February 8, 2024
Belgium's mandatory e-invoicing to apply from 1 January 2026
Following the request submitted to the European Commission on 6 October 2023 to obtain the Council's authorization to derogate from the Directive 2006/112/EC (similar to the derogations already obtained by other Member States (e.g., Italy)), Belgium's Chamber of Representatives has formally accepted the law related to the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing in Belgium for domestic business-to-business (B2B) transactions. (For background, see EY Global Tax Alert, Belgium's new proposal for mandatory electronic invoicing from 1 January 2026, dated 6 October 2023.)
To date, Belgium has not yet received formal approval from the European Commission to mandate electronic invoicing for domestic B2B transactions.
It is important to note that:
Mandatory B2B e-invoicing
The entry into force of the new rules is foreseen as 1 January 2026. The obligation to issue a "structured electronic invoicing" requires the convergence of three factors:
Where the issuance of a structured electronic invoice is mandatory, the customer (including a VAT group) is obliged to accept — and cannot refuse — a structured electronic invoice.
If any one of the three factors listed above is not present, it is not mandatory to issue a structured electronic invoice. Nonetheless, in that case, a structured electronic invoice or a non-structured electronic invoice (e.g., PDF) may still be issued, but on a voluntary basis, and subject to the acceptance of the recipient. Paper invoicing remains a valid alternative in these circumstances as well.
A member of a VAT group will be required to issue invoices or specific documents for transactions with other members of the same VAT group in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down for structured electronic invoices if the issuer would have been required to issue a structured electronic invoice for that transaction had the recipient not been a member of the same VAT group.
To ensure the semantic, syntactic and technical interoperability of electronic invoices, the Pan-European public procurement online — Business Interoperability Specifications (PEPPOL-BIS) format is to be imposed as the main reference.
Taxable persons will have the option of derogating from this standard provided that two conditions are met:
Although entry into force of the new rules is foreseen as being 1 January 2026, given the prevalence of mandatory e-invoicing regimes in many other countries, international businesses should consider the best strategic approach to complying with these obligations globally in an integrated and structured manner.