Since 1 January 2020, Belgian VAT legislation has permitted an accelerated VAT refund procedure for so-called “starters”. This new measure allows for the granting of a VAT credit refund within one month after submission of the VAT return, whereas this refund generally takes up to three months to six months.
The accelerated VAT refund procedure applies to taxpayers that have recently started economic activities in Belgium and have submitted a VAT identification form less than 24 months ago. Therefore, a taxpayer is considered as a “starter” during the period of 24 months following the start of their economic activities in Belgium. The procedure also applies to existing entities that deactivated their Belgian VAT number at least 3 months ago and that have recommenced their economic activities, which requires a new VAT identification in Belgium. The same applies for newly constituted VAT groups.
This development is also relevant for non-Belgian companies that have been recently identified for VAT purposes in Belgium, even if they were already identified for VAT in Belgium in the past (and provided that such previous VAT identification was cancelled more than 3 months ago). These companies will be considered as a starter during a period of 24 months, which allows for an accelerated VAT refund in Belgium. However, taxpayers who are identified under a global VAT number will never qualify as a starter under this procedure.
To benefit from this procedure, the taxpayer must meet the following conditions and formalities:
Provided that these conditions and formalities are met by a starter, the monthly VAT refund will be granted automatically. Hence, the taxpayer does not need to request a monthly VAT refund permit nor do they need to notify the Belgian VAT authorities that they would like to apply this procedure
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