Tax Insights May 2020 - Coronavirus: 6% on surgical masks and hydro-alcoholic gels

Hereby, we would like to inform you about some new support measures introduced by the Belgian tax administration in the context of the Corona crisis.

On 5 May 2020, the Belgian tax administration provided for a temporary reduction in the VAT rate for hand grips and mouth masks (Royal Decree 5 May 2020, Circular 2020/C/65). 

The reduced VAT rate of 6% applies to all supplies, intra-Community acquisitions and imports of mouth masks and hydroalcoholic gels made in Belgium. However, this is a temporary measure, which applies to the above transactions for which VAT becomes chargeable from 4 May 2020 until 31 December 2020.

This temporary reduced VAT rate only applies to the following goods:

  • Surgical masks with the following commodity codes: 4818 90 10 00, 4818 90 90 00, 6307 90 98 10, 6307 90 98 91, 6307 90 98 99 or 9020 00 00 80;
  • Hydro-alcoholic gels: hand gels intended for human hygiene, irrespective of the percentage of ethanol.

For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that the temporary total exemption from import VAT introduced by Circular 2020/C/54 of 17 April 2020 takes precedence over this new Circular 2020/C/65. Concretely, this means that the import of goods, intended for use in Belgium for the combat of the Coronavirus, by governmental or charitable organizations with the intention to provide them free of charge to persons affected by the Coronavirus or involved in the combat of the Coronavirus is temporarily exempt from import VAT untill 31 July 2020.

If you would like to receive additional information on this matter, the tax team of RSM Belgium is at your disposal: [email protected]


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