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VAT Belgium 2024 – standard rate, reduced VAT rates, VAT registration
- Last update: 23.02.2024
- Published: 22.03.2023
- Read in: 8 min
VAT is very common across Europe and it plays a crucial role in funding state budgets. Belgium, in particular, heavily relies on VAT as a primary revenue stream. This article aims to explore various aspects of VAT in Belgium, encompassing topics such as standard and reduced rates, Intrastat, and VAT registration.
From the following article you will find out:
- When do you need to register for VAT in Belgium?
- What is the standard VAT rate in Belgium?
- What are the reduced VAT rates applicable in Belgium?
- Where should you submit your VAT registration application in Belgium?
- What is the deadline for filing Belgian VAT returns?
- What are the applicable Intrastat thresholds in Belgium?
When do you need to register for VAT in Belgium?
Companies based in an EU country are required to register for VAT in Belgium if they engage in selling goods or providing services there, which are subject to VAT.
The various activities subject to different VAT rates are listed below. Additionally, certain situations, like warehousing goods or exceeding the EUR 10,000 limit for mail order sales in Europe, also require VAT registration.
In such cases, any surplus VAT must be settled in the country of sale or via the VAT OSS. If you need assistance with VAT registration or settlement related matters, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with us.
The standard VAT rate in Belgium
The standard VAT rate in Belgium is 21%, placing it in the middle range of VAT rates among European Union countries. In comparison, Luxembourg has the lowest standard VAT rate at 17% until the end of 2023, while Hungary imposes the highest rate of 27% as the default VAT rate for taxpayers.
Now, shifting our attention back to the main subject of this article, Belgian VAT maintains a standard rate of 21%, which applies to all goods and services not eligible for reduced rates. Let’s explore these reduced rates in detail.
Reduced VAT rates in Belgium
In Belgium, there are two reduced VAT rates. The first rate stands at 12%, while the second rate at 6%.
12% - Reduced VAT rate in Belgium
In Belgium, the higher of the two reduced VAT rates is 12%, and it applies to:
- selected food products,
- selected agricultural products,
- restaurant and catering services (excluding beverage delivery),
- certain social housing accommodations,
- selected energy materials such as hard coal, lignite, or fuel coke,
- certain tires and inner tubes for agricultural use.
6% - Reduced VAT rate in Belgium
The second reduced VAT rate in Belgium is set at 6%. This rate is applicable to various items, including:
- certain food products, including take-away meals,
- non-alcoholic beverages,
- books (including digital ones), magazines, and tickets to various cultural events,
- artworks, antiques, and collectibles,
- personal transport services,
- selected medical equipment,
- photovoltaic panels, heat pumps, natural gas, and heating,
- delivery of cars for disabled persons along with equipment and accessories for those vehicles,
- hotels and campgrounds.
VAT registration in Belgium
Companies engaged in business activities in Belgium are required to register within the Belgian tax system if they sell goods or provide services subject to VAT in the country. The registration process, however, depending on the country of the company’s registered office, can be done in one of the two offices:
- Foreign companies that are established in Belgium can acquire a Belgian VAT number by applying to the local VAT office.
- For foreign companies with their registered office outside of Belgium, desiring to obtain a Belgian VAT number, the application process should be directed to the Central VAT Office for Foreign Taxpayers (BCAE).
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Acquiring a VAT number in Belgium
The process of VAT registration in Belgium depends on the country where the company is established.
For companies located outside the European Union, VAT registration requires the involvement of a tax representative. In such cases, all communication, return filings, and settlements are handled through the appointed representative.
In contrast, companies based in EU countries have the choice of either registering directly or using a tax representative. When opting not to appoint a tax representative, the company takes on the responsibility of direct communication, submitting returns, and handling settlements.
If you require VAT registration in another EU country, book a free consultation and allow us to guide you through the process. Additionally, we can provide assistance with VAT OSS, VAT settlements and returns.
The required documents for VAT registration in Belgium
When planning to register for VAT in Belgium, it’s essential to consider that several documents will be required when submitting the application. These documents include:
- A completed VAT registration form,
- Copy of the company’s articles of association (statute),
- Extract from the commercial register,
- VAT liability certificate,
- Power of attorney (in case a tax representative is assisting with the registration),
- Proof of business activities in Belgium, such as several invoices demonstrating the conduct of activities such as sales of goods or services.
Intrastat in Belgium
In Belgium, businesses must take into account not only the value-added tax (VAT) but also another significant aspect called Intrastat when they engage in selling goods and providing services.
Intrastat is a system that facilitates the collection and analysis of trade information between EU member states, specifically focusing on the movement of goods within the EU.
In Belgium, companies are obligated to comply with Intrastat when their trade in goods with other EU countries reaches a specific value. For exports, Intrastat becomes mandatory when the value exceeds €1 000 000, whereas for imports, the threshold is set at €1 500 000.
When making Intrastat declarations, companies are required to provide detailed information about dispatched goods, including their value and weight for exports, and for imports, they need to provide information about the goods received.
VAT returns in Belgium
In Belgium, businesses have the flexibility to choose between submitting their VAT returns either in paper form or electronically, and choose between either monthly or quarterly filings.
However, it is important to note that the quarterly option is only available to businesses with an annual turnover not exceeding €2 500 000 or €250 000 for companies selling specific goods like IT accessories, energy-related products, or land vehicles.
Additionally, to be eligible for quarterly filing, intra-Community supplies of goods must not have exceeded €50 000 in any of the previous four quarters.
The deadline for submitting the VAT return is typically the 20th of the month following the accounting period. However, there are exceptions for the second quarter, June, and July of 2023. For these cases, the deadline to pay VAT is until 10th August for the second quarter and June, and until 8th September for July.
The Tax office in Belgium
You can contact the Belgian tax authorities at the following address:
Administration Generale de la Fiscalite,
Centre de scanning,
Avenue du Prince de Liege 133- Building A, 5100 Namur (Jambes),
VAT in Belgium - Summary
In Belgium, VAT is charged at three different rates: a standard rate of 21%, and two reduced rates of 12% and 6%. The default rate is 12%, while the other rates apply to specific categories of products and services, which are clearly outlined in detailed guidelines.
If you require assistance with VAT registration, secure settlement, or filing your returns in Belgium, we encourage you to schedule a call with us. Our services not only optimise your accounting processes but also help save your valuable time.