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    The hidden cost of dying in Brussels 

    In 2019 alone, a total of 825 patients died in the UZ Brussel. Credit: Pexels

    A death in the Brussels-Capital Region could cost families up to €220 per deceased due to a ‘hidden tax’ implemented by certain municipalities. 

    Each of the 19 municipalities in Brussels can decide whether or not to charge administrative costs for death on their territory, according to research by VRTEvery commune opts to do so, except for Koekelberg and Sint-Gilles.

    The most expensive tax is in Jette, which tops the list with €220 for “administrative formalities” for dying on its territory. In Berchem-Sainte-Agathe you pay €164, in Forest €150, while Evere charges only €12.

    It is “absurd,” Thomas Heiremans of the Funeral Union Flanders told VRT. “The undertakers do almost all the preparatory work for the municipalities. There’s no quid pro quo for this tax.”

    The tax – which halts the transport of the body from the region until it has been paid – is also applicable to those who die in hospitals. This in turn often leads to delays in funeral arrangements, to the detriment of the family. 

    “For someone who lives in the province of Antwerp, is treated in the UZ Brussel and dies there, the next of kin have to pay €220 to the municipality. That’s absurd, isn’t it?” Heiremans added. 

    In 2019 alone, a total of 825 patients died in the UZ Brussel, one of the largest hospitals in the Brussels Region. 

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times