Universiteit Leiden

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Uyt saecke des doots

In the Netherlands, levying tax on inheritances at death has been a fact of life for centuries. The presumed double taxation and its sad precursor are elements of the discussion about the levy of this inheritance tax, but so too are the possibilities to reduce the tax through ingenious legal constructions.

Reinier Kooiman
17 December 2015

In its zeal to counter such clever plans the legislature has turned the law into a complex body without parrying all the avoidance behaviour. On top of that, the effects of the current law can be very unreasonable. This includes children immediately having to pay inheritance tax upon the death of one of their parents, while only actually receiving anything when the surviving parent passes away.

The thesis uncovers the root cause of this problem by retracing the levy of inheritance tax to the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, a little-described chapter in legal history. It is discovered how the current problems would never have occurred under the simple statutory provision applicable in that period. The obvious conclusion is that the inheritance tax should be reformed based on that model. How such amendment can best be designed is elaborated further based on insights gained from legal history and other legal systems. This has resulted in a complete bill with comments, so the legislature now has the solution at its fingertips.

A commercial edition of the thesis will be available at the publishing company Sdu Uitgevers.

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