Corporate Directors must charge VAT

Update : this obligation to charge VAT has been postponed until 1 January 2016.

Individuals who have been appointed as a director or a managing director of a company are not liable to VAT. They are not obliged to register for VAT and they do not charge VAT on their director’s fees.

This exemption does not extend to companies or other bodies corporate that are appointed as a director, a managing director or a liquidator of a company. However, for years the Belgian VAT Authorities accepted that they were not obliged to charge VAT on their director’s fees. Registering for VAT purposes was, therefore, optional.

This was just an administrative tolerance that will end on 31 December.  It is apparently at the request of the European Commission that the Belgian tax authorities have decided to abandon this tolerance (Decision E.T. 125.180 of 20 November 2014).

Nothing will change for individual directors; they will remain VAT exempt; and corporate directors who are already registered for VAT and charge VAT will continue to do so.

However, corporate directors who had opted for the exemption will have to register for VAT and charge VAT on the fees for their work in 2015, unless the fees were paid in 2014. Bonuses (“tantièmes”) granted by the company after 1 January 2015 will be liable to VAT, even if they relate to a financial year ending on or before 31 December 2014.

This will have an unfortunate effect for corporate directors of companies or associations that are not liable to VAT, such as banks or trade associations, or that can only recover part of the VAT on services received.

Author: Marc Quaghebeur

Marc Quaghebeur is a Belgian tax lawyer with Cabinet DAVID specialising in international tax issues and cross border estate planning. He is a member of the Brussels Bar and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He

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