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February 8, 2024
2024-0365

Belgium's mandatory e-invoicing to apply from 1 January 2026

  • Belgium is proposing to introduce mandatory electronic invoicing for domestic business-to-business transactions.
  • The date of entry into force is currently 1 January 2026.
  • The proposals await official approval from the European Union (EU) and may undergo modification before they come into effect.
 

Background

Following the request submitted to the European Commission on 6 October 2023 to obtain the Council's authorization to derogate from the Directive 2006/112/EC (similar to the derogations already obtained by other Member States (e.g., Italy)), Belgium's Chamber of Representatives has formally accepted the law related to the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing in Belgium for domestic business-to-business (B2B) transactions. (For background, see EY Global Tax Alert, Belgium's new proposal for mandatory electronic invoicing from 1 January 2026, dated 6 October 2023.)

To date, Belgium has not yet received formal approval from the European Commission to mandate electronic invoicing for domestic B2B transactions.

It is important to note that:

  • This law does not address mandatory electronic reporting (but it is expected that this will be addressed at a later stage) and it does not apply to business-to-government (B2G) or business to consumer (B2C) transactions.
  • A separate EU framework for electronic invoicing already exists for B2G transactions.
  • The rules could be further amended, if needed, to be fully compatible with the final rules adopted at EU level.

Mandatory B2B e-invoicing

The entry into force of the new rules is foreseen as 1 January 2026. The obligation to issue a "structured electronic invoicing" requires the convergence of three factors:

  1. The supplier must be a VAT-taxable person established in Belgium (including a VAT group), with some specifically defined exceptions, such as:
    • A taxable person who exclusively carries out transactions exempted under article 44 of the Belgian VAT Code
    • A taxable person applying the flat-rate scheme of article 56 of the Belgian VAT code
    • Taxable persons in a state of bankruptcy
  2. The customer must be a taxable person who has the legal obligation to provide its Belgian VAT number to the supplier for the purchases made, with the exception of:
    • A taxable person who only carries out transactions that are exempted under Article 44 of the Belgian VAT code and do not allow a right of VAT deduction
  3. Taxable transactions — the transactions for which a structured electronic invoice must be issued concern only supplies of goods and services that must be considered as located in Belgium for VAT purposes, with the exception of:
    • Supplies of goods that imply a shipment of goods outside Belgium for which the customer does not need to provide a Belgian VAT number
    • Taxable transactions exempted under Article 44 of the Belgian VAT code

Where the issuance of a structured electronic invoice is mandatory, the customer (including a VAT group) is obliged to accept — and cannot refuse — a structured electronic invoice.

Voluntary e-invoicing

If any one of the three factors listed above is not present, it is not mandatory to issue a structured electronic invoice. Nonetheless, in that case, a structured electronic invoice or a non-structured electronic invoice (e.g., PDF) may still be issued, but on a voluntary basis, and subject to the acceptance of the recipient. Paper invoicing remains a valid alternative in these circumstances as well.

VAT groups

A member of a VAT group will be required to issue invoices or specific documents for transactions with other members of the same VAT group in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down for structured electronic invoices if the issuer would have been required to issue a structured electronic invoice for that transaction had the recipient not been a member of the same VAT group.

Interoperability

To ensure the semantic, syntactic and technical interoperability of electronic invoices, the Pan-European public procurement online — Business Interoperability Specifications (PEPPOL-BIS) format is to be imposed as the main reference.

Taxable persons will have the option of derogating from this standard provided that two conditions are met:

  1. Both parties involved in the transaction have agreed to derogate from these standards
  2. The invoices issued meet the (most up to date) European standards EN 16.931-1 and CEN/TS 16.931-2

Although entry into force of the new rules is foreseen as being 1 January 2026, given the prevalence of mandatory e-invoicing regimes in many other countries, international businesses should consider the best strategic approach to complying with these obligations globally in an integrated and structured manner.

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Contact Information

For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:

Ernst & Young Tax Consultants (Belgium)

Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Carolyn Wright, legal editor
 
 

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