Belgian VAT groups
Where more than one taxable person established in Belgium are closely bound by financial, economic and organizational links, these companies can create a VAT group and be treated as a single taxable person for VAT purposes in Belgium.
As regards the VAT group criteria, financial links exist when more than 10% of the shares of a member is directly or indirectly held by the same person or business. Organizational links refer to the common management of different members. Economic links exist where the purpose and activity of the members has the same object and goal and benefits the group as a whole.
In addition, the following VAT grouping rules apply in Belgium:
- Permanent establishments and subsidiaries can also be part of a Belgian VAT group.
- VAT grouping is optional in Belgium. Companies can apply for a VAT group when meeting the requirements or they can choose to remain separated entities for VAT purposes.
- Once the application is approved, a group VAT number is granted to the group. In addition, each individual entity keeps its own VAT number.
- Holding companies are normally not allowed to be part of a VAT group. However, this rule must be read in conjunction with Case C-85/11.
- Every member of the group is jointly and severally liable for the VAT debts of the entire group.
- Members of a VAT group submit one single consolidated VAT return. It is not possible to file separate VAT returns for each entity. On the contrary, separate ECSL returns are filed for each member using its own VAT number.
There is more information available (in French and Dutch) in the notice published by the Belgian tax authorities about VAT grouping in Belgium.