Belgium confirms necessity customer VAT registration number for Intra Community supplies

Under the conditions stated in article 39bis, first part, 1°, of the VAT Code, a VAT exemption is applicable to the intra-Community supply of goods. One of the conditions is that proof should be available which indicates that the goods supplied from Belgium are transported to another EU Member State.

Furthermore, Belgian law explicitly states that the VAT exemption is dependent on proof that the supply is performed towards a taxable person or for a non-taxable legal person identified for VAT purposes in another EU Member State. In order to be able to exempt the intra-Community supply, the supplier must therefore always know the VAT identification number allocated to the customer by an EU Member State other than Belgium under which the contract partner is performing the intra-Community acquisition

In determining the legal application of the VAT exemption on the intra-Community supply of goods, the tax authority will therefore generally always assume that the supplier has to provide the VAT identification number of the contract partner in another EU Member State than Belgium. The Belgian tax authority have confirmed that they will exceptionally not reject the VAT exemption in case there is no customer VAT registration number under the following strict conditions (all to be met):

1° The supplier must have acted in good faith

  • The supplier has taken every reasonable action to ensure that it is not involved in fraud by failing to report a VAT identification number allocated to the customer in another EU Member State, in violation of the regulations. Thus the supplier may not adopt a passive attitude, but must take all due care. The supplier must check whether all the information sent to it by the customer is correct. Hence the supplier cannot claim to have acted in good faith if the available documents are contradictory or if the supplier should or could reasonably have been able to confirm whether they were fake;
  • Can demonstrate having done everything to obtain the VAT identification number of the contract partner in another EU Member State. Hence the supplier must:
  • have informed the customer of the fact that a VAT identification number is needed to be able to exempt the intra-Community supply from Belgian VAT;
  • have effectively asked for the customer’s VAT identification number;
  • in the event of a negative response from the customer, have told the customer to take the necessary measures to obtain a VAT number;
  • Has sent the tax authority the identification data of both the customer (name, address) to whom the exempt intra-Community supply is made and the goods supplied to this customer (invoice etc.).

2° The supplier must, on the one hand, have the required evidence to show that the contract partner is a taxable person or non-taxable legal person obliged to report an Vatable intra-Community acquisition, and on the other hand that the customer acts as such in the transaction concerned.

Source:VAT decision nr. E.T. 123.179, dated 27.08.2013

27 Aug 2013 at 2:32 pm

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