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Belgium

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Financial reporting framework in Belgium

Adoption of IFRSs in Europe effective in 2005

In June 2002, the European Union adopted an IAS Regulation requiring European companies listed in an EU securities market, including banks and insurance companies, to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRSs starting with financial statements for financial year 2005 onwards. EU countries have the option to:

  • Require or permit IFRSs for unlisted companies.
  • Require or permit IFRSs in parent company (unconsolidated) financial statements.
  • Permit companies whose only listed securities are debt securities to delay IFRS adoption until 2007.
  • Permit companies that are listed on exchanges outside of the EU and that currently prepare their primary financial statements using a non-EU GAAP (in most cases this would be US GAAP) to delay IFRS adoption until 2007.

The European IAS regulation applies not only to the 28 EU Member States but also to the three members of the European Economic Area (EEA) - Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Belgium is an EU Member State. Consequently, Belgian companies listed in an EU/EEA securities market follow IFRSs since 2005. The European Commission (EC) periodically issues a document which summarises the use of options of the IAS Regulation by European Union Member States. For information on each country's plans, click to access:

The European Commission has adopted the following wording for use in the notes to the accounts and in the audit reports of companies subject to EU Regulation 1606/2002/EC (the 'IAS regulation'):

  • "in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the EU" or
  • "in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the EU".

Companies may also state, in a footnote, compliance with IFRSs as adopted by the IASB, if that is the case.

Unlisted Belgian banks must use IFRSs

Under a Royal Decree dated 5 December 2004, unlisted banks and other credit institutions in Belgium have been required to use IFRSs in their consolidated financial statements starting in 2006. Listed Belgian companies, including credit institutions, must prepare their consolidated financial statements using IFRSs starting in 2005 under the EU Accounting Regulation. If an unlisted credit institution is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a foreign parent, preparation IFRS consolidated statements may not be required if certain conditions are met, including the filing of consolidated financial statements of the foreign group in French or Dutch in Belgium. Belgium does not permit IFRSs to be used in separate financial statements.

Unlisted Belgian companies can use IFRSs for consolidated financial statements

Under a Royal Decree dated 18 January 2005, an unlisted company can voluntary decide to prepare its consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRSs. This decision must be made by the Board of Directors and is irrevocable.

Belgian Real Estate Investment Trusts must use IFRSs

Under a Royal Decree dated 21 June 2006, all (listed and unlisted) real estate investment trusts (SICAFI / Vastgoedbevak) in Belgium have been required to use IFRSs in their consolidated and individual financial statements starting in 2007. Listed Belgian real estate investment trusts have been required to prepare their consolidated financial statements using IFRSs starting in 2005 under the EU Accounting Regulation.

Unlisted Belgian insurance companies must use IFRSs

Under a Royal Decree of 27 September 2009 (PDF 327k), insurance companies must prepare their consolidated financial statements according to IFRSs as adopted by the EU for accounting years starting on or after 1 January 2012. The board of directors may decide to apply IFRSs as from accounting years starting on or after 1 January 2010 but such decision shall be irrevocable.

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.