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Intracommunity supplies: destination document valid as alternative proof of transport

Decision nr. ET 129.460 of 1 July 2016 explains the principles and conditions the destination document must meet. The decision enters into force on 1 July 2016.

In order to invoke the VAT exemption on intracommunity supplies of goods the supplier must be able to prove the transport of these goods from Belgium to another EU Member State. In practice it is however often difficult for the supplier to obtain the transport document (e.g. CMR) which is properly completed and signed by all parties involved, especially if the transport of the goods is organized by the buyer.

It was already announced that the government would ease the burden of this proof. If no transport document is available, the VAT authorities now accept a “destination document”, in combination with the sales invoice, proof of payment and the transport invoice (if transport is organized by the supplier), as valid proof of the intracommunity transport.

This “destination document”, which has to be signed by the buyer, confirms that the goods are in the possession of the buyer in another EU Member State. The decision provides further details on the information to be added on the document, who can issue and sign the document, etc.

The VAT authorities allow that the supplier can opt for each intracommunity supply individually whether or not he will use such a destination document. Furthermore, one destination document may include all supplies performed to a customer during a period of maximum three consecutive calendar months.

However, the supplier must remain sufficiently vigilant and take all reasonable measures to ensure that he is not involved in a tax fraud scheme in respect of the intracommunity supplies mentioned on the destination document.

The Belgian VAT authorities thus also preserve the right to demand other documents than transport documents to verify the reality of the transactions and the statements mentioned on the destination document.

In view of the relief of the joint liability of global fiscal representatives for VAT debts of their principal (cfr. decision nr. E.T.124.203 of 31 March 2014), this new decision implies that the freight letter to be provided by these representatives in order to be able to invoke said relief, can now be replaced by said destination document. Global fiscal representatives making use of this possibility must include this in their contract with their principal.

This simplification measure is introduced by way of trial, and can be revoked (individually or on a general basis) in case of non-compliance or abuse.


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Jos Goubert

Tax Knowledge Dept.

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