Registered cash register – as of 1 January 2017 the flat-rate scheme can no longer be applied!

As of 1 January 2017, companies that use a registered cash system shall no longer be able to apply a flat-rate scheme (Ruling BTW no. E.T.131.030 d.d. 10-1-.2016).

1. Historical context

From the very start when it became a requirement to introduce a registered cash register it was already being asked what the consequences would be of the introduction of the ‘white cash register’ for hospitality industry operators who are subject to a flat-rate scheme for VAT. The tax authorities had stated that a separate decision was yet to be made for flat-rate taxable parties and that until that time they could continue to apply their flat-rate scheme. The decision made on 10 November 2016 means that the taxable parties that apply a flat-rate scheme and those that employ a registered cash system – whether voluntarily or compulsorily – can no longer use the flat-rate scheme as of 1 January 2017. 

2. Affected businesses

Those sectors that can lose the flat-rate scheme as a result of the obligation to employ a ‘white cash register’ are:

    -    commercial ice cream makers
    -    French-fries sellers
    -    café and pub owners
    -    butchers and pork butchers
    -    bakers and confectioners.

Those companies in these industries that will be required to have a registered cash system or voluntarily use such a system will be officially subjected to the standard VAT scheme as of 1 January 2017.

The implementation of the so-called ‘white cash register’ is required when the annual sales from restaurant and catering services exceeds €25,000.

The tax authorities have announced that both the professional associations that represent these industries as well as the taxable parties concerned will be personally informed as soon as possible of this inconsistency and of the consequences of the transition to the standard tax scheme.

3. Who can still make use of the flat-rate scheme?

The following businesses that apply the flat-rate scheme can continue to do so after 1 January 2017:

    -    Companies with sales of less than €25,000 per annum from restaurant and catering services and that have not voluntarily employed a registered cash register (they must however issue tax receipts for these transactions).

     -    Companies whose activities are limited to just the supply of food and beverages (i.e. only take-aways and not on-site consumption).

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