Article

Electronic Invoicing in Belgium

19 April 2023

What You Need to Know

Belgium is on its way to implementing mandatory B2B e-invoicing, a move that will significantly impact businesses operating within its borders.

As we approach the planned implementation date of July 2024, B2B businesses need to understand what e-Invoicing in Belgium means, how it will affect them, and how they can prepare for this new requirement.

Unimaze takes a closer look at B2B electronic invoicing in Belgium, including the proposed implementation phases, the benefits, and what businesses need to know to ensure a smooth transition.

E-Invoicing in Belgium - A Quick Overview

E-Invoicing/CTC Model

  • B2G: Centralized/Peppol
  • B2B: Peppol to start July 2024

Mandatory Infrastructure

  • B2G: Mercurius/Peppol
  • B2B: Not Applicable

Mandatory e-Invoice Format

  • B2G: Peppol BIS
  • B2B: Not Applicable

Issuing Mandate

  • B2G: Suppliers to Flemish and Brussels regions
  • B2B: Gradual rollout starting July 2024

Receiving Mandate

  • B2G: All contracting authorities
  • B2B: Buyer’s consent is required (Consent isn’t required if sending e-invoices to Hermes)

Digital Signature

Optional

Archiving Abroad

Allowed under specific conditions

Archiving Period

  • Movable Property: 7 years
  • Immovable property: 15 years

B2G E-Invoicing Timeline

The Belgian Ministry of Finance has proposed implementing mandatory B2B e-invoicing via the Peppol model from July 2024.

The implementation will occur in three phases, which are yet to be confirmed as follows:

  • Phase 1 (July 2024): Taxpayers based in Belgium with an annual turnover, excluding VAT, of more than €9,000,000 during the calendar year 2023.
  • Phase 2 (January 2025): Taxpayers based in Belgium with an annual turnover, excluding VAT, of more than €700,000 but not exceeding €9,000,000 during the calendar year 2023 or those with an annual turnover, excluding VAT, of more than €700,000 during the calendar year 2024.
  • Phase 3 (July 2025): Small taxpayers based in Belgium with an annual turnover below €700,000.

E-Invoicing Reporting in Belgium

The proposed reform in Belgium involves implementing an electronic VAT reporting system, which will likely operate in real-time using the Continuous Transactions Control method.

The development of this system will follow the guidelines presented in the VAT in Digital Age (ViDA) project published by the European Union. This project aims to enhance the exchange of information and interoperability between EU countries.

By introducing an electronic VAT reporting system, Belgium seeks to improve the efficiency and accuracy of tax reporting while promoting harmonization with the broader European community.

Why is B2B E-Invoicing Being Introduced in Belgium?

The introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing in Belgium aims to improve the efficiency and accuracy of invoicing processes and reduce errors and fraud.

Electronic invoicing can help businesses save time and money by automating the invoicing processes, reducing the risk of errors, and providing real-time tracking and monitoring of invoicing activities.

By implementing e-invoicing, the Belgian government also aims to reduce the administrative burden on businesses.

Furthermore, the implementation of e-invoicing in Belgium is expected to reduce the EU VAT Gap, estimated at around €140 billion annually.

The Belgian government estimates that the country loses around €3.6 billion annually due to VAT fraud and errors, and e-invoicing can help address this problem.

The introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing in Belgium is a significant step towards modernizing and streamlining invoicing processes, reducing errors and fraud, and promoting efficiency and harmonization with the broader European community.

Key Takeaways

B2B e-Invoicing in Belgium and Tax Reform

The main objective of introducing electronic invoicing and VAT reporting models in Belgium is to combat tax fraud, which resulted in a loss of approximately 10.8% of estimated revenue in 2018, amounting to around 3.6 billion euros.

The current tax reform aims to achieve several objectives, including increasing the employment rate, encouraging entrepreneurship, stimulating investments, combatting poverty, and increasing the purchasing power of families.

As part of the government's digital plan, the focus is on embracing digital transformation and promoting the dematerialization of transactions and interactions between the government, citizens, and businesses.

Implementing electronic invoicing for B2B transactions is expected to result in significant improvements in VAT collection by the government and offer substantial benefits for businesses in terms of cost reduction, efficiency, and security.

Additionally, electronic invoicing will serve as a gateway to digitalization, making businesses more competitive.

B2G e-Invoicing in Belgium

Belgium is set to introduce mandatory B2B e-invoicing, but it has already taken steps towards B2G e-invoicing.

The Belgian government has already implemented a voluntary B2G e-invoicing system that enables businesses to submit electronic invoices to public authorities.

Belgium's B2G e-invoicing system is known as Mercurius and is part of the federal government's e-government program.

The Mercurius system allows businesses to submit electronic invoices directly to government entities, eliminating the need for paper-based invoicing.

Mercurius is based on the European standard for electronic invoicing (EN 16931) and uses the PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) network for transmission.

This ensures that businesses can send and receive electronic invoices in a standardized format, regardless of the public authority they are dealing with.

Businesses that use the Mercurius system benefit from improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced security compared to traditional paper-based invoicing.

The system also provides real-time tracking and monitoring of invoicing activities, ensuring invoices are received, processed, and paid promptly.

The introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing in Belgium is expected to promote further electronic invoicing, including B2G e-invoicing, as it will provide businesses with the necessary infrastructure to support these processes.

How to Prepare for B2B e-Invoicing in Belgium

Determine if the New E-Invoicing Requirements Will Impact Your Business

Review the proposed implementation phases to determine which phase your business falls into. This will help you understand the timeline for implementation and the steps you need to take.

Evaluate Your Invoicing Processes

Check your ERP or accounting system to determine how you may need to be adjusted it to comply with the new requirements.

This may involve adopting new e-invoicing software or tools, revising invoicing templates, and ensuring your invoicing processes align with the Peppol model.

Ensure Compliance with Local Regulations and Standards

Ensure you comply with local regulations and standards, including the Belgian tax authority's requirements for electronic invoicing.

The process may involve working with a certified e-invoicing provider whose solutions comply with Belgium's compliance and regulations standards.

Train Your Employees on the New e-Invoicing Processes and Tools

Ensure that your employees are trained on the new e-invoicing processes and tools. This will help ensure a smooth transition to electronic invoicing and minimize disruptions to your operations.

Test The New e-Invoicing System

Before the mandatory implementation date, test the new e-invoicing system to ensure that it works properly and that your business can send and receive electronic invoices.

Partner with an e-Invoicing Service Provider

Working with an e-invoicing service provider like Unimaze can help ensure compliance with the new e-invoicing requirements, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline invoicing processes.

Unimaze offers innovative electronic invoicing software solutions, automation, compliance support, and training to help businesses navigate the complex landscape of e-invoicing and ensure that they meet all necessary standards and regulations.

Unimaze is Your #1 e-Invoicing Service Provider in Belgium

Unimaze is a leading provider of e-invoicing solutions and expertise that can help businesses get started with e-invoicing in Belgium.

Our solutions are designed to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and tailored to the specific requirements of the Belgian market.

We offer a range of e-invoicing solutions, including the Unimaze Digitizer, Procure to Pay, Invoice Validation, Track and Trace, as well as Accounts Payable Automation.

With these solutions, businesses can streamline invoicing processes, reduce errors and fraud, save money and improve efficiency.

With Unimaze's expertise in e-invoicing, businesses can ensure compliance with local regulations and standards, including the Belgian tax authority's requirements for electronic invoicing.

You can also benefit fromUnimaze's network of partners and vendors, which includes major players in the e-invoicing industry.

What next? Book a meeting with one of our e-invoicing experts to discuss your business needs and the best solution.

Electronic Invoicing in Belgium

FAQS

Is E-Invoicing Mandatory in Belgium?

As of January 1, 2020, e-invoicing is mandatory for all suppliers of public entities in Belgium.

This means that businesses that supply goods or services to public entities in Belgium must issue electronic invoices, and the public entities must be able to receive them.

The e-invoicing system in Belgium follows the Peppol interoperability model, designed to enable cross-border e-invoicing across the European Union.

Invoices are received through the Mercurius platform or directly to the Peppol Access Point of the public entity.

Electronic invoicing solutions are scalable, and businesses issuing digitized B2G invoices should find it relatively easy to comply with the imminent B2B e-Invoicing in Belgium.

What Must be Present on Belgium Compliant Invoice?

In Belgium, a compliant invoice must include the following information:

  • Invoice date
  • Unique invoice number
  • Full name and address of the supplier
  • Full name and address of the customer
  • VAT identification numbers of both the supplier and the customer
  • Description of the goods or services supplied
  • Quantity of goods or services supplied
  • The unit price of goods or services supplied
  • Total amount payable, excluding VAT
  • The VAT rate applicable to the goods or services supplied
  • VAT amount payable

Additionally, if the invoice is issued on behalf of the customer or a third party, the invoice must include the name and address of the party on whose behalf the invoice is issued.

Note: e-Invoices must also comply with specific technical requirements, such as those related to data format and structure, electronic signature, and data transmission.

These technical requirements ensure the invoice's integrity, authenticity, and legibility.

Failure to comply with the invoicing requirements may result in penalties or fines, so businesses must ensure that their invoices contain all the necessary information and comply with the technical requirements.

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