From February 1, 2022, the law on arrears of payment for B2B invoices has been changed in Belgium. In accordance with the law of 2 August 2002 relating to the fight against late payment in commercial transactions (known as the law on payments), the payment period for commercial transactions between companies (B2B) is in principle 30 days.
Classically, this payment period can be extended to 60 days. The law on late payments also provides that it may be agreed that the period only runs from the moment the customer has verified the conformity of the good or service, with a maximum period of control and verification of 30 maximum calendar days.
In practice, this additional time for control and verification is often used to extend the maximum payment term from 60 days to 90 days, which is too long for many companies.
The legislator intervened to protect companies against excessively long payment terms, to prevent arrears of payment.
From February 1, 2022, the law on arrears has been changed and the loophole to artificially extend the legal payment deadline will be closed by the legislator in two ways:
- first, the monitoring and verification period must be an integral part of the payment period. Companies can therefore no longer agree that the payment period will only begin after the customer has verified the conformity of the good or service;
- on the other hand, the date of receipt of the invoice – and therefore the start date of the payment period – can no longer be contractually determined. The customer is also obliged to provide the supplier with all necessary billing information no later than upon receipt of the goods or services.
From February 1, 2022, the parties can only, by agreement, extend the legal payment period to a maximum of 60 days. Exceptions to this maximum duration are only possible for specific sectors by royal decree. A contractual clause which provides for a longer payment period is considered unwritten, so that the statutory payment period of 30 days applies.
From February 1, 2022, in the event of late payment, the amount remaining due will also be automatically increased by late payment interest and a fixed compensation of EUR 40. Previously, the law on arrears of payment provided only the right for the creditor to demand default interest.