Simplification measure for proof of intra-Community transport
13 July 2016
The Belgian VAT Authorities recently published an administrative decision (Decision nr. 129.460 of 1 July 2016), in which they announced more flexible conditions for the application of the VAT exemption for intra-Community supplies of goods. More specifically, a so-called “document of destination” was introduced, as an alternative to the CMR document. The purpose of this document is to allow easier proof that goods are being supplied out of Belgium and by the buyer.
Document of destination as an alternative for CMR document
Goods that are being supplied by or on behalf of the supplier or customer, from Belgium towards another EU Member State, where the customer has to perform an intra-Community acquisition of those goods, are exempt from VAT in Belgium. Consequently three conditions need to be fulfilled in order in to apply the VAT exemption:
- it concerns a supply of goods by a VAT taxable person;
- the goods are being supplied from Belgium to another EU Member State;
- the customer needs to perform an acquisition of goods in the EU Member State of arrival.
In case of a VAT exempt intra-Community supply, the supplier must, therefore, be able to prove that the goods have been transported from Belgium to another EU Member State. A crucial piece of evidence in this respect is a CMR document, signed by the recipient of the goods. According to the recently published Decision, the Belgian VAT Administration authorizes the use of a “document of destination” as an alternative to the CMR document.
In order for the document of destination to be a valid proof of transport, it needs to mention:
- the full identity of the supplier and customer (including the VAT identification numbers);
- the statement: “Confirmation of the arrival of an intra-Community supply of goods, in the sense of article 138 of the Council Directive 2006/112/EC”;
- the place of arrival of the goods;
- a description of the goods, quantity, price,…
One single document of destination can make reference to multiple invoices issued to the same customer, on condition that the period concerned does not exceed 3 months. Of course the document of destination must also be signed by the customer in order to confirm receipt of the goods. The person signing the document must be appointed by the customer based on his administrative function within the company, and deemed knowledge of the purchases performed by the company (e.g. the head of accounting).
Documents of destination may be sent and confirmed via email or another electronic method, insofar that the authenticity of the signatures is guaranteed.
Also global VAT representatives may use the document of destination in order to reduce their administrative burden.
Some examples of documents of destination can be found in the above-mentioned Decision.
The new rules took effect on 1 July 2016, by means of trial. The Belgian VAT Authorities, however, reserved the right to revoke the Decision entirely, or refuse the use of it per individual taxpayer if inappropriate use is established.
Should you have any further question or require a personal advice with respect to the impact of these rules on your company, please contact your usual contact person at BDO or you may send an email to [email protected] for the attention of one of the members of the Competence Centre VAT:
- Erwin Boumans, 02/778.01.00
- Brigitte Braeckmans, 03/230.58.40
- Pascal Dauw, 09/210.54.10
- Kaatje Bondewel, 02/778.01.00