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End of 'cheese route' is a fact

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Recently there has been a lot of press about the abolition of the cheese route, i.e. the possibility of donating movable property before a - usually Dutch - civil-law notary without paying gift and inheritance tax on it. Especially regarding the speed with which this legislative amendment would be implemented, there has been much uncertainty. Initially, there was talk of an entry into force ten days after publication in the Belgian Official Gazette. In the meantime, it has become clear that the cheese route will indeed be abolished, but that the entry into force is only foreseen on December 1, 2020. Below is more information on this subject.


1. Current Arrangement

The reason why a donation does not give rise to gift tax before a Dutch notary is that a deed that is executed before a notary in the Netherlands is not subject to any registration requirement. Such a deed does not have to be presented to the registration office either in Belgium or in the Netherlands, so no gift tax has to be paid at the time of the donation.

Provided that the donors do not subsequently die within the first three years of the gift, the donated assets are also not subject to inheritance tax and it is therefore possible to transfer assets to the next generation free of any transitional tax.

Such a donation is only possible for the donation of movable property - such as shares and investment portfolios - and not for the donation of immovable property, since such donation deeds are already subject to mandatory registration today.


2. Bill

With the bill, the legislator provides for the mandatory registration of all deeds relating to the donation of movable property. This obligation to register will apply to all deeds of donation, regardless of whether the donation is made in full ownership or with usufruct, and regardless of the country in which the donation is made. This means that a manual donation or bank donation is still possible, since such donations can be made without the intervention of a notary.

The donation of shares and investment portfolios, on the other hand, is always required to be made by notarial deed, so that such donations could no longer be made untaxed.

At the moment there is talk of a billthat has not yet been definitively approved, but from all reports it seems that the approval is only a formality and that the cheese route will soon be definitively closed. The entry into force is planned for 1 December 2020, so if you were planning to make a donation of movable property anyway, we recommend not waiting too long and contacting us so that we can assist you in this matter.


If you would like more information about this, please contact us at 051 26 82 68 or via email at