On 3 July 1969, Belgium introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT)-type turnover tax on the supply of goods and services, the supply of certain transportation vehicles , and importation. In January 1971, it replaced the old cumulative turnover taxes.
VAT in Belgium is called Belasting over de toegevoegde waarde (BTW) / Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA).
Standard Rate: 21%
The standard rated VAT in Belgium is 21%, and applies to all supplies of goods and services not specified as being subject to any of the other rates.
Reduced Rates: 6% and 12%
There are two types of reduced rate: 6% rate applies to the goods and services outlined in Royal Decree no. 20. and an intermediate 12% rate is applicable to a limited number of transactions.
The 0% rate can only be applied to a very limited number of goods, periodicals (based on certain conditions), and waste products.
Furthermore, it is also applicable to pro Deo (pro bono) services of lawyers and bailiffs.
In addition, the VAT rate of 0% is applicable from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022 for the supply, intra-Community acquisition, and importation of COVID-19 in-vitro diagnostic medical devices and vaccines. (Also for services closely linked to those devices and vaccines.)
There is no VAT threshold for local or foreign taxpayers. Entrepreneurs have to submit a declaration of “Commencement of Activity” online. This has to be filed prior to the commencement of activity as a taxable person.
Belgium thresholds are the following:
According to article 53(2) of the VAT Code, a taxable person (except taxable persons making exempt supplies), who supplies goods or services must issue an invoice in the form and containing the information specified in Royal Decree 1 of 29 December 1992.
Based on article 5 (1) of Royal Decree 1 of 29 December 1992, the following information is required to be indicated on an invoice:
All of this information must also appear on credit notes, including a reference to the underlying invoice.
Furthermore, it should also include the statement “Btw terug te storten aan de Staat in de mate waarin ze oorspronkelijk in aftrek werd gebracht – TVA à reverser à l’Etat dans la mesure où elle a été initialement déduite” (article 4(1) of Royal Decree 4 of 29 December 1969).
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In principle, a monthly VAT return must be filed.
However, if the annual turnover realized in Belgium does not exceed EUR 2.5 million, quarterly VAT returns may be filed.
No special authorization from the VAT authorities is needed in order to apply the system of the quarterly VAT returns. Since 1 April 2017, the system of the monthly advance payments for quarterly filers has been abolished.
In exemption from the above, a monthly VAT return is obligatory if the annual turnover is more than EUR 250,000 for companies trading in energy products (e.g. mineral oils), mobile telephones and computers and their peripherals, accessories and components, as well as land vehicles. As of 2021, the system of an advance payment once a year on the VAT due for the month of December, has been abolished.
When the taxable person has to file a monthly recapitulative statement (ESL), a monthly VAT return is also obligatory.
The transition from quarterly to monthly returns is made, in principle, at the end of the calendar quarter in which the conditions for filing quarterly returns are no longer met.
Periodical VAT returns must be filed at the latest on the 20th of the month following the month or the quarter concerned; e.g. the VAT return relating to transactions in October must be filed on 20 November, at the latest. The balance of VAT due must also be paid by that date.
During the summer holidays period, the VAT authorities usually grant an additional period in respect of the filing of VAT returns. This means that the VAT return for the month of June and the VAT return for the third quarter can be filed by 10 August and the VAT return for the month of July can be filed by 10 September.
A VAT return must be filed electronically using the web application INTERVAT.
Taxable persons who do not have the necessary technological means and can clearly explain such lack of means, are exempt from this obligation and must file in paper form.
From 1 January 2002, only companies established outside the European Union (except for Norway (administrative cooperation agreement) and for the United Kingdom (based on the protocol included in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement)) must appoint a responsible (VAT) representative.
The responsible (VAT) representative acts on behalf of the foreign entrepreneur in respect of all rights granted and all obligations imposed by the VAT regulations.
On behalf of the foreign entrepreneur, the responsible (VAT) representative fulfils the obligations that normally fall on taxable persons in respect of all transactions carried out by the foreign entrepreneur in Belgium.
The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) was introduced on 1 July 2021. It is an electronic portal businesses can use for their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.
Who can use the import scheme in Belgium?
The Intrastat declaration enables the National Bank of Belgium to collect statistical data on trade in goods between the EU Member States. All those subject to VAT from these Member States have to submit a declaration on their intra-Community trade when their transactions exceed a specified threshold amount.
In Belgium, the declaration thus concerns arrivals and/or dispatches of goods from or to another EU Member State.
Registration and Submission
New declarants are requested to fill in an online general information form about their business.
Submission of declarations can be completed online using the Onegate system of the National Bank of Belgium
It is required to declare as soon as it exceeds one of the following thresholds:
Deadlines and Filing Frequency
The filing frequency is monthly for Intrastat and must be submitted no later than the 20th of the month following the reporting period.
In that case, if no transaction has to be reported in the Intrastat declaration, a nil declaration has to be also submitted, also no later than the 20th of the month following it.
June 2022: Deadline Extension for VAT Payers
February 2022: Transaction Codes for Intrastat declarations.
As of February 2022, the transaction codes for Intrastat declarations will change from 1 to 2 digits. Here is an official list of transaction codes to be applied in 2022.
A transaction code consists of a code number in column A associated with its subdivision in column B.
Following the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU single market, the status of the United Kingdom changed from EU Member State to third country. This impacts the free movement of goods and the following procedures will need to be applied.
Sales of goods to clients located in the United Kingdom will no longer be considered as intra-Community supplies but will be considered as exports, which will be in most of the cases exempted from VAT pursuant to Article 39, par. 1 and 2 of the VAT Code.
Purchases of goods from sellers located in the United Kingdom will no longer be considered as intra-Community acquisitions but will be considered as imports.
Partner country: Country code XI for Northern Ireland, the rest of the United Kingdom will no longer be included in the Intrastat declaration (no XU nor GB).
VAT-number counterparty (only for the dispatch declaration): Northern Irish companies are mentioned with their VAT number starting with XI.
Country of origin: Country code XI is also used here for Northern Ireland; for the rest of the United Kingdom it is XU.
Price corrections concerning declarations prior to 2021: You cannot insert the code 9960.0000 – credit note – with country code GB in a 2021 declaration. The correction should be made in the declaration for the month of the original transaction (e.g. December 2020);
Return in 2021 of goods delivered in 2020 from or to GB: In 2021, a customs document is required for this return. No registration in Intrastat for 2021 or 2020.
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