VAT return: when do you file it?
To start with, you need a VAT number. You can easily arrange for one via Securex.
In the VAT return, you declare the VAT you have received from your customers. You should also enter the amount of VAT paid to suppliers for services or goods directly related to your business activity. You may deduct the VAT paid from the VAT received. You pay the remaining amount to the VAT administration.
It is very important that you accurately fill in the VAT return. That is why it's useful to call on the services of a bookkeeper or accountant to complete the VAT return. Incorrect and/or late returns can lead to hefty fines. And you want to avoid that at all costs.
Filing periodic VAT returns
Depending on the nature and turnover of your business, you submit your VAT return monthly or quarterly.
- Quarterly returns are the norm for most start-ups and entrepreneurs, as their annual turnover does not exceed €2,500,000 (excluding VAT). You may choose to do so on a monthly basis.
- Monthly returns are mandatory as from an annual turnover of more than €2,500,000 (excluding VAT).
Submitting an annual customer list
The VAT administration requires you to submit an annual list of taxable customers. The customer list is a list of the Belgian VAT numbers of your customers to whom your company has delivered goods or provided services in the previous calendar year for a total amount of more than €250 (excluding VAT).
You must submit the customer list by 31 March each year.
It can be filed electronically or on paper, but most self-employed persons have their accountant do it for them. So be sure to look for an accountant whom you can count on.
Note: Since 1 July 2016, there is no longer any need to submit an annual customer list if your business is entitled to the VAT exemption.