

 

 

Tax bracket

Rate between any other individuals

From €0 to €12,500

30%

From €12,500 to €25,000

35%

From €25,000 to €75,000

60%

€175,000+

80%

 

Contacts

Services

SPF Finances
02 572 57 57
Updated on
Process n° : 142073
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