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Taxpayers established in the European Union - Belgian VAT refund

Applying for the Belgian VAT refund as taxpayer established outside the European Union (outside Belgium)

  • Can I apply for Belgian VAT refund?

    Yes, provided that:

    • your company is not identified in Belgium. If your company buys goods in Belgium in order to resale them, it must, in certain cases, identify itself in Belgium to the FPS Finance (send an e-mail to foreigners.team1@minfin.fed.be). In this case, you must apply for a VAT refund in Belgium, via your VAT return in Belgium.
    • the expenses incurred in Belgium were incurred solely for business purposes. VAT on private expenses is not refunded.

    VAT Units

    Only members of a VAT unit can apply for a refund of VAT paid in Belgium.

    As from January 1st 2022 (date of submission) applications submitted by the VAT unit itself will be automatically rejected and will have to be re-submitted by the member of the VAT unit to whom the invoices concerned by the refund were issued.

    Indeed, Article 23 of Royal Decree no. 56 of 09.12.2009 expressly excludes, for VAT units, any refund of VAT paid in Belgium within the framework of the Council Directive 2008/9/EC of 12 February 2008.

  • How to apply for Belgian VAT refund?

    You must apply for the refund in the Member State in which your company is established, via the application for that Member State.

    You will find more information in this regard on the European Commission’s website.

  • Which documents to enclose with my application?

    1. Copies of the invoices.
      These invoices must be detailed (e.g. no summary invoice per month). Otherwise, they will be rejected (art. 8 of Royal Decree No. 56).
    2. In the case of imports, please attach a copy of the invoice and the relevant import document.
    3. Copies of credit notes received.
    4. A copy of the contract if the invoice refers to a contract. 
       

    How to speed up the processing of my application? 

    If we do not receive all the information we need to process your application, we may ask you for additional information. This will delay the procedure and therefore your refund (2 to 4 months of delay). 

    Be as precise as possible: describe your company’s activity as well as the reason for purchasing the goods and/or services in Belgium. Also indicate whether these goods have been resold. 

    We ask you therefore to enclose the following documents with your application:

    Type of expense Document to be provided
    Truck expenses (transport companies)

    In your first refund application and when changing vehicles:

    • The number of trucks you own (e.g. by enclosing a copy of your balance sheet, in which the trucks are listed)
    • copies of the registration certificates of the trucks
    Van expenses 
    • Copy of the registration certificate
    • Or, for more than 10 vehicles: a list of the company's vehicles (make, model, type [N1, N2 etc.], registration plate number)
    Car expenses
    • Copy of the registration certificate
    Restaurant and hotel expenses
    • Proof that the expense was incurred in connection with the supply of goods or services, i.e. the sales invoice or contract
    • The identity of the person who made the expenses and their function within the company
    Training in Belgium followed by a member of your staff 
    • The document proving that this person is employed in the company
    Purchase of goods in Belgium and resale of these goods
    • A copy of the invoice for the sale of these goods
    Expenses related to the construction of a building in Belgium for a client
    • A copy of the outgoing invoice for the work carried out in Belgium

  • When to apply for Belgian VAT refund?

    You can apply for a refund of VAT for a calendar year no later than 30 September of the following year.

    There is no extension possible, so we advise you not to wait till the end of this period to submit your application.

    For example: for invoices from 2021, you can apply for a refund till September 30th 2022.

  • How many applications can I submit per year? Which is the minimum amount?

    At most 5 applications.

    You can submit a maximum of 5 applications related to expenses in one calendar year.

    The period covered by this application can be:

    • Either several months: minimum 3 months and maximum 11 months
    • Or a calendar year

    Applications covering several months

    Refund periods may not overlap. For example, you cannot submit one application covering the period from 1st January to 31 March and another for the period from 1 March to 31 May.

    The application for VAT refund can cover a period of less than three months where that period is the balance of a calendar year (i.e. November and December or December). For example, if you have already made two applications for a period of 5 months each, you can make an application for two months.

    Application covering a calendar year

    You can submit an application covering the whole refund year after the end of the year. This application can only include VAT amounts that are not included in previously submitted refund applications.

    Minimum amount(s) per application:

    If your application is for a period between 3 and 11 months: the minimum amount is EUR 400.

    If your application is for a period of one calendar year or the balance of one calendar year: the minimum amount is EUR 50.

    If the refundable balance is less than EUR 50 after processing the application, there will be no refund.

  • Which deadline for the refund?

    We will send you a decision no later than 4 months as from the date we receive your application. This period may be extended to 6 or 8 months if additional information is requested.

    We will inform you of the decision by e-mail.

    Once a decision has been taken (and if positive), the amount will be reimbursed within 10 working days.

    Do you have a question about your refund? Please contact us, quoting the reference number you received by e-mail after submitting your refund request.

  • In which cases is the refund limited or refused?

    Due to regulatory limitations

    • VAT on car expenses is limited to 35% (fuel etc.).
    • VAT on van expenses is limited to 85% (fuel etc.).
    • VAT on restaurant and hotel expenses is not refundable (Art. 45 §3, 3° of the VAT Code).
      Unless the restaurant and hotel costs have been incurred by the staff members in the context of a supply of goods or services (art 45 §3, 3°, a of the VAT Code). In this case, you are required to enclose proof of this supply of goods or services (outgoing invoice or contract) and the identity of the person who made the expenses, as well as their function within the company.
    • If Belgian VAT is not due, we will not refund it. In this case, you must apply for the refund from your supplier (credit note and new invoice).
    • A cash receipt is not sufficient to obtain a refund.

    If your company has a limited right of deduction

    If your company has a limited right of deduction in the country where it is established, this limitation also applies to the refund of Belgian VAT.

    This is the case, for example, for financial institutions, insurance companies and the real estate sector.

    If your company is concerned, mention the deductible proportion in your refund application.