FAQ - Filing

1. In which format and unit should the figures be made up?

The euro unit with no decimal point is the general rule both for filing and publishing annual accounts, whether in the abbreviated model or full model. However, to make it easier to recover data from the bookkeeping, annual accounts that are to be filed electronically in XBRL-format may be expressed in units of euros without or with two decimal places. This second possibility enables the person filing the annual accounts to create an automatic link to his accounting data without having to check the rounding up or down of the figures. After being accepted by the NBB and validated with the help of the logical and arithmetic checks (to the nearest eurocent), the data will be rounded off by the NBB application to the nearest unit, for publication in PDF format.

2. Payment of annual accounts within 7 days of the attribution of the 'Awaiting payment' status

Since the NBB must make the relevant annual accounts available to third parties within the legal terms, these can only be accepted if the NBB has received the appropriate amount on its account, with the appropriate structured message, within seven calendar days of the date on which the status 'Wait for payment' has been assigned to the relevant annual accounts. The date on which such an annual account has been uploaded, will then be used by the Central Balance Sheet Office as the official date of deposit, even though the payment has not yet been received by the NBB on this date.

3. How can I check whether the annual accounts have been filed?

  1. Available at Consult
    Once annual accounts have been accepted, they are entered in the electronic register.
    The annual accounts filed as from 1 January 2009 can be consulted free of charge in Consult. The fact that you can consult a filed annual account is therefore also proof that the filing has taken place.
  2. Receipt of the letter 'Mededeling van neerlegging'
    Within 11 working days following the date of acceptance of the deposit, the NBB sends a letter 'Mededeling van neerlegging' to the legal entity to which the document relates.

Source: royal decree: Companies Code: art. 3:72

4. Where can I find the payment details?

The payment details can be found in the Filing application if you have already opted for a bank transfer.

Filing-> Follow-up-> Click on 'wait for transfer'-> right above the pdf version 'overview transfer data'.

5. You wish to delete (an) annual account(s) you have uploaded, whatever the reason?

This can be done as long as the annual accounts are still in the 'Awaiting payment' or even in the 'Awaiting transfer' status. To do so, go to 'Follow-up', and then click on the link underneath the 'Awaiting payment' or 'Awaiting transfer' status. On the next screen, click on button 'Delete' in the bottom left-hand corner.

As soon as the annual account(s) is (are) in the 'Filing recorded' status, they can no longer be deleted. Only a corrected filing can then be carried out.

6. Payment by bank transfer - indication of the structured communication required

The structured communication is required in order to link the payment to the filing of one or more annual accounts.

The absence of a structured communication leads to the refusal of the deposit.

7. The annual accounts file is too big

As from 1 April 2015 new rules regulate the maximum size of XBRL an PDF files when filing annual accounts.

  1. For XBRL files the maximum admitted size has been raised from 2 MB to 3 MB.
  2. For PDF files the maximum size depends on the number of pages in the annual account:
  • less than 100 pages: maximum size is 3 MB (unchanged)

  • between 100 and 499 pages: maximum size is 10 MB

  • 500 pages or more: maximum size is 18 MB

When the maximum size exceeds 3 MB, this is most likely due to the size of the encapsulated reports in the form of a PDF file.

  1. Optimising the size of the PDF files with PDF writer (software)
    The annual report, the auditor's report and the shareholders structure can be transformed in PDF files using a (free) software. Any application providing a 'print to pdf' function will do. By searching for 'free pdf creator' on the internet, you will find the right software. Aftwerwards, these PDF files can be added to the XBRL file.
  2. Rules for scanning annual accounts in the form of paper

Annual accounts which are only available on paper must be scanned:

  • with a resolution of 300 dpi (lower resolutions will reduce the quality)

  • as text ('scan as text') and not as image ('scan as image')

8. Which annual accounts can be filed in XBRL?

  • The annual accounts are drawn up according to a standard model
  • The financial statements are presented in euros. Annual accounts in foreign currency or in an outdated currency (BEF) must be filed as PDF.
  • The entity is not a foreign company

99% of the annual accounts are filed in the form of an XBRL file.

9. For filing the annual account, any valid eID may be used

In addition to the qualified certificates from Certipost, Globalsign and Isabel, annual accounts can be filed through the Internet using the authentication certificate appearing on the Belgian electronic identity card (eID) which is already in your possession or which you can request from your municipal authorities. Any valid eID may be used for filing the annual account.

When replacing your eID, you should take into consideration that a new certificate can only be used after 3 days to file annual accounts through the Internet.

10. What does the error message 'Invalid content was found [...]. Probably an older taxonomy has been used.'?

Your annual accounts file was drawn up with outdated software.

  • Or contact your software supplier for the update of your accounting package.
  • Or upload the XBRL file to Sofista for validation and preservation.

11. What's the official filing date?

The official filing date is the date that an accepted annual account has been uploaded.

A few examples in order to clarify this:

Example 1:

Saturday 1. July – annual account is uploaded
Monday 3. July – annual account is accepted
Wednesday 5. July – collection of filing costs
The annual account is published. The filing date is Saturday 1.. July.


Example 2:

Saturday 15. May – – annual account is uploaded
Monday 17. May – annual account is refused
Monday 17. May – new filing and acceptance of an adapted annual account
Wednesday 19.May – collection of filing costs
The annual account is published. The filing date is Monday 17. May

12. Format of files?

  1. XBRL-file (structured data file):
    • for standardized annual accounts


  2. PDF-file (Portable Document Format):
    • for annual accounts using a non-standard model
      (for exemple: credit institutions, insurance companies, national health services, pension funds)
    • for consolidated annual accounts
    • for annual accounts of foreign companies

13. What does the error message 'the pdf file contains tags' mean?

You can correct the pdf file in two ways:

  • by printing and re-scanning the documents as compressed PDF, DinA4 paper size
  • or make a new copy with a pdf printer (editor) such as Smallpdf, Cutepdfwriter,...

13. Creating PDF files

In some cases, a filing includes not only an annual account, but other documents as well; the most common examples are the annual report and the auditors' report. When filing an annual account in the form of a pdf file, all these documents must be merged into one pdf file, so as to form a single filing entry. The following actions may be required for this purpose:

  • MERGING PDF FILES: in order to merge several pdf files into one new pdf file, a specific software application must be used. For free applications such as mergepdf.net or Quick PDF Tools, we recommend you to search for 'pdf merge freeware' on the internet. It is generally sufficient to select two or more files in the correct sequence: the application will then merge them, and you will be able to save the new pdf file on your computer.
  • EDITING PDF FILES: should you wish not only to merge several pdf files into one new pdf file, but also to edit the new file by
    • rearranging and/or removing pages
    • adding metadata such as the author's name, a title, a subject or keywords
    • adding bookmarks (e.g. at the beginning of the balance sheet, the profit and loss account and the notes),

    then the afore-mentioned editing programs must offer additional features. For free applications such as PDFHammer or Adolix Split & Merge PDF, we recommend you to search for 'pdf merge rearrange freeware' on the internet.

15. Javascripts

For security reasons, it is not allowed for PDF-files containing the complete annual account or which are added to an annual account in the form of a structured data file, to contain javascripts. Some javascripts can indeed harm the computersystem of the National Bank. What should you do?

    • annual accounts made up according to a standard model may not contain any javascripts when you file them in the form of a structured datafile (XBRL-file) instead of a pdf-file; for this purpose, the Central Balance Sheet Office puts a free online application at your disposal
    • documents in the form of a pdf-file which can be added to a structured datafile (XBRL-file), such as the declaration concerning the structure of shareholders, the report of the commissioner and the annual report, may not contain any javascripts when you add them as text (thus without any graphic elements such as logos, signatures), instead of as a pdf-file; you only have to 'copy' the text of the report and 'paste' it in the appropriate part of the software with which you draw up you annual accounts
  • REMOVAL: you can remove javascripts with the optimize function in a pdf-editor; in most cases you must activate the function 'Discard All JavaScript Actions' in the pdf-editor; for free applications, we advise you to look for 'free pdf optimizer' on the internet.

16. How to disable 'no Fast Web View' in Adobe Reader?

In the following way you can disable 'no Fast Web View' in Adobe Reader:

  • Edit > Preferences > Documents
  • Deselect the box 'Save As optimizes for Fast Web View' in 'Save Settings'.

17. May the annual accounts be filed in paper form?

No, the filing of annual accounts on paper will no longer be possible as from 1 January 2020.

More info