Refund

VAT Refund

  • Can I obtain a VAT refund?

    If you have a business and your professional activity is not exempt from VAT (in accordance with Article 44 of the Belgian VAT Code), you will usually be able to deduct the VAT you pay on your own business purchases from the VAT your customers have paid to you. You only pay over the difference and declare this in a periodical return to the tax authorities.

    Sometimes your company may have paid more VAT than it received from customers. In that case the tax authorities have to refund the difference to you.

    A business that carries out transactions eligible for a deduction of VAT may be able to obtain a VAT refund if it has VAT credit. 

  • For what categories of expenses is a VAT refund not possible or is only a partial VAT refund possible?

    Categories of expenses for which a VAT refund is not possible

    For certain categories of expenses there is no right of deduction, which means a VAT refund is also not possible. In Belgium these include:

    • supplies and intra-Community acquisition of tobacco products
    • supplies and intra-Community acquisition of alcoholic drinks. Drinks intended to be sold or resold or supplied as part of a service are excluded from this.
    • costs of accommodation and of meals and drinks for on-site consumption. Costs incurred for staff who have to supply goods or provide a service outside the company are excluded from this, as are costs incurred by taxable persons who in turn provide the same services in return for payment.
    • reception costs
    • goods and services supplied by other taxable persons to travel agents in respect of all services that form part of or are associated with a trip and directly benefit the travellers (margin scheme for travel agents)
    • the purchase and sale of second-hand vehicles and other goods by taxable persons under the margin scheme for second-hand goods

    Categories of expenses for which only a partial VAT refund is possible

    For a number of categories of expenses there is only a limited right of deduction. This means that you can only obtain a partial VAT refund. Such expenses include:

    • Vehicle costs (passenger cars): deduction based on business use, up to a maximum of 50%.
    • Equipment that is not used solely for business purposes (telephone, ICT equipment, etc.): deduction based on business use.

    You can read more about this in Chapter 11 of the comments on VAT.

  • When will I receive my VAT refund?

    General rules

    If you submit your VAT returns monthly or quarterly, your VAT refund amount will be refunded to you four times a year, provided that all of the following conditions are met:

    • you have explicitly requested a refund of your input VAT by ticking the appropriate box in your VAT return;
    • the balance of your input VAT has reached the required minimum threshold;
    • you submitted your VAT return on time;
    • you have provided FPS Finance with your bank account number.

    If these conditions are not met, your VAT refund amount will not be refunded. It is then automatically carried over to the next VAT return period.

    The deadline for receiving a VAT refund depends on the accounting period to which your VAT return relates.

    Special scheme requiring approval

    In some cases, taxpayers who submit their VAT returns monthly will be refunded their VAT refund amount on a monthly basis. They need to be approved for this scheme.

    To be approved for this scheme, you must have met the following basic conditions in the previous calendar year:

    • your exempt turnover is at least 30% of total turnover and
    • you have at least EUR 12 000 of tax surplus in your favour.

    You can apply to be approved for this scheme by writing to your team manager.

    After you have been approved for this scheme, you can recover your VAT refund amount monthly, provided you have submitted your monthly tax return on time and electronically via Intervat.

    Accelerated refund for start-ups

    Start-ups that opt for monthly returns can receive an accelerated refund of their VAT refund amount.

    If you opt for monthly returns when registering your VAT number, you will be automatically enrolled on this scheme. It remains valid for the 24 months following the start of your economic activity.

    You can then obtain a monthly refund of your VAT refund amount, provided you have submitted your monthly tax return on time and electronically via Intervat.

    Deadlines for VAT refunds

    Taxpayers who submit quarterly returns

    VAT accounting period Required minimum threshold for input VAT VAT refund deadline
    First quarter EUR 615 30 June of the current calendar year
    Second quarter EUR 615 30 September of the current calendar year
    Third quarter EUR 615 31 December of the current calendar year
    Fourth quarter EUR 245 31 March of the following calendar year


















    Taxpayers who submit monthly returns but who have not been approved for the scheme

    VAT accounting period Required minimum threshold for input VAT

    VAT refund deadline

    March EUR 1.485 30 June of the current calendar year
    June EUR 1.485 30 September of the current calendar year
    September EUR 1.485 31 December of the current calendar year
    December EUR 245 31 March of the following calendar year
















    Taxpayers who submit monthly returns and are approved for the scheme + start-ups with accelerated refund

    VAT accounting period Required minimum threshold for input VAT VAT refund deadline
    January EUR 245

    31 March of the current calendar year

    February EUR 245 30 April of the current calendar year
    March EUR 245 31 May of the current calendar year
    April EUR 245 30 June of the current calendar year
    May EUR 245

    31 July of the current calendar year

    June EUR 245 31 August of the current calendar year
    July EUR 245 30 September of the current calendar year
    August EUR 245 31 October of the current calendar year
    September EUR 245 30 November of the current calendar year
    October EUR 245 31 December of the current calendar year
    November EUR 245 31 January of the following calendar year
    December EUR 245 28/29 February of the following calendar year






































     


     

  • What is the time limit to request a refund ?

    The tax administration keeps a VAT current account for every taxpayer that submits periodical returns.

    In cases where the taxpayer’s VAT current account shows a surplus in his/her favour (tax credit), upon the expiry of a period to which the regular return relates, this tax credit will generally be carried over to the next return period.

    Although this is the general rule, taxpayers can explicitly request a refund of the credit. In order to avoid any potential dispute as regards the period of limitation of the right to reimbursement, such requests must be sent to the accounts department before 31 December of the third year following the date on which the return showing the credit was submitted.

  • Are copies of invoices required ?

    When checking refunds, the auditor is always entitled to request that the original invoices be submitted. In addition, any document applying amendments to the original invoice and making specific and unambiguous reference to that invoice is also considered to be an invoice.

  • Can applications errors be corrected and if so how ?

    A refund of tax credit can only be made at the explicit request of the taxpayer (by inserting an ‘X’ in the ‘Request a refund’ box in the periodical or special return).

    It is possible to correct any errors or omissions by submitting a new return on time with an ‘X’ inserted in the relevant box.

    In cases where the error or omission cannot be corrected in time, you should ensure that an ‘X’ has been inserted in the ‘Request a refund’ box in the subsequent return.

  • Can I have someone else ask for a VAT refund or make a payment for me?

    Yes, you can use a third party to claim a VAT refund or make a VAT payment. However, you must have mandated the third party to do so or he must have a power of attorney to act on your behalf.

    How to grant a mandate?

    Mandates are granted via the ‘Mandates’ application. The application can be used by Belgians with an electronic identity card (e-ID) and by citizens of Member States of the European Union with eIDAS (Electronic Identities and Trust Services).

    ‘Mandates’ gives you access to the various services of the FPS Finance and those of other Belgian public services.

    Once in possession of this mandate, the third party will be able to log in to the Belgian tax application ‘Intervat’. This application enables European companies (identified via a Belgian identification number) to submit their VAT return and other VAT-related documents.

  • What are the minimum thresholds for VAT refunds?

    The minimum threshold for VAT refunds differ depending on whether you are in a standard or a special VAT scheme, and on whether you file quarterly or monthly VAT returns.

    I file quarterly VAT returns

    After filing your VAT return for the first, second or third quarter of a calendar year, you are eligible for a refund if your VAT credit is at least EUR 615. The threshold is different for the fourth quarter of the calendar year: after filing your VAT return, you are eligible for a refund if your VAT credit is at least EUR 245.

    I am in a standard scheme and file monthly VAT returns

    After filing your VAT return for March, June or September, you are eligible for a refund if your VAT credit is at least EUR 1 485. The threshold is different for returns filed in December: you are eligible for a refund if your VAT credit is at least EUR 245.

    I am in a standard scheme and file monthly VAT returns

    If you file monthly returns and are authorised to use a special VAT scheme (this applies to businesses whose output transactions are largely exempt, and those in the real estate sector which have – under certain conditions – been granted a monthly refund authorisation), or you are a start-up (a taxable person starting a business activity), you are eligible for a refund if your VAT credit is at least EUR 245.

    More information.

  • How long does it take for SPF Finances to process a VAT refund?

    The date of the VAT refund differs depending on whether you are in a standard or a special VAT scheme and on whether you file quarterly or monthly VAT returns.

    What is my VAT scheme?

    I file my VAT returns on a quarterly or monthly basis and am in a standard scheme

    SPF Finances must process the refund no later than 3 months after the period covered by the quarterly return or the return filed for the final month of a quarter.

    I file monthly VAT returns and am in a special scheme (with special authorisation or start-up status)

    SPF Finances must process the refund no later than 2 months after the period covered by the monthly return.

    The refund will actually be paid on the last working day of the month, except in December, when payment will be made on the penultimate working day.

    How can I check whether I have been refunded?

    You can check the current status of your VAT account on the MyMinfin platform at any time. That platform is accessible to all EU nationals. If you are unable to access the platform using your Belgian identity card, you can request an access token. See the procedure for requesting a token.

    Is SPF Finances liable to pay late payment interest if it does not repay my VAT within the deadline?

    Yes If SPF Finances does not process a VAT refund within the legally prescribed time limits (set out above), interest is payable at a rate of 0.8% per month. For these purposes, a fraction of a month is considered a whole month.

    N.B. If you do not meet certain conditions, SPF Finances will not refund your VAT credit. It will be carried over automatically to the next VAT return period and you will not be eligible to receive late payment interest. The conditions are as follows:

    • You must explicitly apply for a refund of your credit balance;
    • Your credit balance must not be less than the minimum amount required;
    • You must file your VAT return by the deadline;
    • You must provide SPF Finances with your account number.

    Browse the FAQs on the SPF Finances website for more information on VAT refunds.

  • How will SPF Finances keep me informed of my VAT position?

    How can I check the current status of my VAT account?

    SPF Finances will send you your VAT account statement by post four times a year. This statement contains a detailed overview of your account and indicates whether you have a balance to pay, a balance to be carried forward or a balance to be reimbursed.

    You can also access your account any time on the MyMinfin platform. Log in as a business and click on the ‘My tax’ tab to view your transactions and the last closing balance of your account.

    How will I know if I need to take any action to address my VAT position?

    If you are due a balance refund from SPF Finances, but you have debts with SPF Finances or a third party (which asks SPF Finances to intervene), the amount will not be refunded (in full), but will be used to pay your debts. Clearly, in this case, SPF Finances will contact you personally by post to explain the situation.

    If you have a balance to pay or a balance to carry forward, you will be notified by means of the account statement which SPF Finances sends out to you four times a year.

    Browse the FAQs on the SPF Finances website for more general information on VAT refunds.

    Where can I find the necessary information on how to complete VAT-related processes (e.g. payments, refunds, exceptional cases etc.)?

    The FAQ section of the SPF Finances website will help by answering any questions you may have about:

  • What can I do if I disagree with a VAT decision?

    Depending on your situation, you can either bring an action before the Court of First Instance, or lodge an appeal with the Tax Conciliation Service (Service de conciliation fiscale) in the event of a dispute with SPF Finances.

    Bringing an action before the Court of First Instance

    When SPF Finances takes a decision, the Judicial Code provides that all European taxable persons are automatically entitled to bring proceedings before the Court of First Instance.

    You can bring an action by lodging your application with the registry of the court.

    The time limit for bringing such an action is 10 years from the date of the decision.

    Disputes – Tax Conciliation Service

    In the event of an ongoing dispute with SPF Finances, you can lodge an appeal with the Tax Conciliation Service (Service de conciliation fiscale). It is an autonomous service which deals with requests for conciliation objectively, independently and impartially. Its purpose is to reconcile your point of view with that of SPF Finances. The proposed solution will always be in accordance with the law.

    Contact:

    Service de conciliation fiscale

    Avenue Roi Albert II33 boite 46

    1030 Brussels

    Email: conciliateurs.fiscaux@minfin.fed.be