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Taxes and VAT for the self-employed

VAT scheme: when must you submit a VAT return?

Self-employed persons are liable to VAT. This means you need to submit VAT returns.  Various options exist for this, depending on your annual turnover.

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VAT scheme: when must you submit a VAT return?
What can you find here?
  • What VAT schemes are there?
  • When do you have to submit a VAT return?
  • Which companies are exempt from filing a VAT return?

VAT liability

Self-employed persons are liable to VAT. This means you need to submit VAT returns.  Various options exist for this, depending on your annual turnover. For instance, if your annual turnover is less than €2,500,000 (excl. VAT), you need to make quarterly returns, but you can also choose monthly returns. If your annual turnover is greater than €2,500,000 (excl. VAT). You need to submit monthly returns.

Provided you comply with the following conditions you may qualify for a flat rate return:

  • You are a natural person.
  • At least 75% of your turnover consists of activities for which no invoice is required.
  • Your annual turnover is not higher than €750,000 (excl. VAT).
  • Your activities are in one of the following sectors. 
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Exemption from VAT

Small businesses (max. €25,000 annual turnover) are exempted from VAT. They can opt for a VAT exemption. That means they don't have to charge VAT to their customers. This applies chiefly to part-time self-employed persons.

What exactly does an exemption mean?

  • Your business generates a turnover without having to collect any VAT.
  • A business is not allowed to deduct VAT on purchases.
  • You don't have to submit periodic returns.

Do you want to use the exemption rule? Then take into account these obligations:

  • Your invoices must specify the following: “Bijzondere vrijstellingsregeling kleine ondernemingen”. (Special exemption rule small companies)
  • Before 31 March of every year you need to submit a customer listing.


Attention: certain activities are excluded from the exemption rule, such as traders in tobacco products, fish markets, contractors of construction work, sellers of new buildings, etc.

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