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What is VAT?
VAT, the value added tax, is an indirect tax levied by the government on the sale of goods and services. If you are liable for VAT, you must charge VAT on the invoices to your customers. You then transfer this amount to the treasury each quarter through a VAT declaration. But as a self-employed person liable to pay VAT, you are also entitled to a VAT deduction: you then do not have to pay VAT on goods or services you purchase for your own business. If you pay VAT on a purchase for your business, you can also recover it.
When are you liable to pay VAT?
As a dealer, you are liable to pay VAT. So you have to charge VAT on every invoice you send to your customers. Do you have a small business, or are you a freelancer and your turnover is less than 25,000 euros? Then you are in principle liable to pay VAT, but you can request an exemption from doing a VAT declaration. Your VAT liability will then lapse, so you do not have to charge VAT to your customers. This can be interesting if your customers are private individuals. But beware: if you choose this option, you yourself will not be exempt from VAT. That means you can't recover the VAT you pay on your purchases. As soon as your turnover exceeds 25,000 euros, you automatically become liable to pay VAT. From then on, you have to charge VAT, and therefore also file the VAT return.
What you have to do when liable to pay VAT Activate your unique VAT number
To be able to collect and deduct VAT, you need a VAT number. This is actually the same as your company number, but with 'btw BE' in front of it, for example btw BE 0123 456 789. A VAT number is only valid if your company number has been activated by the VAT authorities. You can quickly and easily arrange this activation via icounter.
Please note: if any information held by the VAT administration change, you are obliged to report it. This is also part of what you need to do when VAT is due. For example: you have a new account number to which VAT refunds must be paid, your company moves, you delete the administrative headquarters of your company, you transfer a business department, your right to VAT deduction or your VAT activities change.