VAT due when submitting an import declaration…
Companies importing goods in Belgium should in principle pay VAT directly when submitting an import declaration. It implies a pre-financing of taxes since VAT is paid at the customs but can only be deducted in the VAT return.
…unless a deferred payment is applicable
That is the reason why Belgium has established, like many European countries, a reverse charge mechanism in the VAT return enabling to avoid this VAT pre-financing [the VAT due is paid and deducted in the same VAT return].
Currently, the company that wants to apply this mechanism must be authorized (through an E.T. 14.000 license) and pay a VAT advanced amount equal to 1/24th of the total amount of VAT due upon importations it had performed over the previous year. This amount must be revised every year.
New administrative guidelines
Therefore, this system is financially disadvantageous and administratively complicated and, consequently, a high number of taxable persons are using the Netherlands for their imported goods (rather than the Port of Antwerp). That is why the Belgian Government has decided to abolish the obligation of VAT pre-financing and establish, from January 1st, 2013, new regulations for the application of the reverse charge mechanism without financial constraint for importers.
Existing E.T. 14.000 license holders which paid a deposit in 2012 will be allowed to apply for a refund of the advanced VAT payments via their periodical VAT return.
Circular 30/2012 dd 28/09/2012