Belgium Steps Closer to Mandatory E-Invoicing

Marta Sowińska
June 9, 2022

Update: 5 February 2024 by Marta Sowinska

On 1 February, 2024, the Belgian Parliament approved the law implementing mandatory domestic B2B e-invoicing in the country, starting from 1 January 2026. The adopted bill can be found here.

This means that starting from 1 January, 2026 all VAT-registered taxpayers established in Belgium will be required to issue/receive structured electronic invoices. Peppol will be the default transmission method, although taxpayers will be able to use other systems provided that they meet the European Standard.

The bill is now awaiting the King’s signature and will later be published in the Official Gazette.

 

Update: 5 October 2023 by Marta Sowinska

Belgium Proposes New E-invoicing Timeline and Scope

Belgium’s Ministry of Finance has proposed a new plan for the introduction of a mandatory e-invoicing system in the country with a new timeline and scope.

Its previous proposal failed to reach an agreement with the Belgian federal government, but the Council of Ministers – the highest executive authority at a federal level in Belgium – approved the new preliminary draft on 29 September 2023.

The draft proposal introduces changes to the Value Added Tax Code to introduce a requirement for the issuance of structured e-invoices between taxpayers.

The main points are:

  • Scope: Taxable persons with a VAT registration and establishment in Belgium will have an obligation to send and/or receive structured e-invoices. In contrast to the earlier draft proposal, it is expected that the real-time reporting will be introduced later, hence the e-invoicing mandate can be seen as the precursor to the implementation of a CTC reporting requirement.
  • Format: Taxpayers in scope will be obliged to exchange structured e-invoices following European Standards (EN16931 standard). Other formats such as PDF are no longer allowed. The PEPPOL network is envisaged as the delivery mechanism of the e-invoice to the buyer, though taxpayers can mutually agree to use any other system provided it meets the European Standard.
  • Timeline: The expected go-live date of the B2B e-invoicing mandate is January 2026 for all taxpayers in scope. There is no phased implementation, as was previously provided in the initial proposal.

The preliminary draft legislation shall follow the standard legislative process before it becomes law and, as a next step, will be submitted for opinions to the Council of State, the High Council for the Self-Employed and SMEs, Agrofront and ITAA.

The tax authority announced that a broad information campaign will be made available to all stakeholders during the transition period. Taxpayers in scope should use this transition period and start preparing for the e-invoicing obligations to be able to comply in time for the January 2026 go-live date.

Looking for more information on the global adoption of electronic invoices? Our e-invoicing guide can help.

 

Update: 21 March 2023 by Marta Sowinska

Belgium – tax reform proposal introducing e-invoicing and reporting obligations

On 2 March 2023, the Belgium Minister of Finance (“MoF”), Vincent Van Peteghem, announced the government’s plans for a broad tax reform. Introducing mandatory B2B e-invoicing and e-reporting is part of this tax reform. This proposal follows previous draft legislation on the issue of electronic invoicing, published in 2022, which has not yet been approved.

Belgium’s e-invoicing proposal

A phased roll-out for the B2B electronic invoicing mandate will start in July 2024. The Belgian administration has communicated the following timeline for e-invoicing issuance obligations, based on the company’s turnover:

  • 1 July 2024 – large taxpayers established in Belgium, with an annual turnover over €9,000,000.
  • 1 January 2025 – small and medium sized taxpayers established in Belgium with an annual turnover of more than €700,000 but not more than €9,000,000.
  • 1 July 2025 – all other Belgian taxpayers (likely only those VAT-registered with establishment in Belgium) except for small companies and agricultural companies.
  • 1 January 2028 – likely entry into force date for small companies and agricultural companies.

E-Reporting obligations for Belgium

Alongside the electronic invoicing mandate, the MoF proposes the introduction of electronic reporting obligations. According to the tax reform proposal, the new reporting obligations would allow for the elimination of the ‘customer list return’, which taxpayers are obliged to submit annually to record all sales in excess of €250 made to customers that are VAT-registered in Belgium.

The proposal for the broader tax reform is still awaiting further development, namely the publication of draft legislation detailing the invoicing and reporting requirements. Nevertheless, July 2024 looks very likely to be the date when the mandatory B2B e-invoicing roll-out will begin.

Have questions about Belgium’s e-invoicing mandate? Speak to our tax experts.

 

Update: 9 June 2022 by Marta Sowińska

In line with the obligations set by the European Directive 2014/55 on electronic invoicing in public procurement, Belgium introduced a mandate for public entities to receive and process electronic invoices in 2019.

For Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia the initiative went beyond the bare minimum of the EU Directive requirements and introduced obligations to also issue e-invoices for suppliers to public sector entities in these regions.

With recent legal changes, Belgium is now preparing to extend the e-invoicing obligation to even more businesses by introducing mandatory e-invoicing in the B2B sector.

Belgium E-invoicing in public procurement

On 31 March 2022, the Belgian Official Gazette published the Royal Decree of 9 March 2022, which intends to expand the obligation to issue electronic invoices to all suppliers of public institutions in the context of public contracts and concession contracts.

As previously mentioned, such obligation was already present in multiple regions including Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia, however, now the mandate covers suppliers of public bodies in all regions. The dates concerning issuing electronic invoices in the public contracts, based on their value are:

  • 1 October 2022: e-invoices for public contracts equal to or greater than the European threshold of €214,000 must be issued six months after the publication of the decree in the Belgian Official Gazette and on the first day of each month.
  • 1 April 2023: e-invoices for public contracts equal to or greater than €30,000 must be issued 12 months after the publication of the decree in the Belgian Official Gazette, and on the first day of each month.
  • 1 October 2023: e-invoices for public contracts less than €30,000 must be issued 18 months after the publication of the decree in the Belgian Official Gazette and on the first day of each month.

Only public contracts and concessions, which estimated value is less or equal to €3,000 excluding VAT are exempt.

Belgium E-invoicing in the private sector

As reported previously, Belgian authorities have indicated the ambition to move beyond B2G e-invoicing. On 11 May 2022, the Belgium Chamber of Representatives published a draft law amending the law of 2 August 2002 on combating late payment in commercial transactions, as last amended by the law of 28 May 2019, with the aim to implement electronic invoicing between private companies (B2B).

The rationale behind the proposal is the need to enable companies to invest in electronic invoicing, after already supporting the digitalization of invoicing in the B2G sector. The benefits that will follow are a much faster invoicing process, which is more secure and minimises the risk of errors and missing data.

Moreover, the chances of fraud will decrease while privacy protection increases, without the need for human intervention in the invoicing process.

Lastly, the environmental aspect concerning less paper consumption is highlighted. In terms of financial gain, as calculated by the Administrative Simplification Service (DAV), full digitalization of invoices in Belgium could reduce the administrative burden by €3.37 billion.

Based on the draft law, companies (with the exception of micro-enterprises) will be obliged to send their invoices in structured electronic form (in line with the European standard for electronic invoicing EN 16931-1:2017 and CEN/TS 16931-2:2017) as well as receive and process invoices electronically.

Nothing in the draft law describes the involvement of a centralised clearance platform, or the reporting of e-invoice data to the tax authorities. At this time, there is therefore no formal indication that the proposed mandate would be designed as a Continuous Transactions Control (CTC) e-invoicing system, however it is possible that the system will evolve to connect with PEPPOL.

The law will come into effect on 1 January 2025 regarding SMEs, thereby ensuring that companies have adequate time to prepare for the transition. If it comes to large enterprises, it is expected that mandatory e-invoicing will be present from January 2024. Originally the date concerning large taxpayers was July 2023, and small taxpayers from 2024, therefore those dates will most likely be postponed.

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Author

Marta Sowińska

Marta Sowińska is a Junior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Lisbon and originally from Poland, Marta earned a Bachelor’s degree in International and European Law from the Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and has studied at the Beijing Normal University in China.
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