We are glad to let you know that the 9th edition of the Newsletter of our network LEXUNION is now available.

It’s a free quarterly newsletter that deals with legal and tax developments in member countries of the Lexunion network, with the purpose to help french compagnies and persons clients of our network.

It can be downloaded on this link: Newsletter client – Lexunion 9-2017_en-fr


Increase in abatement for acquisition of residential property in Brussels

The Brussels region has amended the conditions applying to the abatement for the acquisition of residential property in Brussels.

The new abatement amounts to€175,000 (a saving of €21,875) and applies only to acquisitions for €500,000 or less.

To be able to benefit from this reduction in duty, the buyer may not possess any other residential property in Belgium or abroad and must live in the property acquired and remain there for at least five years.

On the other hand, the interest on mortgage borrowing is no longer deductible for purposes of direct taxation.



Divorce without Judge

Law No. 2016-1547 of 18 November 2016 introduced a new kind of “de-judicialised” divorce in France.

The new Article 229 of the Civil Code states that “spouses may mutually agree to their divorce by private deed under signature countersigned by lawyers, filed as a notarised deed”.

The main features of this divorce without judge are as follows:

  • Each spouse must be attended by a lawyer,
  • This type of divorce is not possible if there are disabled children of legal age,
  • Children not of legal age must be informed of their right to be heard by a judge: if any of the children expresses such a wish the procedure becomes a judicial one,
  • The divorce agreement must include in particular the methods for the complete settlement of the effects of the divorce and the settlement of the matrimonial property regime,
  • The divorce agreement drawn up by the lawyers must be signed by the spouses after a cooling-off period of fifteen days,
  • This agreement is then filed as notarised deed, giving it a definite date as well as enforceability. The dissolution of the marriage takes effect on the date of filing.

In an international context, the filing notary will be in charge of delivering the certificate referred to in Article 39 of the Brussels II bis regulations with a view to having the divorce recognised in another Member State.

The execution of these divorce agreements will be more uncertain as regards aspects relating to visiting rights and alimony obligations, since the notary will not be able to deliver the certificates provided for in Articles 41 of the Brussels II bis Regulation and 21 and 48 (Annex I) of Regulation 4/2009 (Alimony Regulation). In such cases it will therefore be preferable to resort to a judicial divorce procedure.



Rejection by referendum of the bill to reform corporation tax (RIE III)

In a referendum on 12 February 2017, the people of Switzerland, against all expectations, by a large majority rejected the proposed reform of corporation tax III (RIE III) which had been passed by the federal Parliament.

RIE III sought to abolish a number of privileged tax regimes of holding or domiciliary companies considered not to conform to international rules, and in particular to OECD standards.

To ensure Switzerland’s attractiveness, RIE III intended to respond to these international criticisms while at the same time over hauling the Swiss corporation tax regime, with overall very low tax rates and the introduction of several mechanisms, accepted internationally, allowing the tax burden to be reduced. Thus the RIE III notably provided the possibility for cantons to introduce the patent box (privileged tax for income from patents filed), an over-proportional deduction of research and development costs (up to 150{5a123fd2ff0edecec35de014470138a8d457280103a9b9810af819076914f099}) and the deduction of so-called notional interest for companies with above-average equity.

This reform failed in that the majority of voters feared that the expected reduction in tax revenue from companies would have to be offset by an increase in personal taxes.

As a result of this failure, the cantonal privileges criticised remain in force for the time being. The federal Council and the Parliament are going to have to buckle down and find a new, more balanced solution.■