Did your webshop receive an order from abroad? Exciting! But how to deal with the VAT in that case?

Three factors play a role in the calculation:

  • Do you sell goods or services?
  • Is your customer situated in or outside the EU?
  • Is the customer a private person or a professional?

Goods

A Private Person within your own country

When you sell physical good in a physical shop, you owe VAT to the country where the sale takes place. So, when a French customer buys something in your Belgian shop, you pay VAT to the Belgian government. For online orders by customers in your own country, the same rules apply.

A private person in an other EU member state

If you sell a good to a private person in an other member state of the EU, and you pay or organise the transport of the goods, this is considered ‘distant selling‘. In this case, the VAT regulation depends on how often you sell in that country:

  • do you only rarely receive orders from within this country? Then you pay VAT in your home country.
  • do your sales in this country exceed a certain threshold? Then you have to register as a VAT- liable company in that country and you pay the local VAT-tariff.

You can find the thresholds for each European country on this page.

A professional in an other EU member state

If you sell goods to an other company in an other EU member state, and that customer has a valid VAT number, you don’t have to charge VAT. If that is not the case, you pay the Belgian VAT-tariff. You can check here if your customer has a valid VAT number. Note: Do you sell goods with excise duty, then special rules might apply. 

A private person or a professional outside the EU

When you sell goods to a company or private person outside the EU, you don’t have to charge VAT. The VAT you were charged yourself for the goods or services you had to buy for that order, you can withdraw from your VAT return. Note: the sale can only be exempt from VAT if a notice of export was sent (electronically) to customs. 

Services

A private person within the EU

According to a European directive, since January 1st 2015, all electronically provided services, to private people and professionals, have to be taxed in the member state of the client. For example: If you sell software or hosting to clients in an other EU member state, then you pay VAT in that state.

If your company is situated in Belgium, it’s not necessary to register for VAT in each country where you have a customer. Instead, you can use a tool of the ministry of finance, MOSS.

A professional within the EU

If you sell to a professional within the EU, you don’t have to charge VAT. The buyer has to settle this amount in his monthly or three-monthly VAT return.

A private person or a professional outside the EU

When you sell services to consumers outside the EU, you don’t have to charge VAT. (except for a few specific cases)  The VAT you were charged on the goods and services you had to buy for that order, you may withdraw from your VAT return.

Source:
European Union

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