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Belgium extends EORI identification to import operations

Executive summary

As of 7 January 2017, the use of Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers in Belgian customs declarations has been extended to import declarations. Belgian Customs officials have made the necessary modifications to the electronic clearance system, PLDA. Until recently, the use of EORI numbers in Belgium was limited to exporters, declarants and transit principals. Since the above date, importers are also required to mention their EORI number on an import declaration (in box 8), whereas they were previously required to mention their Belgian value added tax (VAT) number (or Belgian global fiscal representative’s number) in that same box.

The proper identification for VAT purposes remains in box 44: this concerns the identification of the addressee for VAT purposes (VAT taxable event of importation) and - where applicable – the identification of the subsequent addressee of the goods in another European Union (EU) Member State (VAT exemption for the subsequent intracommunity supply of the imported goods).

Detailed discussion

EORI overview

An EORI number is a unique registration number that is valid throughout the EU and used in customs operations. In principle, a company can only have one EORI number in the EU.

Any economic operator established in the EU that is involved in customs operations needs to have an EORI number. Economic operators established outside the EU have to be assigned an EORI number if they file a customs declaration, an Entry or an Exit Summary Declaration.

Companies established in the EU need to register in their country of establishment. Companies established outside the EU need to register where they first file a declaration or apply for a decision.

In Belgium, the EORI number of a legal person takes the form of the Belgian enterprise register number (Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises – BCE/Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen – KBO).

The formalities of the application can differ depending on the country in which the economic operator should file the application.

Linking EORI and VAT numbers

As of the 1 July 2010, VAT numbers have to be uploaded to the EORI central system. When performing taxable activities in several Member States, different VAT numbers will co-exist. The competent Authorities in the Member State of registration will have to upload all VAT numbers and link these to the EORI number.

When a taxpayer applies for an EORI number, the VAT number(s) should be indicated on the EORI application form. This information will enable the Member State of EORI registration to link the assigned EORI number to the existing VAT number(s).

It is not a prerequisite to have a VAT number in order to obtain an EORI number.

It is important to note that if the VAT number was not yet assigned at the time of EORI application or if the applicant does not mention its VAT number(s) on the EORI application form, no link will exist between the VAT number(s) and the EORI number. Applicants can request cross-reference of the VAT number(s) and EORI number by contacting the Competent Authorities in the Member State of EORI registration. In Belgium, an economic operator can thus request to link VAT number(s) to a Belgian EORI number. If a link between the VAT number(s) and the EORI number is not properly done, there is a risk that a customs declaration will fail validation.

EYG no. 01077-171Gbl

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