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What to do if you are liable to pay VAT?

The new law, which drastically reduces VAT exemptions for medical care services, has since been published in the Belgian Official Gazette. Non-therapeutic treatments and interventions will be subject to VAT from 1 January 2022. If you offer these, you will need a VAT number. Haven't you activated your VAT number yet? You can arrange it quickly and online here.

When are you liable to pay VAT?

From 1 January 2022, doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and other medical care providers can only get a VAT exemption for treatments with a therapeutic purpose. These are achievements that aim to achieve the diagnosis, treatment, care and cure of diseases. However, non-therapeutic medical care will henceforth be subject to VAT. For example: 

  • a doctor who draws up an expert medical report;
  • a dentist who whitens teeth; 
  • a physiotherapist who provides general sports coaching services in his capacity as a personal coach;  

Which services have no therapeutic purpose?

Services that do not have a therapeutic purpose are not exempt from VAT. These are treatments that focus on other things than protecting the health of a specific person. These are some concrete examples:

Group workouts and treatments

Group workouts and treatments such as fitness or gymnastics are non-therapeutic if they do not take the specific medical risk factors or conditions of those involved into account.  It doesn't matter if the workout is given by physical therapists or sports instructors. Therefore, these services are not exempt from VAT.

Dietary counselling

Counselling by a certified dietitian to lose weight for aesthetic reasons is not a therapeutic benefit. This type of service is not exempt from VAT. When a person engages a dietitian to prevent or treat illness, it does involve therapeutic services. These services are exempt from VAT.

Foot care

Foot care that is aesthetic in nature and does not revolve around treating or preventing disease, is a non-therapeutic service and is not exempt from VAT.

Home care after aesthetic surgery

Home care by nurses after aesthetic surgery that was not exempt from VAT, also falls under non-therapeutic services. If the after care is part of the treatment of complications after such an operation, then it does involve therapeutic services and there is therefore also an exemption from VAT.