Belgian VAT Rates

Value Added Tax in local language is "Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde" (BTW) – in Dutch – and "Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée" (TVA) – in French -. The Belgian VAT rates are:

  • Standard rate: 21%
  • Reduced rates: 12% and 6%

Belgium has opted for the reduced and super-reduced VAT rates on a number of items allowed by the VAT Directive (source: European Commission):

    • Foodstuff
      0%, 6% and 12%
    • Water supplies
    • Pharmaceutical products
      6% and 21%
    • Medical equipment for disabled persons
      6% and 21%
    • Children´s car seats
    • Passenger transport
      6% and 0%
    • Books
      6% and 21%
    • Books on other physical means of support
    • Newspapers
      0%, 6% and 21%
    • Periodicals
      0%, 6% and 21%
    • Admission to cultural services (theater, etc)
    • Admission to amusement parks
    • Pay TV / cable
    • TV licenses
    • Writers / composers
      6% and 21%
    • Hotel Accommodation
    • Restaurant and catering services
    • Restaurants
    • Admission to sporting events
    • Medical and dental care
    • Shoes and leather goods
    • Clothing and household linen
  • Hairdressing

Deduction limits in Belgium

As a general rule, input VAT can only be claimed where the expenses are directly linked to the business activity of the company. In addition, an invoice must be generated according to Belgian invoicing rules and all other VAT return formalities must be met.
There are a number of items where the tax authorities only allow VAT deduction up to a certain limit. The following list provides some examples of specific VAT deduction limits:

  • Conferences: 100%
  • Accommodation and hotel: 0% (unless incurred by an employee providing goods or services away from business premises)
  • Restaurants: 0%
  • Car hire: 50%
  • Car repair: 50%
  • Taxi: 100%
  • Bus: 100%
  • Entertainment expenses: 0%
  • Telephone: 100%
  • Diesel: 50%
  • Tolls in highways: Not applicable
  • Advertising: 100%
  • Books and equivalent materials: 100%
  • Business gifts: 0% (if below the 50€ threshold)

Belgian statute of limitations

Input VAT should be claimed in a VAT return filed no later than the end of the third year following the end of the year during which the deductible VAT was claimable.

Regarding the obligation to pay VAT, the Belgian authorities have three years after the end of the year in which VAT became due to request the payment of VAT and related penalties.

Belgian tax point rules

The tax point is the time when VAT becomes due. As a general rule, tax point arises in Belgium when the invoice is issued. If there is no invoice issued, the tax point arises the 15th day of the month following the month when the goods or services were supplied. Prepayments or advanced payments create a tax point. In these cases, VAT is due when the prepayment is made. There specific tax point rules for certain supplies of goods and services:

  • Intra-Community acquisitions: Tax point occurs when the invoice is issued. If not issued, the tax point occurs on the 15th day of the month following the month in which the goods arrived in Belgium
  • Intra-Community supplies: Tax point occurs when the invoice is issued. If not issued, the tax point occurs on the 15th day of the month following the month in which the goods left the country.
  • Import: Tax point occurs when the goods are imported according to the relevant import documents

VAT due should be distinguished from VAT payable. VAT is due when the tax point occurs. VAT is payable between the day after the end of the reporting period and the due date to submit and pay the VAT return.

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