Considering the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 and the ‘stand-still‘ transition period will come to an end on 31 December 2020, new details on how UK companies will need to organize their business in terms of VAT registration in Belgium and the related timing to comply are beginning to surface.
As such, 1 January 2021 is the next date to mark in our calendars, as Brexit will – under the present circumstances – have an effect on that particular date. This means that UK companies will have to fulfill all the VAT obligations linked to their ‘non-EU’-status from that date on and thus need to appoint a fiscal representative when being registered or registering for VAT purposes in Belgium.
In that context, the Belgian VAT authorities recently released a communication on the timing to comply with the so-called ‘switch’ for UK companies with a direct registration in Belgium to a VAT registration with the appointment of a fiscal representative once Brexit is effective.
In brief, UK companies with a direct VAT registration in Belgium will have to prepare and file their request for the approval of a responsible fiscal representative for VAT in Belgium with the competent Belgian VAT administration as soon as possible. This should preferably be done before Brexit takes effect and at the very latest in the 3rd month following the effective date of Brexit, so before 31 March 2021.
Note that this procedure can easily take longer than one month, as the conditions and the formalities for a VAT registration by means of the approval of a responsible Belgian established fiscal representative are far more detailed and stricter than those for a direct VAT registration.
The Belgian VAT administration will end the approval procedure within a period of 6 months following Brexit: in that 6-month period, the Belgian VAT administration will consider and treat the direct VAT registration number of UK companies as having already been converted to a VAT registration number with the appointment of a fiscal representative in Belgium.