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Statutory financial statements
Preparing and filing financial statements in Belgium
The obligation for preparing and filing financial statements in Belgium is primarily based on the size of a company. Who needs to prepare the statutory financial statements?
Size of companies
As per article 1:24 of the Code of companies and associations, a company is considered large if more than one of the following criteria is exceeded:
- Annual average workforce: 50
- Total assets: 4 500 000 EUR
- Annual turnover (excluding VAT): 9 000 000 EUR
As per article 1:25 of the Code of companies and associations, a company is considered as a micro-company if:
- It does not exceed more than one of the following criteria at the closing date of the year:
- Annual average workforce: 10
- Total assets: 350 000 EUR
- Annual turnover (excluding VAT): 700 000 EUR
- It is not a subsidiary, nor a parent company.
All other companies are considered small.
Regarding the criteria on turnover, when more than the half of the income resulting from the normal activity of the company is recorded elsewhere than in the turnover, it is the total of the operating and financial income, other than the non-recurring income, that must be taken into account.
These criteria are computed by entity individually, except for the parent companies where the criteria remain to be evaluated at the consolidation level.
A change of category occurs when an entity is in a different category during 2 years. The category will change the following year.
Obligations of companies
Micro, small and large entities must keep a full set of books (double entry accounting), based upon the legally imposed minimum chart of accounts (article III.84 of the Code of Business and Economic Law). A "full set of books" is defined as comprising: subsidiary ledgers such as sales, purchases, cash books, etc. which are centralised in the general ledger. A company is obliged to take yearly inventory of all its assets and liabilities and record the results in an "inventory book" which can be edited from the accounting system. Belgian GAAP as defined in the royal decree of 29 April 2019 must be applied by all companies for their statutory annual accounts. IFRS or other GAAP are not allowed.
Filing of the financial statements
All companies are required to file annual financial statements (comprising a balance sheet, income statement, notes to the financial statements, summary of accounting principles, list of board members) according to the predefined format determined by the Central Balance Sheet Office. They have also to file to the National Bank of Belgium some documents as prescribed by article 3:12 of the Code of companies and associations.
Depending of the size of the companies (micro, small or large), there is a specific template of annual accounts (micro, abbreviated or full). All formats of annual financial statements are published by the Central Balance Sheet Office based on the prescriptions of the royal decree of 29 April 2019.
The language in which the financial statements must be established, is the official language of the region in which the company has its registered office:
- Flanders region: Dutch
- Walloon region: French
- German region: German
- Brussels region: Dutch or French or both (choice)
If applicable, the financial statements are accompanied by a statutory management report prepared in accordance with articles 3:5 and 3:6 of the Code of companies and associations and by the statutory auditor's report. All documents should be filed together at the Central Balance Sheet Office.
The statutory financial statements should be approved by the shareholders' meeting within 6 months after closing and filed at the Central Balance Sheet Office within 1 month after such approval.
Other missions than audit
Other missions than the audit of the financial statements (report to the works council, other reports as foreseen by the Code of companies and associations) are generally performed according to the specific standards issued by the the Belgian Institute of Company Auditors (Instituut van de Bedrijfsrevisoren | Institut des Réviseurs d'entreprises).
The auditor must also be a member of the Belgian Institute of Company Auditors.
Filing of statutory financial statements
Please refer to the website of the National Bank of Belgium for detailed information regarding the filing of annual accounts.
All financial statements filed at the Central Balance Sheet Office can be consulted online (and downloaded for free in PDF or XBRL format).
National Bank of Belgium