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VAT refund - Commission sues Germany

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the European Court of Justice over its rejection of various claims for VAT refunds to companies located in other Member States. More specifically, Germany refused in some cases to refund VAT without having previously requested additional information from the applicant when it considered that the information provided about the nature of the supplied goods and services was not sufficient to make a decision on the request. This practice led to situations where a VAT refund was refused to applicants who met the substantive conditions and is contrary to the right to a VAT refund established under EU rules (EC Press Release of 24/01/2019).

We encourage European businesses that faced a rejection of their foreign (in Germany or elsewhere in Europe) VAT refund application on the above basis to lodge an appeal. These companies may contact Xavier Brems for any question on the subject ([email protected] or +32 2 210 17 72).

VAT registration post Brexit

The Belgian VAT Authorities confirmed that all UK businesses having a Belgian VAT number will need to appoint a fiscal representative when the Brexit becomes effective (if they do not have one yet). The official documents in that respect must be filed with the Belgian VAT Authorities before the UK leaves the EU (i.e. by 29/03/2019 if there is no agreement on a postponement).

The tax administration will end the approval procedure within a period of 6 months following the Brexit. In the meantime, a UK business will be treated as if it already has a fiscal representative. This means that the reverse charge mechanism will apply on its domestic purchases of goods and services subject to Belgian VAT provided the supplier is not established in Belgium.

Should you need assistance in order to convert your direct VAT registration number into a Belgian VAT registration number with a responsible representative, please feel free to contact Xavier Brems ([email protected] or +32 2 210 17 72).