Ask your client to sign a destination document for intra-community sales

Intracommunity deliveries of goods are principally free of VAT. Two substantive conditions are added in order for intra-community deliveries to be zero-rated: the recipient must have a correct VAT number, and, the transaction must be reported correctly on the recapitulative statement. If one of these conditions is not met, the suppliers will be liable for the payment of VAT.

The transportation of goods from one country to another country must be substantiated with documents. The rules for proof of delivery have been harmonized at a European level now, and depend on the party which arranges for the transportation.

If the seller arranges for the transportation, the seller should gather at least 2 non-contradictory pieces of proof of the transportation, issued by 2 different independent third parties (e.g. shipping documents, invoice shipping agent). The seller is also allowed to document the transaction with 1 non-contradictory proof of the transportation, accompanied by 1 non-contradictory proof relating indirectly to the transport (e.g. insurance agreement, bank statement for proof of payment).

If the buyer arranges for the transportation, then on top of the aforesaid required documents, the seller needs a written declaration from the buyer or from a third party acting on behalf of the buyer, in which she/he confirms that the goods are transported by her/him. Also the country of destination must be mentioned in this declaration. This document is referred to as “destination document”.

The new European VAT regulations do not restrict the use of other proof of evidence. At this point the Belgian VAT regulations prescribe that as a general rule the seller must be able to prove the transportation by means of sufficient documentation. The seller is also allowed to proof the delivery of goods to another European member state with the “destination document” as described above, if it is not into contradiction with other shipping documents.