The most common activities that require a Belgian VAT registration are:
Belgian private individuals purchase more and more goods through the internet. Domestic and foreign webshops are booming. A foreign company that sells goods to Belgian private individuals via the internet, so called distance selling, will have to register for Belgian VAT purposes as from the moment the threshold of € 35.000 has been exceeded.
Nevertheless, in the case of distance selling, a foreign company can opt to charge Belgian VAT on the first sale.
The importation of goods in Belgium is considered as a VAT-taxable transaction. If your company imports goods in Belgium in order to resell them on Belgian territory, a Belgian VAT registration is legally required.
Once registered for VAT purposes, the company can file a request with the Belgian VAT authorities for having an ET 14000 license. When the license is granted, the Belgian VAT will be shifted in the Belgian VAT return (no upfront payment / pre-financing of the Belgian VAT).
In general, if a foreign company has to register for Belgian VAT purposes, it can do so by means of two regimes:
Only companies from outside the European Union have to appoint a fiscal representative when they register for Belgian VAT. Companies established in the European Union may register directly for Belgian VAT purposes, but can still opt to appoint a Belgian fiscal representative.
The registration by means of a fiscal representative is advantageous in certain situations though is more complex (e.g. payment of a guarantee).
Besides the common standard registration forms, the Belgian VAT authorities also request some specific information such as a copy of the articles of incorporation, proof of VAT taxable activity, etc.
Once the request for having a Belgian VAT number is filed, it will take approximately 4 weeks before the Belgian VAT number is granted.
The standard VAT rate in Belgium is 21%. Besides the standard VAT rate, Belgium also applies the reduced VAT rate of 12% (e.g. catering services) and 6% (e.g. food products, vegetable products, pharmaceutical products, etc.).
As from 1 January 2015, all electronic services, telephone services and radio/television services are deemed to take place, from a VAT point of view, where the customer is established.
In principle, companies that deliver one of the above mentioned services to private individuals established in other European countries, have to register for VAT purposes in all these countries, which would lead to excessive administrative formalities and expenses.
In order to avoid this burden the European Union has introduced the so called MOSS-system (Mini-One-Stop-Shop).
The MOSS-system is an application for Belgian companies that deliver electronic services, telecommunication services or radio/television services to private individuals established in another European country. By using the MOSS-system, the Belgian company can wire the payable VAT by means of one single return.
Until present, the MOSS-system is only accepted for the above mentioned services. Nevertheless, it could be expected that in the future, the system will be made available for other services.