Image of Henk Vanhulle

Henk Vanhulle

Tax Partner, Brussels

“I have more than 30 years’ experience of providing clients with authoritative standalone and transaction-related domestic and international tax advice that best meets their commercial requirements. I also represent clients in contentious tax issues and investigations, offering a full perspective on their tax-related issues.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Henk is widely acknowledged as one of Belgium’s foremost tax lawyers. He has vast experience of advising corporates and international financial institutions on their Belgian, EU and international tax requirements, including on international tax planning and structuring complex tax matters. He also advises on the tax aspects of transactions, including corporate M&A, capital markets deals and real estate transactions, working in close collaboration with the firm’s market-leading lawyers in these areas, as well as on tax aspects related to employee share and carried interest schemes. He conducts tax audits, assists clients with tax investigations, and represents them in tax litigation, including representing them before courts (including the European courts) and tax tribunals.

Henk maintains excellent contacts with the Belgian tax authorities (including the ruling commission, central tax authorities, and the cabinet of minister of finance). He has obtained a number of important rulings on tax issues that were not handled by tax regulations or case law, especially in the field of R&D incentives.

Henk leads the firm’s Belgian tax practice and is a member of the firm’s Partnership Board, representing the Benelux offices. Formerly, he was national managing partner, Belgium, and the firm’s global head of tax.

Work highlights

Henk has led on, or has been a principal adviser on, many market-leading deals. These include advising:

  • Belfius Bank on its first issuance of €500m additional tier 1 securities, including obtaining a tax ruling confirming the tax deductibility of the coupon and the non-application of various anti-abuse measures
  • ageas on a liability management exercise by indirect subsidiary Ageasfinlux and the parallel issuance by ageas of €750 million Solvency II-compliant restricted tier 1 notes
  • a pharmaceutical company and an industrial company on innovation income deduction and other tax incentives for R&D, including obtaining tax rulings validating for the first time interpretation of tax rules to a specific set of facts/contracts
  • various Belgian financial institutions and their customers on financing solutions for equity share plans
  • Elia Group on its 2019 reorganisation under which the Belgian regulated activities were transferred to a newly established company, including obtaining tax rulings confirming complex tax issues specific to the regulated electricity business
  • Mohawk on a strategic tax litigation case concerning taxation in the hands of a Belgian company of patent income earned by another foreign group company, holder of the patents, as a result of which the Court of Appeals annulled the tax assessments
  • a private equity company on a tax investigation conducted by the special fraud squad in relation to carried interest

Professional experience

Henk is a member of legal & tax committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, of the IFA Belgian Branch, and of the De Warande Business Club, Brussels.

He teaches corporate tax on the Master of Financial Management program at the Vlerick Management School in Brussels, where he is an assistant professor. Previously, he was a teaching professor for international tax planning at Catholic University of Leuven.

Henk has spoken at many seminars on various topics including corporate tax law, capital markets and structured finance-related tax issues, and employee share schemes, as well as writing extensively on these subjects.

Education and qualifications

Henk studied law at the Catholic University of Leuven, a special degree from the Ecolé Supérieure des Sciences fiscales of Brussels and holds a master’s in law from University of Illinois College of Law.

He speaks English, Dutch and French.