COVID-19 : VAT free donations of medical devices and protective equipment

08 May 2020

In the fight against COVID-19, the possibility of donating medical devices and protective equipment free of VAT has been introduced. What do you need to know about this?

What's it about ?

If you withdraw an asset from your company and give it away, this transaction is in principle deemed to be a taxable supply for consideration provided that the VAT was recovered in full or partially at the time of purchase of that asset or its components (Article 12, § 1, paragraph 1, 2° of the Belgian VAT Code). In this case, VAT is due on this application.

More precisely, you must charge VAT on the purchase price or the cost price of the goods, taking into account their condition and age at the time they are donated (Article 33, § 1, 1° of the Belgian VAT Code).

There are, however, some exceptions to this rule provided in legislation: namely the donation for charitable purposes of food, as well as essential and unsaleable goods (Article 12, § 1, paragraph 1, 2°, b) and c) of the Belgian VAT Code).

From now on, the Administration also accepts that medical devices and protective equipment for healthcare providers and patients can also be donated VAT-free under certain conditions (Circular 2020/C/58 of 21 April 2020). 

This is a temporary measure taken in the fight against the coronavirus. In particular, the goods can be donated VAT-free until 30 June 2020.

Which goods quality ?

Firstly, medical accessories intended to be used for diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease qualify. 

Also accessories intended for clinical research are eligible.

At the request of beneficiaries and due to market shortages, all other goods that can be used as medical devices, although not originally intended as such by the manufacturer, also qualify. 

Finally, protective equipment for healthcare providers and patients, such as e.g. mouth masks, protective clothing, soaps and handgels, but also diving goggles, safety goggles, waterproof ponchos, etc., are included.

Attention! Medicines remain excluded from this favourable regime. They can only be given away VAT-free for charitable purposes if it is not possible to sell them (e.g. because the expiry date is imminent or packaging is torn, etc.).

To whom can these goods be donated ?

An exhaustive list of beneficiaries is provided. The aforementioned goods can be donated VAT-free to the following entities:

  • hospitals and other approved care institutions; 

  • public authorities and other bodies governed by public law (e.g. FPS Public Health, police officers, emergency services, prisons) who will then be responsible for further distribution;

  • residential care centres;

  • Children's daycare centres;

  • institutions for the care of the disabled;

  • schools and universities;

  • humanitarian aid organisations;

  • institutions recognised by the General Administration of Customs and Excise who are allowed to import certain relief goods exempt from VAT and import duties  into the Belgian territory .


Donors and beneficiaries are required to draft a confirmation document, in which the beneficiary confirms that  the goods were obtained free of charge and commits to use the obtained goods personally or to make them available to another care facility free of charge.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Tim Van Sant. 



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Tim Van Sant

Tim Van Sant

Advocaat Vennoot / Avocat Associé, PwC Legal BV/SRL

Tel: +32 470 77 57 18

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