On this page you’ll find everything you need to know about Belgium VAT registration, Returns, Tax Representation and your legal obligations within the Belgium.
Looking to sell goods into Belgium?
When should i VAT register in Belgium?
There are a number of events and scenario’s which would require a business to register for VAT in Belgium. Below is a list of some of the main activities that initiate mandatory VAT registration in Belgium.
- Storage; Like most EU countries, a VAT registration is required when you store goods locally
- Importing; In certain circumstances a VAT number is required for import, in particular when re-claiming import VAT
- Buying & selling goods to non-vat registered customers
- Holding live exhibitions, events or training in Belgium
- The self-supply of goods
When should i file VAT returns in Belgium?
When a businesses first registers for VAT in Belgium the tax office will automatically assign them to monthly reporting but it is possible to request for quarterly returns if turnover is under EUR2.5m. Whether the returns are monthly or quarterly the filing and payment deadline is the 20th of the month following the reporting period.
What input VAT can be deducted in Belgium?
In Belgium the VAT return is used to claim back VAT on purchases (input VAT) that can be offset against the sales VAT owed.
This includes import VAT. Non-resident companies are allowed to reclaim VAT on purchases on the same basis as any resident company. However there are some exceptions which are;
- Spirits (unless destined for resale or provision of a service)
- Tobacco products
- Financial and insurance services
- Costs associated with entertaining business partners and customers
- Food, drink and accommodation for employees
Belgium VAT Penalties
When non-compliance, late filings or incorrect declarations are found there are a number of fines that the Belgian ministry of Finance can apply.
Fines for non-compliance range from a minimum of EUR250 and 10% of any late VAT payment for failure to register to EUR5000 (per invoice) for repeated failure to provide a VAT invoice. Interest is charged if VAT is unpaid or paid late. The current rate of interest is set at 0.8% per month.
Belgium VAT Credits
When purchase VAT exceeds the sales VAT owed then there will be a surplus known as a VAT credit where you are owed money from the tax office. In most circumstances these are carried forward to the next VAT return and claimed against the next periods sales VAT however in some circumstances a company may make a request for the credit to be refunded. This is usually refunded once a quarter.
Belgium Fiscal Representative
Belgium have adopted the need for non-EU businesses to appoint a fiscal representative when carrying out taxable operations in it’s borders. A fiscal representative is jointly and severally liable for the VAT owed by the foreign company. This means failure to pay the VAT on time can result in the tax authorities recovering the debt from the Fiscal Representative instead.
At present despite now being a non-EU country, British businesses do not require a Fiscal Representative in Belgium but this is subject to change. Please contact us if you have doubts and to receive the most up-to-date information.
Belgium VAT Rates
EU Member States are required to apply a standard VAT rate which is not lower than 15% and must be the same for the supply of goods and services. EU Member States may apply either one or two reduced rates which are not lower than 5% only to supplies of goods or services as listed in the Annex III of the VAT Directive.
See below the Belgium VAT Rates for goods and services at standard and reduced rate.
|21%||Standard||All other taxable goods and services|
|12%||Reduced||Some foodstuffs; certain agricultural supplies; some social housing; some construction work on new buildings; certain energy products e.g. coal, lignite, coke; some pesticides and fertilizers; certain tyres and inner tubes for agricultural use|
|6%||Reduced||Some foodstuffs (including takeaway food); soft drinks; water supplies; some pharmaceutical products; some medical equipment for disabled persons; domestic transport of passengers; some books (including e-books); newspapers and periodicals (with certain exceptions); entrance to cultural events and amusement parks; some social housing; certain repair and renovation of private dwellings; some agricultural supplies; hotel accommodation; admission to sporting events; use of sports facilities; intra-community and international road, rail and inland waterways transport; some motor vehicles (cars for the disabled); some social services; certain undertaker and cremation services; minor repairs (including bicycles, shoes and leather goods, clothing and household linen); firewood; cut flowers and plants for decorative use and food production; writers and composers; firewood; restaurants and catering (all beverages excluded)|
|0%||Zero||Some daily and weekly newspapers; certain recycled materials and by-products; intra-community and international transport (excluding road, rail and inland waterways)|
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, for non-eu businesses a Fiscal Representative is required in Belgium but some countries do have an exception
Yes, if you are making b2b intra-community sales from Belgium to other EU member states then you will be required to file EC Sales List. This is normally monthly and falls in line with your VAT reporting, it is due by the 20th of each month.
Yes you can reclaim import vat in Belgium, either by being VAT registered and reporting on the VAT return or via a separate 13th directive VAT reclaim for non-eu businesses and 8th directive for EU businesses
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