• VAT implications introduction Union Customs Code

VAT implications introduction Union Customs Code

Erwin Boumans, Partner |

01 June 2016

The new Union Customs Code has entered into force on 1 May 2016. Although the VAT principles for import and export remain applicable, two provisions in the new Union Customs Code have a direct VAT impact. These VAT implications have recently been commented on in VAT Decision nr. 129.169 of 20 May 2016.


Exporter for VAT to be mentioned on the export declaration

According to the new Union Customs Code, companies established outside the customs territory of the European Union, are no longer eligible to act as exporter for customs purposes.

As a result, it may appear that the exporter for customs purposes and the exporter for VAT purposes will no longer be the same person (e.g. sales ‘ex works’). The question arises who is to be mentioned as exporter in box 2 of the export declaration.

Therefore, it has been decided that, as of 1 May 2016, the exporter for customs purposes is to be mentioned in box 2, whereas the exporter for VAT purposes is always to be mentioned in box 44 of the export declaration (name and VAT identification number). This is also the case if the exporter for both customs and VAT purposes is one and the same person.

In order to be eligible to apply the VAT exemption for exports, businesses should give proper instructions to their customs agent in order to mention their name and VAT identification number in box 44 of the export declaration. 

Customs regime “inward processing”

The customs arrangement “processing under customs control” did not qualify as a suspensive arrangement for VAT purposes and import VAT was due upon importation of goods under such an arrangement.

As the arrangement “processing under customs control” is incorporated in the arrangement “inward processing” and qualifies as one arrangement for customs purposes, it has been decided to adapt the VAT rules accordingly.

As a consequence, from 1 May 2016 the arrangement “processing under customs control” will qualify under the regime “inward processing” for VAT purposes. Article 23, §4, 6° of the Belgian VAT Code will be adapted accordingly. As a result, this arrangement will become a suspensive arrangement and import VAT will become due in case the goods are withdrawn from this arrangement and are released into free circulation.



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