According to the Belgian tax law, a taxable individual for VAT purposes is a natural or legal person that:
- - exercises an economic activity;
- - in an independent and habitual manner;
- - as the main activity or a secondary activity;
- - for the purpose of delivering goods or services covered by the VAT code and regardless of the economic activity that takes place for the actual provision of these goods and services.
Companies that are registered in Belgium are registered for VAT purposes after their formal registration for business purposes (this step is detailed below by our agents).
Non-resident companies, those that are domiciled or registered in another country may also be liable for VAT under Belgian law – this is not determined based on where the economic activity takes place, but on the goods and services that are being offered.
One of our agents who specialize in company formation in Belgium can provide more details about the laws in force and about how VAT registration in Belgium in 2022 takes place for a non-resident legal entity.
Belgian VAT registration for a foreign company
Any foreign company with operations
on the territory of Belgium
must file for VAT registration
and for VAT return
when it carries out transactions that are subject tot his tax or for the purpose of deducting VAT.
For VAT regulatory purposes, a foreign company is a legal entity that does not have a permanent establishment in Belgium and whose registered office, or domicile, is located in another country.
Registration for VAT purposes is possible in the following ways:
- - with the local VAT administration office, as soon as the company has recorded the transaction that is subject to this tax, or before the commencement of the activities if it is certain that these will be subject to VAT;
- - via the One Stop Shop, a type of business office that can be found in various locations around the country and allows businesses to perform a set of mandatory registrations and activities.
Our team of company formation agents in Belgium can assist foreign companies that wish to know more about the conditions for VAT registration in the country, as well as using the One Stop Shop.
Foreign companies that have to file for VAT returns qualify for the special measures imposed by the European Union, under Article 194 of the VAT Directive.
As such, non-resident suppliers providing supplies of goods must file for a reverse charge if the customer to whom the goods are being sold is a resident tax payer in Belgium
who has filed for VAT return
; the customer can also be a non-resident paying tax in Belgium
who owns a VAT number
. The same rule is applicable for the supply of services.
The yearly statement filed by foreign companies in Belgium includes information about the taxable goods and services they have provided along with information about the VAT persons identified for tax purposes.
The statement is filed electronically by the end of March (the 30th of March) the next calendar year. Our agents who specialize in company registration in Belgium can provide more details on this process.
Foreign companies should keep in mind that a Member State might require additional information on all the transactions in which a company engaged in the previous year. This statement will need to contain details that will allow any adjustments to be made (applicable to foreign companies that provide goods and services both in Belgium and in another Member State).
Foreign businesses can rely on the services provided by our team and appoint one of our agents to essentially act on their behalf, as a tax agent would, when handling the VAT registration.
This is possible via a special appointment through a power of attorney and we can provide more details upon request about the needed documents.
Like a locally registered company, a foreign company registered for VAT in Belgium is subject to the following when carrying out activities that are not subject to a VAT exemption (as per Article 44 of the VAT Code):
- - identify the VAT obligations that arise, before the start of the activities;
- - submit the VAT statements;
- - return the invoiced VAT to the customers;
- - file the annual client listing;
- - hold proper accounts and issue proper invoices.
You can read more about these general requirements for VAT taxable entities below.
VAT registration in Belgium for local companies
Locally registered companies need to register for VAT purposes if their activities are subject to VAT.
A company, both local and foreign, is subject to this tax if it provides goods or services as they are listed in the VAT code.
This tax obligation arises whenever the economic transaction/activity that is subject to VAT takes place.
When a company, local or foreign, only carries out activities that are VAT exempt (for example, certain activities in the medical field, financial operations, certain cultural activities), it does not need to register.
A company carrying out only VAT exempt activities will, understandably, not have the right to deduct VAT.
Obtaining the VAT in Belgium is subject to the following four steps:
- Company registration: before registering for VAT purposes, the company needs to be registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises - BCE)
- Form filling: the company is then required to fill in form 604A and submit it to the competent authorities.
- Examination: the form is examined by the authorities and once this is complete, the business number that has been attributed by the BCE is also approved as a VAT identification number.
- Notice: the authorities communicate the VAT registration result to the taxable company or individual via a formal letter.
All companies that provide goods and services that are subject to the value-added tax are required to file Form 604A. Under the law, there are also exempt taxable persons as well as occasional taxable persons.
Form 604A is available at the approved business registration counters, with the competent Belgian service and online on the Service Public Federal Finances
It is important to note that this form needs to be filled in and submitted before the commencement of the economic activities and after the company has obtained its business registration number from the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
Failure to submit this form is subject to a penalty of 500 euros. Late filing is subject to a 100 euros fine and the incorrect filing of the form is subject to fines according to their type (80 euros for accidental ones and 300 euros for other irregularities). Failure to observe the steps for the filing procedure is also subject to a fine of 200 euros.
One of our agents who specialize in company formation in Belgium can provide more details on the procedure of filing form 604A with the competent authorities and can assist you in the process of VAT registration in Belgium.