VAT Recovery – Belgium

Most companies worldwide, no matter big or small have employees traveling to other countries to conduct business. This puts a lot of stress on employees, especially on short trips where they may visit a few countries over a short period.

Business travelers are usually responsible for booking their own flights and hotels in line with company budgets. They need to know what to pack based on the climate in those destinations, and what to take as far as documents or business tools, such as brochures or equipment. They need to make sure their phone and internet plans will work without a hitch in those countries.

It is important to know when booking hotels that to be eligible for VAT reclaim, booking and payment must be done within Belgium at the physical location of the employees’ stay.

Travelers need to make sure they can easily get to all their appointments at the correct times, arrange transportation, accommodation and have all their contact info and maps in order, especially if it’s their first time traveling to those destinations.

See the chart below that you may agree with on what can improve your travel experience.

Companies also need to make sure that their employees collect all their receipts so they can present them upon their return in an orderly fashion. The primary reason for this is that they have the information they need to reclaim VAT (Value Added Taxes).

This could be a complicated endeavor for most corporate accounting departments relying on manual laborious processes. On top of this, all countries even if they are in a particular region such as the EU, all have their own VAT regulations and their own processes. These regulations can and usually do change regularly, so accounting departments need to be aware of these changes in order to efficiently and successfully reclaim VAT.

Provide your employees with efficient ways to collect their receipts when traveling to the EU, by providing them with a link to these handy guides, which include phrases in the various European languages they should know to ensure they are collecting receipts in the correct format.

In this post we are going to focus on VAT reclaim in Belgium.

Belgium is a Kingdom and is part of Europe’s federal monarchy. Because of its diverse communities, speaking three different official languages (Dutch, German and French) is the norm.

The two primary Belgian communities are the Flemish community which speaks Dutch and the Walloon community which speaks French.

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and plays a crucial role in the European economy as well as the political sphere. A substantial amount of International organizations are headquartered in Brussels.

In 1957, Belgium was a founding member of the European Union, and Brussels is the host city of NATO. While Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is probably the most important city in all of the EU, it is not the largest one.

Antwerp is 3 times the size of Brussels when it comes to population. Because of increasing life expectancy and a high fertility rate, the population of Belgium has been steadily increasing over the past decade, and now stands at approximately 11 million inhabitants.

Belgian Economy

Belgium’s economy has been accelerating for much of the past decade, and has a positive trade balance. This has facilitated a constant and steady increase of its GDP.

Belgium was one of Europe’s quickest nations to recover from the global financial crisis. Over the past decade, Belgium’s inflation rate has decreased and is holding steady. It is estimated to stabilize at between 1.8 to 2 percent when 2020 rolls around. The country’s valuable exports make it one of the leading export countries globally. In order of importance, Germany, France and the Netherlands are its core trading partners.

The World of VAT

Every year, business travelers globally generate expenses. However, unfortunately 20 Billion Euros is left on the VAT table, left unclaimed.

VAT is a huge revenue generator for countries and it is increasingly getting harder to reclaim in the manual sense.

Accounting departments typically upkeep these unclaimed expenses manually. This is due primarily to language barriers, misinterpretation of Taxation technicalities and difficulty in reaching foreign administrations.

Reclaiming VAT can be a complicated and frustrating process. As company expense and travel costs increase and accumulate, the process just seems like an ever-growing mountain that looks harder and harder to climb.

In Belgium, if a company is registered in the EU or not in the EU, claims need to be filed in German, French and Dutch.

Belgian VAT expenses that can be reclaimed are as follows:

  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Laundry
  • Restaurants
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Car Rental & Fuel (Reduced Rates),
  • Parking
  • Conferences
  • DDP

Each country in the EU has their own time limits, minimums and times when the VAT will be reimbursed.

To get a more in depth look into what these minimums are, as well as more details that will empower you to improve your company’s bottom line in Belgium and other EU countries, please download our eBook to learn the relevant phrases in Dutch, German and French.

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