In fact, in extreme cases the total value of a cross-border inherited asset might even have to be paid in tax, because several Member States may claim taxing rights on the same inheritance or tax foreign inheritances more heavily than local inheritances.

Citizens may be forced to sell inherited assets, just to cover the taxes, and small businesses may face transfer difficulties on the death of their owners.

To tackle these problems, the Commission adopted a comprehensive package on inheritance taxation. Through a Communication, Recommendation and Working Paper, the Commission analyses the problems and presents solutions related to cross-border inheritance tax in the EU.

The Commission will launch discussions with Member States to ensure appropriate follow up to the Recommendation. In addition, it is ready to assist all Member States in bringing their inheritance laws into line with EU law.

In 3 years time, the Commission will present an evaluation report showing how the situation has evolved, and decide on this basis whether further measures are necessary at national or EU level.