When you want to rent a warehouse in Belgium for logistics activities and storage, you are not charged VAT under normal circumstances. There are several legal possibilities to make the rental of your warehouse subject to VAT. If you take these conditions into account together with the owner of the logistics property, you as a tenant can be charged the VAT..
In addition to using your logistics warehouse as storage space, you also need space for other purposes. Offices and sanitary facilities for instance are part of the supporting spaces for storage activities. If these premises for other purposes amount to less than 10% of the floor space of the entire building, the rental of your warehouse can be subject to VAT. The offices must be intended for the warehouse manager, who is responsible for managing the stored goods.
Your logistics warehouse must be a separate building and must be actually and exclusively used for storing goods. When storage space is used (partially) for a production activity, the rent is no longer subject to VAT.
Your logistics warehouse must actually be used for storing goods. When the storage space is used (partially) for a production activity, this rule no longer applies.
Real estate leasing
Another way where you can be charged VAT for the rental of your warehouse is by using real estate leasing, where certain conditions apply:
- It concerns a customized, newly-built warehouse at the customer’s instructions
- The minimum term of the lease is 15 years
- The lessee has a purchase option after 15 years (at market conditions and the rent paid in the meantime is not deducted from the purchase option)
- The total amount of periodic rent prices must make it possible to reconstitute the invested capital in full (without taking the purchase option into account)
- The notary is responsible for the registration of the “operational off-balance lease”
- There is no restriction imposed on the activity (storage, production, office, etc.)
Finally, the rental of warehouses in harbour areas is always subject to VAT. Irrespective of the activity in the warehouse, the lessee is charged the VAT in these specific areas. Make sure that the location of the area is officially recognized as a “harbour area.” Airports also fall under these conditions. Bear in mind that the competent authority imposes restrictions on the activities that may be carried out in the harbour area.
The general principle that the rental of immovable property is exempted from VAT applies in Belgium, so the owner is not entitled to deduct the VAT on real estate. A flexible and advantageous formula can certainly be worked out for the rental of your warehouse in consultation with your logistics partner.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning that there is still no final position on professional rental with VAT, as announced in the summer agreement of 2017.