Registration of establishment units with the CBE
The vice-prime minister and minister of Labor, Economy and Consumers, charged with Foreign Trade confirmed in his answer to a parliamentary question (*) that all foreign or international legal entities registered with the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises (hereinafter referred to as “CBE”) for social security or tax purposes or following another obligation imposed by Belgian law, should register their establishment units with the CBE. The answer to the parliamentary question furthermore explicitly confirmed that representation offices or permanent establishments for direct tax, VAT or social law purposes have to be registered with the CBE, if the conditions of an establishment unit are fulfilled.
According to article III.16 §1 of the Belgian Code of Economic Law, legal entities incorporated under foreign or international law registered with the CBE following an obligation imposed by Belgian law (such as the registration for social security or tax purposes), also have the obligation to register their establishment units. An establishment unit is defined in the Belgian Code of Economic Law as: “a place which can be identified geographically by an address, where at least one activity of the company is exercised or from which that activity is being exercised”.
Besides the aforementioned definition of an establishment unit, it has been acknowledged that the requirements of sustainability and stability should simultaneously be met. The preparatory works of the Belgian law of 16 January 2003 relating to the establishment of a Crossroads Bank of Enterprises, the modernisation of the commercial register, the establishment of business counters and containing various provisions specify in this respect that establishment units relate to places of activity such as business units, establishments and production-units. They exclude for example construction sites, taking into account that they are only considered as being of a temporary nature.
Consequently, a certain sustainability and stability via a permanent or semi-permanent structure is required.
The activities carried out at such establishment unit can have a commercial or non-commercial character, since the Code of Economic Law imposes no restriction or, conditions, regarding the type of activity.
It follows that representation offices or permanent establishments for direct tax, VAT or social law purposes, which can be considered as being sustainable and stable establishment units, have to be registered with the CBE.
(*) DO 2014201501873
Question no. 121 of the representative Mrs. Griet Smaers of 26 February 2015 to the vice-prime minister and minister of Labor, Economy and Consumers, charged with Foreign Trade