VAT plays a crucial role in the tax systems of European Union member countries, serving as a significant source of government revenue. However, its mechanisms and tax rates can vary […]Read in: 5 min
VAT registration in Belgium
- Last update: 19.09.2023
- Published: 05.09.2023
- Read in: 6 min
Numerous businesses contemplating expansion often contemplate Belgium as a prospective location, often due to its advanced level of development. Nevertheless, venturing into a new market necessitates acquainting yourself with the local legal framework governing business operations, including VAT-related matters.
This article primarily centres on the process of registering for this tax requirement.
From the following article you will find out:
- VAT Belgium – what are the applicable VAT rates in Belgium?
- When does VAT registration become mandatory in Belgium?
- How to register for VAT in Belgium?
- Which documents are required for VAT registration in Belgium?
- At which Belgian tax office can foreign entrepreneurs obtain a Belgian VAT number and in which format?
- What are the deadlines for submitting VAT returns in Belgium?
Belgium doesn’t just have a standard VAT rate; it also encompasses two reduced VAT rates and a zero rate. The higher of these reduced rates stands at 12%, while the lower one is set at 6%.
The standard rate is applicable to items and services not eligible for reduced rates. However, the 12% rate is specifically assigned to coal and certain energy products, while the 6% VAT rate is associated with medical equipment, books, artistic works, among others. Belgium also applies a zero VAT rate to various items, including intra-Community transport and selected electronic publications.
For a more detailed breakdown of which goods and services fall under specific VAT rates in Belgium, you can refer to our article on VAT Belgium 2023.
When is it mandatory to register for VAT in Belgium?
Belgium, like other EU countries, mandates VAT registration in specific scenarios, which encompass:
- The sale of goods and provision of services within Belgium.
- Exporting and importing goods to and from non-EU countries,
- Warehousing goods in Belgium and subsequently dispatching them to recipients in other EU states,
- importing goods into Belgium from other EU nations,
- Conducting distant intra-Community sales of goods with a value exceeding €10,000.
It’s important to note that the last point pertains to the threshold for distance intra-Community sales of goods and applies to B2C intra-Community transactions.
As of July 1, 2021, businesses face a unified sales threshold of €10,000 for transactions involving goods and services provided to private consumers in other EU Member States. Once this threshold is exceeded, starting with the transaction surpassing this limit, traders must either locally register for VAT and settle sales tax in the buyer’s country or register for VAT OSS (One-Stop-Shop) and collectively manage VAT for intra-community sales.
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The VAT registration process in Belgium
In Belgium, the VAT registration procedure involves traditional correspondence with the relevant tax office.
The Belgian tax office
Foreign companies operating in Belgium have the option to complete their VAT registration at a local office. However, for businesses originating from other countries, VAT registration is handled by the dedicated tax office known as SPF Finances – AGFisc PME – Centre Matières Spécifiques. The required documentation for VAT registration should also be submitted to this office, located at Avenue Prince de Liège 133 box 735, 5100 Jambes.
The documents required for VAT registration in Belgium
For VAT registration in Belgium, in addition to the registration application, entrepreneurs will require a set of documents, including:
- a copy of the company’s articles or memorandum of association, translated into French,
- commercial register entry along with a sworn French translation,
- confirmation of VAT registration in the home country,
- evidence of business activities in Belgium, such as invoices demonstrating transactions with Belgian counterparties,
- power of attorney (if using a representative’s assistance),
- passport or identity card.
Belgian VAT number
The Belgian VAT number comprises a total of 10 digits, starting with the digit 0 and featuring “BE” as its prefix.
VAT obligations in Belgium
After VAT registration, entrepreneurs engaged in taxable activities in Belgium must adhere to their responsibilities. These responsibilities encompass, among others:
- settling the applicable VAT in Belgium for the sale of goods and services to Belgian consumers,
- imposing the relevant Belgian VAT rates on these transactions, based on the specific product and service categories,
- submitting VAT returns in Belgium, as per the prescribed requirements and deadlines.
Deadlines for filing VAT returns and VAT payments in Belgium
In Belgium, a VAT taxpayer has the option to file VAT returns either on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the choice depends on the business’s turnover.
For both foreign and domestic companies with an annual turnover of less than €2,500,000, the quarterly filing applies. However, businesses engaged in the sale of specific goods like IT accessories, energy products, or motor vehicles, and having a turnover of less than €250,000, are also eligible for quarterly filing.
It’s important to note that businesses have until the 20th of the month following the respective accounting period to submit their VAT returns. The only exceptions to this rule pertain to VAT returns for June, July, and the second quarter. In 2023, the deadlines for these exceptions were August 10th for Q2 and June, and September 8th for July.
VAT registration Belgium - summary
Belgium’s VAT system, much like that of other EU member states, is rather complex. It is crucial to become familiar with the local regulations and procedures that govern it.
Consequently, prior to embarking on any taxable business activities in Belgium, you may find it necessary to undergo VAT registration. This step is essential to ensure compliance with subsequent obligations, including the submission of VAT returns and adhering to regulatory requirements.
Should you require assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of VAT Compliance specialists can facilitate your VAT registration, address concerns related to returns, settlements, VAT OSS, or VAT EU. Feel free to schedule a free consultation and let us know exactly what you need assistance with.