New policy on Belgian VAT Penalties
Belgian VAT penalties have been relaxed. A notice was published with new guidelines on the Belgian VAT penalty regime.
The biggest change is the full cancellation of certain penalties when all conditions are met.
Going forward, errors such as late filing of ECSL returns, Annual Sales Listings or mistakes when completing your VAT return will not be subject to any penalty provided the following conditions are met:
An explanatory letter is sent to the competent tax officer requesting a waiver of the penalties.
It is the first error of the same kind in 4 consecutive years.
The error was made in good faith.
When submitting the request, all other VAT compliance obligations in Belgium were met.
Where all these conditions are met, the penalty will always be cancelled. The problem is that several errors do not fall within the scope of this possible cancellation. For example, missing a VAT return, even if nil, will still carry a sanction (although a lower penalty is foreseen in the new policy).
The new penalty regime applies retroactively on all penalties imposed as from 1 January 2018.
The notice from the Belgian tax authorities can be found via this link in French and via this link in Dutch.