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NEW ACCOUNTING RULES
 
Belgium has finally implemented the European Accounting Directive 2013/34/EU (1)  that replaced the Fourth and Seventh Accounting Directives. The Act of 18 December 2015 (2) will simplify and modernise the accounting rules and the annual reporting obligations.

The Act raises the thresholds for large companies and introduces the notion of micro-undertakings.

Large companies are companies that have meet two of the three conditions of size:

- an annual turnover in excess of EUR 9,000,000 (exclusive of VAT, instead of EUR 7,300,000),

- total assets over EUR 4,500,000 (instead of EUR 3,650,000),

- more than fifty employees on average during the year.

Small companies meet not more than one of these conditions.

Micro-companies are undertaking that do not exceed more than one of the following criteria:

- an annual turnover of EUR 700,000 ;

- total assets of EUR 350,000 ;

- an annual average of ten employees ;

It is only when a company meets these conditions for two consecutive years that a micro-company becomes a small company or that a small company becomes a large company.

Group companies do not have to calculate these criteria on a consolidated basis anymore.  Only the parent company will have to do so. Moreover, group companies will only have to file consolidated accounts if they are part of a large group with total assets over EUR 17 million and an annual turnover over EUR 34 million. 

The distinction is important as only large companies must file a full set of accounts, small companies publish a limited set of accounts and micro-companies will file micro accounts with minimal explanations ; in other EU Member States, there is no obligation for micro companies to file and publish their accounts ; the proposal to release them from publication has not been taken up.

The format of the balance sheet to be filed has been restructured (there will be no “exceptional profit” anymore). The so-called “social balance sheet” is not part of the annual accounts anymore and will be filed separately.

Moreover, large companies are excluded from certain tax benefits and other incentives such as the reduction of the wage withholding tax for small companies (1.12%) and for start-ups (10%, 20% for micro-companies).  However, for tax purposes, the criteria will continue to be examined on a consolidated basis even if the companies must not file consolidated accounts anymore.

This is a major simplification for over 320,000 companies (is over 83% of all companies), in particular management companies or one man companies. Moreover, the cost of filing will be reduced since the annual accounts must not be published in the Belgian State Gazette anymore.

___________________________

(1) Directive 2013/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC, OJ L 182, 29.6.2013, p. 19-76

(2) Act of 18 December 2015 implementing Directive 2013/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC, Belgian State Gazette, 30 December 2015, errata 13 January 2016.
   Royal Decree of 18 December 2015 implementing Directive 2013/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC, Belgian State Gazette, 30 December 2015.




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