by Dries Torreele and Hannelore Durieu
Vandelanotte International is contacted by numerous non-resident companies that operate in Belgium when they come into contact with Belgian VAT. It is noticeable that many companies come up with the same questions. This year, we will be happy to provide you with the answers to the five most frequently asked questions.
This week: stock in a Belgian warehouse.
Question: As a non-resident company engaged in the sale of goods, we have decided to hold stock in a warehouse in Belgium to make it easier to supply customers in Belgium and other EU countries. Should our company register in Belgium and submit periodic VAT returns?
Answer: non-resident companies wishing to sell their goods from a warehouse in Belgium must carry out a number of VATtable transactions in Belgium. Firstly, the goods must be transported to the warehouse. If the goods originateoutside the EU, then Belgian VAT is payable. If the goods originate from within the EU, this is classified as an intra-Community acquisition on which Belgian VAT is also payable. Likewise, when selling the goods (e.g. to Belgian customers where no use can be made of reverse charge), Belgian VAT is payable.
As a result of these operations, the non-resident company must register for VAT in Belgiumand must submit VAT returns. Non-resident taxpayers who carry out taxable transactions in Belgium can register in two ways. On the one hand, this can be by means ofdirect registration (only for EU companies), on the other hand this can be done via an agent (for EU and non-EU companies).
The tax agent is a Belgian intermediary who has complies with all VAT obligations for the non-resident taxpayer. The tax agent itself is liable vis-à-vis the VAT office for all VAT obligations.
In addition, the non-resident taxpayer may acquire a Belgian VAT number under the "direct registration"regime. In this case, the Belgian VAT office will correspond directly with the non-resident taxpayer. Of course, there is the option of appointing a VAT fiscal representative in Belgium who will comply with all VAT obligations. The Belgian mandatary - unlike the system of representation with liability - is itself not liable. This registration method is therefore less formalistic and for example, does not require the furnishing of a bank guarantee.
Vandelanotte has built up extensive expertise in supporting companies that use Belgium as a logistics hub for the distribution of their goods on the international market. In this context, we ourselves can act either as a tax agent with liability or as a mandatary when it comes to complying with all VAT obligations. For this, our services include support with registration and then the subsequent periodic obligations (VAT returns, intrastate, intra-Community listings, etc.).
If you would like to find out more about this topic or any other VAT issues, then please feel free to contact one of our VAT specialists via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.