What constitutes the point in time when VAT becomes “chargeable”?
Effective 1 January 2013, the issuance of an invoice before a supply of goods takes place or a service is completed no longer constitutes the point in time when VAT becomes “chargeable” (i.e. payable to the VAT authorities).
Only the supply of the goods or the completion of the service itself, or the receipt of a (partial) payment prior to the supply or the completion of the service, can result in the VAT becoming payable (and deductible).
Transition allowed, new guidance anticipated
In response to comments from the business community and to provide businesses sufficient time to adapt to the new rules, the Belgian tax authorities decided to allow a regime for transition to the new rules during 2013. This transition regime allowed companies a choice between applying the former rules or the new rules.
Also, it was anticipated that the tax authorities would publish new guidance that would clarify how the new VAT rules would be finalized and implemented.
To date, the anticipated guidance for implementing the new VAT rules has not been published by the VAT authorities.
In answer to a parliamentary question*, the Minister of Finance confirmed the extension of the transitional regime to 2014. Therefore, taxpayers can continue to apply the former rules during 2014.
In addition, the Minister of Finance announced a new round of consultations with all stakeholders would be organized, concerning application of the new rules as from 2015.
*House of Representatives, Q&A, Bulletin nr. 130, question nr. 535 of 25 July 2013 by Marghem (p. 567)