In order to apply the VAT exemption for intra-Community supplies in Belgium (article 39bis of the Belgian VAT Code), Belgian VAT authorities require the supplier (amongst others) to obtain and keep a set of commercial documents that the goods have been transported from Belgium to another Member State. Suitable evidence includes contracts, purchase orders, transport documents and payment documents.
Although not one of the aforementioned documents in itself constitutes sufficient evidence, transport documents (e.g. CMRs) are key. At this point, many taxpayers experience problems in practice as for example the CMR is not signed by all three parties or the goods have been picked up by the carrier of the customer and no copy of the CMR was provided. This combined with a sometimes harsh approach of the authorities leads to very unpleasant and costly surprises. In order to enhance legal certainty, the Belgian VAT authorities recently published a new Administrative Decision (E.T. 129.460) which confirms that the transport document can be replaced by a so-called destination document.
This document has to be issued by the supplier (or customer) and signed/confirmed by the customer. It may cover a maximum period of 3 consecutive calendar months and has to contain the information that is usually collected by the supplier (for further details, see Decision E.T. 129.460).
Per intra-Community supply performed, the supplier can opt to use the destination document or to rely on the transport documents. Just like the transport document, the destination document in itself does not constitute sufficient evidence.
The introduction of this new destination document is an excellent opportunity to review your internal procedures as regards required evidence in an EU trade environment! So please do not hesitate to contact us or your usual PwC contact, as we will be pleased to assist you with this exercise.
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Claire De Lepeleire
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