A Complete VAT Guide for Freelancers in Belgium

Belgium’s VAT policy is based on the "destination principle" of the European Union VAT system. This means that VAT is payable to the country's government where the product or services are consumed, regardless of where you're supplying them from. So, if you have clients in Belgium, you have to comply with Belgian VAT rules. The standard VAT rate in Belgium is currently set at 21%. VAT is also known in Belgium as Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA) or Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde (BTW).

As a sole proprietor providing various services to clients across multiple countries, keeping up with each country’s VAT rules and rates can get overwhelming. This post will help you navigate the various VAT guidelines that you need to follow when providing your freelance services in Belgium. 

VAT rates in Belgium for freelancers

There are four different VAT rates in Belgium, and freelancers must charge the amount that applies to their products and services.

VAT Type

VAT Rate

Goods or services that the VAT rate applies

Standard

21%

Applicable to all goods and services that do not fall under the reduced, zero or exempt category.

Reduced

12%

Applicable to certain types of food, agricultural products, social housing, catering industry and several minerals used as energy products

Reduced

6%

Applicable to certain types of food, water, immovable property, pharmaceuticals, some printed material, local transport, contract farming, hotels and camping, sports facilities, medical equipment, social housing 

Zero

0%

Applicable to daily and weekly newspapers, certain recycled materials and by-products, intra-community and international transport

 

Although there are no charges on zero-rated products and services, you should record sales of goods and services and create a report based on your returns.

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When to register for VAT as a freelancer?

If you are a freelancer whose annual sales revenue is less than €15,000, you can opt for the petite enterprise/kleine onderneming status, which exempts you from registering for VAT. Naturally, this status also exempts you from claiming VAT back. The standard VAT threshold is  €25,000, so if your annual sales revenue reaches or exceeds this amount, you must register for VAT immediately to avoid penalties. There is no VAT threshold for expat non-EU freelancers in Belgium. However, if you are an EU-based expat freelancer who uses the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS), the global EU VAT threshold of €10,000 is applicable. 

One of the benefits of registering for VAT early is that you can claim input VAT on your expenses. However, these figures are subject to change, so you should frequently check for the current VAT thresholds.

How to register for VAT in Belgium as a freelancer or solopreneur

You can register for VAT by going directly to one of the offices of the VAT administration and submitting a VAT identification request form (604A). This form is used to apply for a Belgian VAT number and requires the following documents:

  • VAT certificate to prove you are registered for VAT elsewhere in the EU or a certificate to confirm taxable status.
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • An extract from the company’s national trade register.
  • Statement of commencement of trading
  • Copy of order forms or contracts showing that you will be doing business in Belgium.

 

You'll expect that VAT registration usually takes three to four weeks. Alternatively, can also register using the Mini One-Stop-Shop, an EU-wide tax system that allows you to consolidate all of your EU VAT in one single tax return. This scheme is optional but convenient and beneficial if you have customers in multiple countries within the EU, including Belgium. MOSS allows you to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. 

VAT duties for freelancers In Belgium

You should begin charging your customers VAT immediately after obtaining your Belgian VAT number by simply adding VAT to the total sales amount.

You must also comply with the following local rules as a VAT registered freelancer in Belgium:

  • Issuing invoices with the disclosure details outlined in the Belgian VAT Code.
  • Electronic invoices with proper signature, authenticity, and agreement by the recipient.
  • Maintenance of accounts and records, which must be held for at least seven years.
  • Correct invoicing of customers for goods or services per the Belgian time of supply VAT rules.
  • Processing of credit notes and other corrections.
  • Use of approved foreign currency rates.

 

When invoicing as a freelancer in Belgium, your invoice should include these information:

  • Date of issue of the invoice
  • Sequential invoice number
  • Date of supply, completion of services, and prepayment (if any)
  • Description/nature of the goods or services
  • Full name and address of supplier as well as the customer
  • VAT identification number of the supplier
  • Per VAT rate price per unit (excluding VAT) (expressed in any currency)
  • Per VAT rate any discounts or rebates, if not included in the unit price (expressed in any currency)
  • Per VAT rate taxable amount or exemption (expressed in any currency)
  • VAT rate(s) applied and total VAT amount (expressed in local currency)
  • Total amount payable (excluding VAT)

 

VAT invoices in Belgium must be issued within six months of the product or service being delivered. After that, you must store these invoices for seven years in an electronic format.

Furthermore, if you are registered with VAT MOSS, you must maintain your VAT records for six to ten years, either in electronic format, on paper, or in a software program. Your records must be precise, readable, complete, and easy to comprehend. 

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Freelance VAT