• Abolition advance payment related to import license aims at enhancing the competitiveness of Belgian harbours

Abolition advance payment related to import license aims at enhancing the competitiveness of Belgian harbours

Pascal Dauw, Partner |

26 September 2012

With a view to enhancing the competitiveness of the Belgian harbours, the council of ministers has decided on the basis of its revival plan of 20 July 2012 to abolish the advance payment in respect of the reverse charge mechanism for import VAT (i.e. related to the so-called “ET 14000 license”). In addition, the reverse charge mechanism in relation to import VAT will be extended to global VAT identification numbers. Once the required law amendments have been put in place, a new administrative circular, replacing the existing circular AOIF nr. 1/2008, will be published. The new extended import regulation will take effect from 1 January 2013 without financial impact for the importers.

The administrative circular 30/2012 dated 28 September 2012 (amending the existing circular No. 3/1973) provides for a number of transitional measures and refund modalities of existing advance payments.

The current import regulation remains entirely in force for existing and new licenses (applied for between 1 October 2012 and 31 December 2012):

  • Existing license holders can continue using their ET 14000 license number;
  • ET14000 licenses applied for in respect of individual VAT identification numbers as from 1 October 2012 will in practice no longer require an advance payment

Existing license holders can apply for a refund of the advance VAT payments via their periodical VAT return, with registration in the registry of refunds and upon notification to the local VAT inspector:

  • The refund can be applied for via box 62 of the periodical VAT return as per 20 February 2013 (monthly filers), and per 20 April (quarterly filers) at the earliest;
  • the initiative to apply for the refund is up to the VAT payer. This needs to be done within the prescription period, i.e. end of 2016. We therefore recommend taking action in this respect as soon as possible.

The reverse charge mechanism in relation to import VAT is currently reserved for individual VAT identification numbers. The extension of the reverse charge of import VAT to global VAT identification numbers therefore requires a law amendment.

To be continued... .