Record number of family businesses "donated"

A record number of 1,600 family businesses was passed on without the parties involved paying any inheritance tax. That's according to Het Nieuwsblad's Sunday edition. More owners self-employed are thinking of passing down their business to the next generation at an earlier stage.

The measure was introduced by the Flemish government 3 years ago. If you run a family business and you make arrangements to pass it on in time, you don't have to pay any tax to the government.

The Flemish MP Robrecht Bothuyne (Christian democrat) asked for last year's figures to be released. Some 1,600 business leaders turned out to benefit from this option. "We have a lot companies that are in the hands of people over 55. They should prepare their succession in the next 10 years. We want to make people aware of the fact that they have to start the process in time." If the company has to be passed on after the owner has passed away, it's a much more expensive thing.