As a basic rule, an importer must pay VAT on goods imported from outside the EU. However, it is possible to deviate from this rule in the Netherlands and Belgium. If you have a licence as an importer (this is an Article 23 permit [Artikel 23 vergunning] in the Netherlands and an ET 14000 in Belgium), you may ‘transfer’ the import VAT to your periodic VAT administration, where you can immediately deduct the import VAT as input tax. This means that – on balance – you do not pay VAT, which gives you improved liquidity.
SGS e-Customs has the permits required to act as a fiscal representative in the Netherlands and Belgium. With our many years of experience in even the most complex VAT constructions, we can call ourselves the leading specialist in the field of limited fiscal representation (LFR). With our knowledge and expertise, we help our clients to save millions of euros in VAT payments every year.
Our way of working
Together with you, we map out flows of goods and finances to determine which form of fiscal representation is right for you and the responsibilities they entail. We then make agreements on the delivery of assignments and additional information so that we can ensure that you are in compliance with your customs and VAT obligations. We will maintain all contact with the customs and the tax and customs authorities on your behalf.
Non-Dutch companies that import via the Netherlands cannot apply for an Article 23 permit. This same rule applies to non-Belgian companies importing through Belgium. However, Dutch and Belgian customs legislation does provide for a facility, called limited fiscal representation (LFR), whereby non-Dutch and non-Belgian importers can also avoid paying VAT on importation. In the case of LFR, a fiscal representative takes over the importer’s VAT obligation, after which the fiscal representative notionally delivers the goods in question to the importer concerned. For the importer, this is a purchase from another EU country instead of from outside the EU. In the case of purchases from another EU country, VAT may always be shifted to the periodic VAT administration throughout Europe. This means that non-Dutch companies can also benefit from the improved liquidity referred to above.
SGS e-Customs by the numbers
Transit declarations per year
Export declarations in the Netherlands, Belgium and UK per year