The rule: filing via the Internet

Article 101 of the Belgian Company Code stipulates that it is the King who decrees which categories of company may submit their annual accounts or consolidated annual accounts by other means than via the Internet. In the eyes of the law, filing accounts electronically is therefore the rule.

You can file your annual accounts or consolidated annual accounts electronically by uploading the corresponding file with the help of the special-purpose Internet application FILING, which is available on the website of the National Bank of Belgium. To gain access to this application, you must have a valid digital certificate officially recognised by the National Bank of Belgium. The use of such a digital certificate is necessary in order to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of the data sent in.

Each set of annual accounts or consolidated annual accounts must be uploaded as a separate file. Their submission must meet the technical requirements laid down in the general Protocol for filing annual accounts or consolidated annual accounts via the Internet (Dutch - French - German).

1. Annual accounts that are prepared with no departure from the full or abbreviated format for enterprises can be the subject of:

  • either a "structured data file" whose name ends with ".xbrl" (file extension)
  • or a "Portable Document Format file" with a file name ending in ".pdf".

As the filing fees for a structured data file are significantly lower than those for a PDF file, you have every interest in choosing to file your accounts in the form of a structured data file, wherever possible. This option will be examined in more detail below.

2. Any other set of annual accounts or consolidated annual accounts can only be filed via the Internet if the annual accounts or consolidated accounts are in the form of a PDF file.

With the Internet Application "Filing annual accounts via the Internet", two kinds of files can be uploaded:

  • either a "structured data file", prepared in accordance with XBRL technology.
    A structured file of this kind must comply with:
  • the applicable arithmetic and logic controls, and
  • all technical requirements laid down by the National Bank of Belgium, as set out in the "Protocol for the annual accounts filed via the Internet as a structured data file" (Dutch - French)
  • or a file in "Portable Document Format", whose file name ends with ".pdf". Such a file must comply with all technical requirements laid down by the National Bank and set out in the “Protocol for the annual accounts and consolidated accounts filed via the Internet as a PDF file" (Dutch - French - German).