Belgian VAT Returns
Frequency of Belgian VAT returns
As a general rule, VAT returns must be filed monthly in Belgium. Quarterly VAT returns may be allowed when certain conditions are met.
Quarterly VAT returns are allowed when:
- The total amount of intra-Community supplies of goods does not exceed €50,000 in the current or any of the previous four quarters; and
- The annual turnover in Belgium does not exceed €2,500,000. This threshold is reduced to €250,000 for companies trading with energy products, land vehicles, mobile phones, computers and their accessories and IT components
There is no application or additional formality to be met to change the frequency of filing. Taxpayers can directly change their VAT return frequency.
When the quarterly VAT return conditions are met, yearly pre-payments of VAT are due. Also, businesses submitting monthly VAT returns must make a pre-payment once a year. See under Due dates of Belgian VAT returns more information about these prepayments.
Frequency of filing
MonthlyStandard reporting period
The following conditions are met:
- Total amount of IC-supplies of goods below €50,000 in the current or any of the previous four quarters; and
- Annual turnover below €2,500,000. This threshold is reduced to €250,000 for companies trading with energy products, land vehicles, mobile phones, computers and their accessories and IT components
More information is available (in French or Dutch) in the website of the Belgian Ministry of Finance.
VAT returns due dates in Belgium
As a general rule, Belgian VAT returns must be submitted and paid by the 20th day of the month following the reporting period. Exceptionally, the second quarter VAT return can be submitted (not paid) by August 10th. Similarly, the June VAT return can be submitted by August 10 and the July VAT return can be submitted by September 10. The exact summer due dates are communicated every year by the tax authorities (see link below). There is no holiday extension for the payment of VAT. The due dates for payments remain the 20th day of the following month.
As a general rule, if the due dates fall on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, the due date is shifted to the next working day.
The Belgian tax authorities publish a calendar with all applicable VAT return due dates.
In addition to the VAT return and VAT payment due dates, companies filing quarterly VAT returns and monthly VAT returns must make a prepayment, required once a year. Below we provide details of pre-payment obligations:
Belgian pre-payments of VAT for companies filing monthly and quarterly VAT returns
Businesses having to submit their VAT returns on a monthly or quarterly basis must make a prepayment once a year. This pre-payment must be made by 24 December and it is calculated as follows (two options):
- Payment of the same amount paid in the month of November of that year (immediately previous return)
- Payment of the VAT amount due (VAT payable minus VAT deductible) on the period 1 December to 20 December of that year
Monthly prepayments for businesses filing quarterly returns are no longer required. These prepayments were abolished in April 2017.
Belgian VAT payments
VAT payments in Belgium can be done from a foreign bank account. It is not mandatory to make payments from a local or SEPA bank account.
VAT payments must be done by the 20th day of month following the reporting period. There is no holiday extension for payments as there is for VAT return submission. In addition, prepayments of VAT are due by December when submitting returns monthly or quarterly.
Non-established companies can make their VAT payments into the following bank account:
Beneficiary: BTW-ontvangsten, Brussel
Bank: Postcheque, WTC II, 1100 Brussel
Bank account: 679-2003000-47
IBAN code: BE 22 679 200 3000 47 – Confirm with your Marosa client manager
Swift code: PCHQ BE BB
Reference: The reference to be included in every VAT payment is made up of the VAT number of the company and an individual reference received when registering for VAT in Belgium.
You can also find this number by entering your VAT number in the following website.
Belgian VAT refunds
When a VAT return is in a repayable position, a VAT refund can be requested in the quarterly VAT return. It is not possible to get monthly VAT refunds unless you are registered in the frequent exporter regime. The tax authorities will reimburse the repayable amount by the end of the third month following the reporting period. If not repaid, interest will be added to the total amount due by the tax authorities.
There are minimum amounts and specific time limits for VAT repayments.
If you are submitting VAT returns quarterly:
- You can request a refund in the first, second or third quarter when the receivable amount exceeds €615. The refund is repaid by 30th June, 30th September (delays may apply when using the holiday extension) or 31st December
- You can request a refund in the fourth quarter VAT return when the receivable amount exceeds €245
If you are submitting VAT returns monthly:
- You can request a refund in your March, June or September VAT return when the receivable amount exceeds €1,485
- You can request a refund in your December VAT return when the receivable amount exceeds €245
VAT refunds are only repaid to bank accounts in SEPA countries (EU Member States, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). The bank details used by the authorities would have been communicated when registering for VAT purposes in Belgium (form 604A). These bank details can also be updated using the form 604B.
When the VAT refund is material or when there is a deviation from the usual amounts reported by the registered company, the Belgian tax authorities may start a tax audit. These audits will normally request an explanation of the overall business, copies of (some) invoices and input and output VAT ledgers. More information about Belgian VAT refunds is available in the website of the Belgian tax authorities.
Belgian nil and corrective VAT returns
A nil VAT return needs to be submitted even if there are no transactions to be reported for that period.
Corrective VAT returns must be submitted whenever the change introduced exceeds the €25,000 threshold. Where this limit is not exceeded, corrections can be made directly into the following VAT return.
Corrective VAT returns replace the previously submitted declarations.
VAT penalties in Belgium
The following penalties apply in Belgium in relation to VAT obligations:
Late filingA fixed penalty of circa 250€ per return filed late
Fixed interest of 0.8% of the VAT due per month. The first and last month is always treated as a complete period.
In case of an audit, penalties of up to 20% can be imposed
Late registrationMinimum penalty of €25 and maximum of €500, depending on the total VAT due during the un-registered period
If an intra-Community acquisition or any other purchase under the reverse charge mechanism is missed, the Belgian tax does not foresee a penalty because the VAT position remains nil (provided the taxpayer has full right to deduct).
Additional penalties may be charged by the authorities, particularly where the corrections are triggered by an investigation or VAT audit.
For penalties on ECSL, Intrastat and other returns, please see the relevant section.
Belgium has a dedicated tax office for non-established companies.
Belgian distance sales. VAT on e-commerce
You can find more information about the EU wide VAT regime on distance sales in our article about this topic in our website.
These are some of the rules applicable in Belgium regarding this regime:
- The distance sales threshold is 35,000 €. Where the total amounts of sales to Belgian customers in any 12-month period exceeds this threshold, a registration is required
- Foreign companies may opt to register in Belgium before the threshold is exceeded. Belgian companies may opt to register abroad if the threshold not exceeded, this option is mandatory for 2 years once the application is sent
- When a foreign e-commerce business registers in Belgium, a compliant VAT invoice must be issued for each Belgian client.
- Intrastat returns are due when the Intrastat threshold is exceeded.
- VAT returns must report the sales as domestic sales only. Distance sales are not reported as intra-Community acquisitions followed by local sales
- If goods are returned by the client, an intra-Community supply is not reported in Belgium
An ECSL return is never due on distance sales.
Annual Sales Listing in Belgium
Belgium requires all taxpayers to submit an annual return with details about all domestic sales made in Belgium during the previous year. This return includes detailed information about each sale made to VAT registered customers in Belgium. In principle, only taxable sales are included in the return (no need to report exempt supplies).
The content of Annual Sales Listing in Belgium includes the taxpayer details, the customer name and VAT number, the total net amount of sales to that customer and the total VAT amount on sales to that customer. The same level of information must be provided for each different VAT number.
Where the net amount does not exceed €250, there is no need to report the sale in the Annual Sales Listings.
General information about the Belgian ASL is available in the website of the tax authorities.
Belgian tax authorities contact
Belgium has a dedicated tax office for non-established companies.
Bureau Central TVA
Tour des Finances
Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, 50 – boïte 3627 (Etage 18/R)
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Separate email addresses and PO boxes apply for VAT refunds and VAT audits. More information is available in the website of the authorities.
Companies with local presence should address their queries to their local tax office (allocated depending on the place of establishment).
More information about the applicable tax office is available in the website of the Belgian tax authorities.