VAT in Belgium

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Belgium VAT

Belgian VAT registrations and VAT returns are processed by the local tax office but the rules are based on VAT Directives set by the EU, of which Belgium is one of the 28 members.  Belgium is obliged to incorporate the VAT Directives in its own laws.

Belgium VAT law

The Belgian VAT law is contained within the Value Added Tax Code (1993). It is administered by the Ministry of Finance.

Belgian VAT registration

Foreign companies may register in Belgium for VAT without the need to form a local company, known as non-resident VAT trading. There is no VAT threshold in Belgium for the registration of non-resident traders – a VAT number must be in place before the commencement of taxable supplies.

There are strict rules on the situations where a registration is permitted. Common scenarios which require a Belgian VAT registration include:

  • importing goods into Belgium
  • buying and selling goods within Belgium
  • organising live events, conferences etc. in Belgium (temporary registration)
  • holding goods in a warehouse in Belgium as stock
  • 'supply and install' services
  • selling goods from Belgium to other EU countries
  • distance selling to private individuals, e.g. internet retailing.

Registering for Belgian VAT generally takes three to four weeks, although this can vary.

Belgian VAT compliance

There are detailed rules controlling the recording and processing of Belgian transactions. These include guidelines on:

  • Belgian invoice requirements
  • foreign currency reporting
  • credit notes and corrections.

Belgian VAT rates

The standard VAT rate in Belgium is 21%. There are reduced rates of 12%, 6% and 0%.

Belgian VAT returns

Companies with a Belgian VAT number must submit periodic returns detailing all taxable supplies (sales) and inputs (costs). Generally, returns are submitted monthly in Belgium and although quarterly returns are permitted, monthly payments are still required. VAT returns in Belgium are due by the 20th of the month following the reporting period.

Belgian Intrastat and EC Sales Lists

In addition to VAT returns in Belgium, companies may be required to submit extra statistical information. The Belgian Intrastat system (or supplementary statistical declaration) requires a monthly return listing all movement of goods between Belgium and other EU-member states. The EC Sales List  return contains information on the VAT numbers of customers and the values of sales in the period to them. There are annual thresholds for these filings.

Belgian VAT refunds

If a foreign company is selling goods in Belgium but is not required to obtain an Belgian VAT number, or is simply incurring Belgian VAT on local goods or services, then Belgian VAT may recovered through a VAT reclaim.

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