Belgium: new and simplified rules for VAT “self-billing”

By Filip Camps, Acco

As from January 1, 2013, a new Belgian law entered into force[1] that changed the Belgian VAT-code. In particular, it regulates the new measures regarding the invoicing rules and changing the applicable rules in relation to self-billing. The VAT authorities consequently issued an official announcement in 2013 on the subject to the simplified self-billing rules in which the amended measures were explained.[2]

The self-billing rules are an exemption to the basic principle that suppliers of goods or services issue the invoice to costumers. Provided the conditions are met, costumers are authorized to draw up and issue a self-bill.

Article 53 §2, al 2 of the Belgian VAT Code allows self-billing by the “contracting partner”, provided there is an agreement in advance between both parties and each self-billing document is accepted by the supplier.[3] These conditions have to be met in order for the self-billing document to be categorized as an invoice in accordance with VAT regulations, thereby allowing the customer to deduct the VAT.

In this respect, the VAT authorities explained in its official announcement that the acceptance by the supplier of the self-bill can be implicit as well as explicit, and that a credit note can be issued through self-billing or by the suppliers and customers.

[1] Law of December 17, 2012 changing the Belgian VAT Code, BS December 21, 2012
[2] Circulaire AFZ nr. 02/2013 of January 23,2013 (AFZ/ 2011-0272) First announcement regarding the change in law in December 2012, which affects the Belgian VAT Code.
[3] Same conditions are applicable for elf-billing between parties with a VAT consolidation.

Filip Camps, Tax Partner
Acco, Prins Boudewijnlaan 177-179, 2610 Wilrijk, België
T:  +32 (0)3 448 00 55
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Filip Camps is a Master in Economics Post Graduate specialization in taxes. He has won a number of prices in taxation, including the CED.Samsom price,  is an author on tax related topics and former professor in tax at the KHL in Leuven. 

Running a correct administration is not always enough to keep your business competitive. For this reason, Acco Accountants does not limit itself to conducting and optimising accounting activities. It is positioned als an independent advisor and consultant for both small and medium sized enterprises as well as larger entities. This makes it possible to continuously improve a business from fiscal, legal and accounting standpoints. A dedicated team of employees enable the firm to combine professional capabilities with an enhanced accessibility and availability

published: May 2014

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