VAT in Belgium : Everything you need to know about Belgian VAT
Value Added Tax (VAT) is an integral part of modern taxation systems worldwide, and Belgium is no exception. Since its implementation, in 1971 (VAT Directive 67/227/EEC of 1967), the VAT tax has played a significant role in generating revenue for the Belgian government and ensuring the smooth functioning of the country’s economy.
In this article you will find a complete guide to VAT in Belgium, how it functions, what are the applicable rates, when to file VAT returns and how you can register to obtain the Belgian VAT Number.
Belgian VAT Rate
VAT is calculated on the taxable amount at rates that are dependent on the object of the transaction. VAT rates in Belgium vary depending on the type of goods or services being provided.
Applicable VAT Rates in Belgium
Belgium implements three VAT rates at present :
|Rate||Type||Goods / Services|
|21%||Standard||Most goods and services.|
|12%||First reduced||It applies, among other things, to: certain foods, restaurant and catering services, social housing, phytopharmaceutical products, inner tubes, some combustible materials and many more.|
|6%||Second reduced||It applies, among other things, to : medicine, certain foods, certain printed and electronic publications, supply of water through pipelines, works of art, passenger transportation services, concerts and exhibitions, repair of bicycles, shoes and leather goods, clothing.|
|0%||Zero||Specific transactions involving goods stored in a customs warehouse, cross-border passenger transportation by sea or land, and certain electronic publications.|
How to check the VAT Rate for your product in Belgium
If you have doubts about the VAT Rate for your specific product, there is a way to check it. The only thing you need to know is the customs code of your product ! Belgian Administration has published an official online tool, called TARBEL where you can check the applicable VAT rate for your specific product.
Check out our article on How to Check VAT Rate in Benelux to learn more.
When to register to VAT in Belgium?
If you are a foreign company, without a permanent establishment in Belgium but conducting business in Belgium, it is not always necessary to register to Belgian VAT. However there are some cases in which you might need to or that you might benefit from getting a Belgian VAT number.
Here are a few situations when it might be needed:
These are some of the situations that might require you to register to VAT in Belgium. Of course each company has a different type of situation – that is why our experts are more than happy to analyze your transactions and let you know whether the Belgian VAT number is needed.
When to register to VAT in Belgium : E-commerce companies
If you are an e-commerce company established in the European Union selling your products (distance sales) to Belgian customers, you might be required to register to VAT in Belgium.
After exceeding the threshold of 10 000€ sales (amount of net sales in a year), as an e-commerce company you are required to sell your products applying the VAT rate of the customer’s location.
Since you are required to collect the VAT according to the rate of the customer’s country, you are also obliged to pay the VAT in that country. You can do it in two different ways :
If you choose the option number one and you are selling your products with delivery to Belgium, then you should register to VAT in Belgium and pay the VAT through your VAT Return.
To learn more about One-Stop-Shop procedure and how to register to it, visit our dedicated page: OSS in Belgium
Schedule a free consultation with our VAT expert to establish your needs based on your situation.
How to register to VAT in Belgium ?
If you are a company established in the European Union you can submit a VAT registration application either by yourself or with a help of a tax agent. Companies established outside the EU, will need to call upon a tax representative in Belgium in order to register to VAT in Belgium.
Non-established foreign companies wishing to register for VAT in Belgium must initially provide evidence of their activity in Belgium. Prior to the issuance of a Belgian VAT number by the BCAE, the taxable entity must provide undeniable proof of their intent to engage in operations that necessitate an identification number in the near future. Without a proof of activity, a foreign taxable entity lacking a permanent establishment in Belgium will not be able to receive a VAT number in Belgium.
Evidence can be presented through various means, such as a contract or order form, a lease agreement for a distribution center, an import document, a transportation document, an invoice, or proof of a merger or acquisition.
The following documents should be included when submitting the registration file:
The registration to Belgium VAT is done fully online on the official website of the Belgian Tax Administration.
Moreover, registering for VAT in Belgium through a tax representative necessitates the deposit of a cash guarantee on behalf of the FPS Finance. This deposit must be made via the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC). The guarantee document should be submitted using the e-DEPO application.
What are my VAT obligations in Belgium?
Once you receive your Belgian VAT number, you start to have certain obligations. In this paragraph we will enlist all you need to remember about, in order to be in line with all of them and ensure your VAT compliance in Belgium.
VAT Obligations in Belgium :
VAT Return in Belgium
As like in any other European country, if you have an active VAT number in Belgium, you have an obligation to file VAT returns periodically. You can do it either on your own or with a help of a tax agent/ tax representative.
Then, according to what transactions you will declare you might need to pay the VAT or you may get if refunded by the Belgian administration (VAT Payment & Recovery in Belgium)
What type of transactions do I declare?
In the Belgian VAT return, you basically declare all the transactions for which you have used your Belgian VAT number :
How often should I file the VAT Return in Belgium?
After the VAT registration, the administration will decide on the periodicity of filing the VAT Return in Belgium. It can be monthly, quarterly or annual, depending on the predicted yearly turnover of your business.
The deadline for submitting the VAT return and making the VAT payment (if necessary) in Belgium is generally the 20th of the month following the declaration period.
To find out the specific filing deadlines for VAT in Belgium, you can refer to the VAT calendar.
EC Sales List in Belgium
The EC Sales List declaration in Belgium is another mandatory statement that lists all your intra-Community sales conducted during a specific declaration period. It specifically includes transactions made to customers who are identified for VAT purposes in other EU Member States.
If you have an active Belgian intra-Community VAT number and have reported an amount in the VAT grid 46 of your Belgian VAT return, you are required to submit the EC Sales List. The filing frequency of the EC Sales List aligns with the periodicity of your VAT return submissions – the deadline is therefore generally the 20th of the month following the declaration period.
The EC Sales List return in Belgium is filed electronically via the Intervat portal.
To learn more about EC Sales List in Belgium, feel free to visit our dedicated website : EC Sales List in Belgium
Listing Clients Declaration in Belgium
The annual Listing Clients return in Belgium is a required statement that compiles all your business-to-business (B2B) sales to companies based in Belgium, where you have utilized the reverse charge mechanism. This declaration complies sales made throughout the whole year, from January 1st to December 31st). It exclusively includes reverse charge sales within Belgium, which are transactions where the customer is responsible for paying the VAT.
The annual listing clients in Belgium is mandatory for all holders of an active Belgian VAT number who have reported an amount in the VAT grid 45 on at least one of their Belgian VAT returns within the previous year.
If you did not have any transactions to declare on the Listing Clients declaration, you still need to file a NIL listing clients. You can do it together with our last VAT return (for example if you are filing VAT returns in Belgium every month, you do it on the December VAT Return), by checking the correct box or you file a regular “NIL” Listing Clients return.
The deadline for submitting the annual listing clients in Belgium is March 31st of the following year (n+1). For instance, the Listing Clients declaration for the year 2021 should be filed no later than March 31, 2022.
To file your annual return in Belgium, you are required to use the Intervat portal and submit the declaration electronically.
To learn more, do not hesitate to check out our dedicated page: Annual Return in Belgium
Intrastat Declaration in Belgium
The Intrastat declaration in Belgium serves as a statistical declaration with the aim of providing information to not only the Belgian VAT administration but also the VAT administrations of all 27 European Union countries. It specifically relates to your intra-Community transactions conducted within the territory of Belgium.
There are two types of Intrastat declaration:
- Intrastat declaration for Dispatches – related to Intra-Community Supply of goods (ICS)
- Intrastat declaration for Arrivals – related to Intra-Community Acquisition of goods (ICA)
In Belgium it is necessary to file the Intrastat declarations as soon as the yearly thresholds for the transactions have been reached.
Here are the current 2023 Thresholds for Intrastat Declaration in Belgium:
|Belgium||EUR||1 500 000 €||1 000 000 €|
After reaching one of the thresholds, you are obliged to start filing the Intrastat declaration from the month following the one when you have reached the threshold. You will then need to continue to file the declaration each month for that year and the year after. If in the next year, none of the thresholds has been reached, then you will no longer have the obligation to file Intrastat in Belgium the next year.
To learn more about Intrastat in Belgium, check out our dedicated page : Intrastat in Belgium
Import and VAT Deferment with ET 14000 License
Belgium is one of the European countries where businesses are importing goods from outside the EU most often and it is because of the port of Antwerp. When importing goods to Belgium, at customs clearance, you will need to pay the Import VAT tax.
The standard rate of Import VAT in Belgium is 21%.
If you import products that fall under the reduced VAT rate, the Import VAT rate will also be the respective reduced rate.
The Import VAT tax is then refundable while filing the periodical VAT return in Belgium.
Since sometimes it can be a burden for a company to pay this VAT tax before the goods have been sold (so advancing the tax), Belgium has created a license called ET 14000 that allows to defer the payment of this tax.
By acquiring the ET 14000 license, you have the option to postpone the payment of VAT on imports until the regular VAT return period. Consequently, you are not obligated to provide upfront financing for VAT when bringing goods into the country through customs.
Prerequisites for obtaining the ET 14000 License include:
To learn more about the ET14000 License and Import VAT deferment system in Belgium, check out this dedicated page: ET 14000 VAT Deferment in Belgium
Schedule a free consultation with our VAT expert to establish your needs based on your situation.
Do I need a tax agent or a tax representative in Belgium?
The answer to this question is.. it depends ! First of all, let us remind you what is the difference between a tax agent and a tax representative.
A tax representative is a person/company that will be the sole interlocutor with the administration and is co-responsible for the correctness of VAT returns and overall VAT compliance. All companies that are established outside of the EU (with the exception of UK) wanting to register to VAT in Belgium will need to have a tax representative in Belgium.
A tax agent however is dedicated only to companies established in the European Union or the United Kingdom, acts on their behalf but is not directly responsible if all VAT obligations are not met by the represented company. Therefore if you are a company established in the EU or UK and you want to register to the Belgian UK you do not need to have a tax agent.
Rising VAT rockstar at Eurofiscalis I have a passion for unraveling the complexities of VAT regulations in the European Union (especially Benelux region). My mission is to empower readers to navigate the ever-changing VAT landscape with ease and to answear your questions in a clear and concise way.
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