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Importation of goods in Belgium

Your company based in the United States imports goods in Belgium where they are temporarily stocked (importation of goods in Belgium). The goods are sold to various EU companies located all around Europe afterwards.

VAT registration is required and VAT must be paid immediately …

Your company, acting as the importer of the goods, should normally be VAT registered through a VAT representative in Belgium [where the goods are put into free circulation] and pay Belgian VAT immediately [cash payment: VAT on importation is paid to customs authorities at the border where the goods enter the European Union].

….unless a deferred payment is applicable

Member States determine the conditions under which the imported goods should be introduced into their territory. They prescribe the process to declare the importation of goods towards the Authorities. Member States may allow for the VAT to be paid subsequently in  a periodic VAT return. This declaration will include both the VAT due and the deductible VAT [postponed accounting via VAT return]. A payment delay may also be authorized [deferred payment].

See our VAT News n° 512 for more info about this topic in Belgium.

Managing the cash flow of the company is a key issue. Despite VAT neutrality, cash-flow problems derived from the VAT system are a major concern and are perceived as having a significant financial impact. There is however no uniformity between the Member States with regards to the liability and different payment regimes applied.

 Companies importing goods from a third country must pay attention to the following issues:

  • Check first whether or not import can be VAT exempted [bonded warehouse, VAT warehouse, tax warehouse, importation of goods followed by a subsequent intra-EU supply etc.]
  • If no VAT exemption is applicable, proceed to the local VAT registration;
  • Check whether VAT on importation need to be paid immediately or if Member state has introduced special measures for deferred the payment.