Following a recent proposal from the Finance Minister, the Belgian Government has approved a preliminary draft law making electronic invoicing between companies mandatory as of 1 January 2026.
What exactly does this mean for Belgian companies?
Today, electronic invoicing (‘e-invoicing’ or ‘digital invoicing’) is already mandatory for companies issuing invoices to the Federal and Flemish Governments. As of 2026, this will also become a standard practice for transactions between private companies.
As from 1 January 2026 onwards, Belgian companies will have to use ‘Structured Electronic Invoices’ sent via the so-called ‘PEPPOL Network’. PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, and is a secure network over which files, such as an e-invoice in UBL format, must be sent according to a specific protocol.
Structured Electronic Invoices are digital files in XML format (Extensible Markup Language), built according to a universal structure, the Universal Business Language (UBL). This structure ensures that software systems worldwide can read and process electronic invoices completely automatically.
PEPPOL was developed as an EU standard, but other countries in the world like Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, have already adopted it as well.
Invoices that are created, sent, received and processed digitally have numerous advantages. Many business processes can be automated, leading to time saving and administrative simplification for companies and their accountants.
For the government, electronic invoicing is above all a strong weapon in the fight against VAT fraud. This new preliminary draft is therefore in line with the Belgian Government’s objective to focus on the reduction of the so-called ‘VAT gap’. This is the overall difference between the expected VAT revenue and the amount actually collected.
Before the draft bill on electronic invoicing can be voted on, the Council of State, the High Council for the Self-Employed and SMEs, and a few others, like the Institute for Tax Advisors and Accountants (ITAA) must first give their opinion on the topic.