Payment terms between SME and SMEs limited to 60 days

With effect from April 29, 2020 (for agreements concluded as from this date) enterprises in Belgium will not be able to agree in commercial transaction on payment terms exceeding 60 days if the creditor is an SME and the debtor is not an SME.

Following an amendment to the Belgian statute of August 2, 2002 on the prevention of late payment in commercial transactions, a non-SME can no longer contractually impose in a commercial transaction with an SME, a payment term exceeding 60 days. A clause to this extent will be considered unwritten.

An SME is defined as an enterprise which, at the time of the conclusion of the commercial transaction, does not exceed more than one of the following criteria:

  • an annual average of 50 employees,
  • an annual turnover of EUR 9,000,000 excluding value added tax,
  • a balance sheet total of EUR 4,500,000.

When no payment term has been agreed, the statute still stipulates a payment term of 30 days, starting (1) upon receipt of a request for payment / an invoice, (2) (failing such request / invoice) upon receipt of the goods or services, and (3) (failing such receipt), as from the acceptance / control of the (contractual) conformity of the goods or services.