Do minor member-owners have a vote?

While minor member-owners cannot cast their vote directly, they can be represented by a parent or guardian. During registration at the General Assembly, individuals voting on their behalf will need to present a completed and signed proxy form for minors. There is no limit on the number of minors a guardian or parent may represent, meaning one individual can represent all their children at the General Assembly. 

Are my shares subject to securities taxation?

Cooperative shares are not subject to securities tax. Shares in cooperative companies are registered in the name of the shareholder, so there is no need to take them into consideration should you also own a securities account. 

Are minor member-owners taxed on dividends they receive?

Parents enjoy legal rights over the moveable income of their children. In most cases, the parents will therefore need to declare the dividends in their own tax return. If there are two parents, both will need to add half of the dividends of each minor to the dividends they themselves have received. If only one parent has legal rights over the children’s income, they alone will need to declare the minors’ dividends in their tax return. 

Do I need to pay withholding tax on dividends I receive as a private member-owner?

Up until the end of 2017, dividends on cooperative shares were exempt from taxes up to an amount of €190 per taxpayer per year. During the 2018 income year, member-owners do not have to pay withholding tax on a first dividend tranche of up to €640 (sum of dividends from shares in Belgian and foreign companies). This exemption can be claimed via your personal income tax. In practice, Eoly Cooperative declares the dividend before distributing it as a net sum, minus 30% withholding tax. The deducted withholding tax can be recuperated by declaring it in your tax return as long as the maximum exemption amount of €640 has not been exceeded. From the 2019 income year onwards, the maximum exemption amount shall be raised to €800. 

How can I exit the cooperative?

As a member-owner (*), you can submit an exit request or a request for the company to partially repurchase your shares. By law, such a request needs to be submitted during the first six months of the fiscal year (which equals a calendar year) for an exit to be able to take place during that same fiscal year. In practice, this means that exit requests need to be submitted between 1 January and 30 June. To submit an exit request to the Board of Directors, send it to Eoly Cooperative’s registered office (Edingensesteenweg 196, 1500 Halle, Belgium) by registered mail.(*) According to the law ‘Tot wijziging van verscheidene wetsbepalingen inzake de voogdij over Minderjarigen’ (‘Amendment of Several Legal Provisions Pertaining to the Guardianship of Minors’) of 29 April 2001, parents wishing to sell moveable assets owned by their child must first obtain authorisation from the Justice of the Peace. Shares in the cooperative officially owned by a minor are considered moveable assets and are therefore covered by this law. If shares are in the name of a minor, the minor can only exit the cooperative once the Justice of the Peace has authorised this. Authorisation can be requested by submitting a petition to the registry of the Justice of the Peace of the judicial canton the minor resides in. A registration fee of €27 must be paid upon submission of a petition. The Justice of the Peace will grant authorisation if they are of the opinion that the request is in the best interests of the minor. As a result, any parent(s) submitting a request for authorisation need(s) to cite the reason(s) why they wish to sell the minor’s moveable assets. The request also needs to demonstrate that the sale would be in the minor’s best interests.