Submitting your VAT return via Intervat as an independent in Belgium
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As an independent in Belgium, you have to submit your VAT return periodically. This declaration contains a summary of VAT you’ve collected yourself via your sales invoices, and VAT you’ve paid on your professional purchases. Your VAT balance is calculated based on this return, and you find out whether you’re entitled to a VAT refund or have to pay. In this guide, we take you step-by-step through the VAT return: from preparing it to submitting it via Intervat, to paying the outstanding balance. Let’s go!
Deadline for filing VAT returns
Some entrepreneurs file VAT returns on a monthly basis, but most independents opt for quarterly returns. In fact, monthly returns are the general rule, but if your gross annual income is less than EUR 2,500,000 (excluding VAT), you can stick with quarterly returns.
You have to submit your VAT return no later than the 20th of the month following the quarter for which you are submitting the declaration. Make a note of these dates in your diary: 20 April, 20 July, 20 October and 20 January of the following year for the 4th quarter.
Step 1: Prepare your VAT return
If you work with an accountant, chances are they’ll prepare your VAT return and maybe even submit it for you. It’s important to agree on this up front with your accountant to avoid any surprises.
Do you keep track of your VAT expenses and income yourself? In that case, grab them now, because in the next step, we’ll start working with them!
💡 Accountable tip: If you have systematically kept track of all your income and expenses in Accountable, you’ll be able to create the VAT return in just a few clicks. That saves you a lot of time and work. Handy, right?
Are you an Accountable user?
First, check that all your income and expenses are in Accountable. The best way is to prepare your sales invoices in Accountable or upload them systematically. The same goes for all receipts and purchase invoices; add them as soon as you receive them.
💻 In the web version of Accountable, go to the ‘Taxes’ tab.
- Click on the quarter for which you want to file the return, then click ‘VAT Payment’.
- Now click ‘Email VAT return’.
- You will receive an XML file in your mailbox, complete with instructions. Chances are you won’t be able to open this file on your computer, but don’t worry, the format has been specifically adapted for processing by Intervat.
Step 2: Log in to Intervat
Now it’s time to log in to Intervat. You can do this by clicking ‘Intervat’ on the FPS Finances website, or by following the links in this article.
- Choose the login method that suits you best.
Do you have an Itsme account? Or do you prefer to work with a card reader and e-ID? Or maybe you’ve requested a digital token?
- If you are a sole trader, choose ‘in your own name’.
- If you have a company, choose ‘in the name of a company’.
- Click ‘Next’.
- Click ‘Intervat’.
Step 3: Upload your VAT return and sign it in Intervat
- On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see ‘Declaration by file’.
- Drag the file you received from your accountant or Accountable to the area shown, or select the file from your computer.
- Validate and sign the declaration, otherwise the government won’t receive it.
Note that the status shown on Intervat is first ‘Validated’, and only then, ‘Success’. It’s important that you continue to the end.
- Check ‘My Declarations’, at the bottom of the same screen, to make sure it says ‘Success’ after your last declaration.
Step 4: Pay your VAT balance (if necessary)
Will you receive a refund, or do you still owe VAT to the government? If you have to pay additional VAT, you’ll receive the payment details and the payment deadline. Plan to make your payment about three days before the payment deadline – this way you’re not paying too early, but definitely not too late either.
If you’re entitled to receive a VAT refund, you don’t have to do anything – it will automatically appear in your account. ✨
That’s it! Congrats, you’ve filed your VAT return all by yourself, with a little help from Accountable. Did you know that Accountable also lets you prepare and submit your customer listing and personal tax declaration yourself? Try it out now!
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