Why it is essential to ensure you are properly registered with the crossroads bank for enterprises

It is important for all companies to ensure that their details registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) are kept up to date. The CBE is the central register of the FPS Economy in which all the basic information of companies and their business entities are recorded. The information contained in the CBE is distributed to the various public services (such as the VAT authorities, the National Social Security Office and the tax offices). 

Who is required to register with the CBE?  
Every businessperson or company must register in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises before starting to perform economic activities. The following companies are required to register with the CBE:

  • a legal entity under Belgian law;
  • branches, bodies and services under Belgian law that perform public services or tasks associated with public order and that have financial autonomy or autonomy in respect of their accounts from those legal entities under Belgian law of which they are dependents;
  • legal entities under foreign or international law that have a registered office in Belgium or that are required to register themselves as a result of a requirement imposed by Belgian legislation;
  • every natural person who performs, as an independent entity:
    - an economic and professional activity ordinarily, primarily or subsidiarily in Belgium;
    - or who is required to register themselves as a result of a requirement imposed by Belgian legislation;
  • associations without legal personality that are required to register themselves as a result of a requirement imposed by Belgian legislation;
  • those business entities of the above companies. 

When registering with the CBE every company is issued an enterprise number, which is a unique identification number for each natural person or legal entity made up of ten figures, mostly starting with a 0 followed by nine figures, which is also your VAT number. You are required by law to use the enterprise number. 

Basic information and all activities
The Crossroads Bank for Enterprises holds all the basic details of companies and their business entities. Aside from the actual company data (name, address, etc), the CBE registration must also state the activities of the company. This is done using what are known as NACEBEL codes. Using the CBE Public Search you can look up and consult the public details or every registered company and business entity online. Incorrect and incomplete details could lead to the public services drawing the wrong conclusions and unanticipated costs. 

What happens if your registration with the CBE is incorrect or incomplete?  

Fines 
Fines can be imposed upon those companies that do not report their details properly with the CBE, although they are fortunately rarely used. The company has a period of 30 days after being informed to register, amend or delete details by the designated service. If the company does not fulfil these formalities in that time, the management service can have the incorrect details deleted ex officio.  

Inadmissibility of legal claims
The consequences of being incompletely or incorrectly registered with the CBE can be far-reaching. The Business Law Code imposes specific rules, for example, that summonses and claims must comply with, which can be briefly summed up as follow:

  • the claimant’s enterprise number must be stated on the summons. If it is not present, the courts will grant an adjournment to give the claimant the chance to demonstrate that they are actually registered with the CBE. But if the claimant cannot demonstrate they were registered with the CBE on the date when the claim was instituted, the claim will be dismissed as inadmissible;
  • when a company is registered with the CBE but its claim is based on an activity for which it was not registered on the date the claim was instituted or that does not fall under the corporate objects for which the company was registered on that date, the claim will likewise be dismissed as inadmissible. 

In real terms this means that a company that performs activities that are not registered with the CBE shall not be able to bring legal proceedings in order to obtain payment for its work. The court will not hear the grounds for the matter and will only go so far as to declare the claim inadmissible. Even though the legal claim can – subject to the registration being regularised – be reinstituted, the company will still have to bear the costs. 

National Social Security Office reductions 
Since 1 July 2014 the business entity number that must be stated for every employee has been the determining factor in respect of the region in which that employee is employed and thus which reductions on contributions apply to him or her. 

If the business entity number is absent or incorrect, the National Social Security Office will officially reject the reductions for the employee or employees concerned.  A business entity is defined as follows: ‘any location that can be identified in geographic terms by an address, where at least one activity is performed by the company or from where the activity is performed’. This could be a branch, a warehouse, a factory, a studio or anything else. 

Claiming subsidies 
The federal authorities, the regions and the local authorities all provide subsidies to people who invest money to start up a company of their own, to employers, for environmentally-friendly investments and for others. When they award these subsidies they use the details recorded with the CBE. 

Professional expenses could be disallowed
Not all expenses are automatically professional ones that can consequently be deducted. Those professional expenses incurred by a business are in principle only deductible when they are incurred for achieving the business’s objective.

  • For a company, that is firstly the corporate object and then the activities as listed with the CBE.
  • For a natural person, only the activities as listed with the CBE count.

That means that the costs for activities not listed with the CBE can be disallowed.

Check regularly and change when necessary
What this means is that it is crucial that the CBE registration is properly checked, and not only when a company starts up. It will be of benefit to every company to check whether the registration is still correct in respect of activities performed at regular intervals. If it is established that there are errors, then they must be corrected as soon as possible.  Also check whether the primary and secondary objects are still correct. 

Updating the CBE details 
The Corporate Housekeeping team at Business Legal screens the information registered with the CBE at the client’s request and checks what information must be updated, with due regard for the corporate object of the company, how they relate to permits and any publication in the Belgian Official Journal. 

The requirement to register gets a broader scope
More entrepreneurs must register with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE)
Under the aim of creating a more attractive business climate, changes were made to the existing company law. In that context, the legislator has done away with the ‘trader’ concept, replacing it with the umbrella term ‘enterprise. Besides forming the basis for the rules of the Code of Economic Law, the Judicial Code and the Civil Code, the new enterprise concept also has consequences for reg
More specific: matrimonial property law
A new compensation obligation in the legal system
What if a spouse practices his profession in a company whose shares all form part of his separate property? The Act of 22 July 2018 has introduced considerable changes to matrimonial property law. This article addresses a specific addition to that law, namely the possible disadvantage incurred by the matrimonial property when a spouse practices their profession through their own company1. 
Changes in the cary proxy and usufruct
Estate planning: recent developments
Over the last few months, we have regularly reported on the important changes in estate planning and inheritance planning. Below is an update of some of those changes.   The care proxy: secure your estate for later The classic example is a person who, due to a physical or mental limitation (e.g. coma, dementia), is – temporarily or permanently – unable to manage their assets properly.
Happy Brexmas?
How to prepare your company for Brexit?
On 10 December 2018, the British Prime Minister decided to postpone the vote on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons. The risk of a ‘no deal’ disaster scenario is increasing. What are the important dates? On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom formally informed the European Council of its intention to leave the EU (according to the procedure provided in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty). C
A popular control structure
The all-powerful manager of a civil-law partnership: was it always a fiction?
The civil-law partnership has long been a popular control structure among wealth planners. In many cases, donors do not want to give up their assets entirely, and still want to retain some control over what they donate. Definitely in cases of transfers of family companies, the donors (often parents or family members) still want to retain control over the course of the business.  The advant
The tax framework
Company subsidies: exempted or not?
Various subsidies were briefly described in the article by our colleagues from Strategy and Operations. They explained that they can assist you and your company with guidance on subsidies, from A to Z.1 In this context, we would like to discuss the tax framework for subsidies: how are awarded subsidies treated tax-wise within companies? Are these subsidies exempt from corporation tax and, if
Right to deduct VAT possible for costs incurred during the purchase of shares
The Ryanair ruling
Right to deduct VAT also possible for costs incurred during the purchase of shares, if the purchase ultimately does not (fully) go ahead The European Court of Justice recently confirmed that VAT on costs incurred during the purchase of shares may be deductible even if the purchase ultimately does not (fully) go ahead. As such, the Court of Justice has upheld the principle that the preparatory t
What are the options?
The deduction for investment: an illustration of the options
The deduction for investment allows companies and natural persons who earn profits or benefits to reduce their taxable profits by placing part of the acquisition or investment value of investments in new tangible and intangible fixed assets. Depending on the size of your business and the nature of your activities, you can generally apply the regular, one-off deduction for investment of 20% (tem
Valuation of usufruct
Now also a witch hunt when usufruct is sold?
In previous editions, we have already written about the valuation of usufruct when purchasing property, but recently there have also been regular reports of checks on the valuation of usufruct when reselling. However, up until now, the case law has followed the viewpoint of the taxpayer. Brief description For several years, there has been a lot of controversy regarding the valuation of usufruc
Vlabel is using conciliatory language
Has the decrease in Flemish sales duty led to an increase in the costs for purchases of usufruct?
The decrease in sales duty: also for split purchase usufruct-bare ownership The recent drop in the rate (to 7.00%) for purchases of family homes comes with a number of conditions. For example, the purchaser must be a natural person. Following some uncertainty, it was subsequently confirmed that, in the event of a split purchase of such a property by a company for the usufruct and the bare owner f

Subscribe to our newsletter