Belgium to require foreign public transporters to VAT register

Fri 28th Feb 2014

Belgium is to be the latest country to require foreign public transport companies to register for VAT, and charge a proportion of Belgian VAT on the price of their tickets.

Belgium VAT compliance requirements

From 1 January, non-Belgian coach and taxi drivers transporting paying passengers across Belgium will be required to VAT register with the tax authorities.  They will then be required to submit special quarterly (annual for small carriers) VAT returns and pay over 21% Belgian VAT.  The VAT should be calculated on the proportion of the journey in miles across Belgium.

There is a limited administrative requirement for carriers with an annual turnover of less than €125,000.  Carriers will be able to deduct any VAT on fuel purchases in Belgium.

Whilst such VAT registrations are an option for all 28 EU member states, very few go to the effort of enforcing it due to the low expected tax take.  Netherlands does require a registration for foreign coach operators.  Germany is probably the most vociferous in enforcing German VAT on public transport, with checks by highway patrols including a requirement for proof of a valid German VAT number.