Since 1st October 2014, you have been able to round the total amount payable by the consumer on a voluntary basis.

Since 1st December 2019, the situation has changed; you must now round the total amount of the sales receipt or the invoice that the customer pays in cash (coins and notes).

This obligation only applies to payments made when the customer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) are not affected.

You can also opt to round for all types of payment methods. In this case, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

Please bear in mind that payments using meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers are never rounded. 

The new rounding obligations affect all “companies” in the sense of Book VI of the Code of Economic Law, i.e. any natural or legal person who pursues a sustainable economic goal.

It is not just companies, in the usual sense of the word, that are required to round cash payments, but also the liberal professions and any individuals, associations, administrations, etc. that regularly engage in economic activities in relation to consumers.

Yes.

As soon as an association regularly carries out an economic activity, it is considered as a company and must comply with the rules on rounding the cash payments that it collects as part of these activities.

Whether or not an association is not-for-profit is irrelevant in this instance.

Yes, as long as the cash payments that they collect relate to economic activities in relation to consumers.

Thus, a municipality that manages a swimming pool, library or cultural centre for example, will be considered as a “company” for this type of activity. However, this will not be the case when it collects fees for issuing an identity card, since this activity is part of its public service mission and is not therefore “economic” in nature.

Yes. 

Pharmacists must round cash payments in line with the same procedures as any other company. There is no distinction between the products that they sell, it affects all of them.

You will find information and a circular (2019/307) about rounding in the health sector on the website of the RIZIV.

You must round the total amount of purchases for which the consumer pays in cash (coins and notes).

If you have chosen to round for other payment methods too, the total amount payable must be rounded, except if the customer pays with meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers: those can never be rounded.

So, you do not round the price of each item taken separately.

Rounding only applies to payments made when the customer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) are therefore not affected.

No.

The legal obligation to round only applies to payments made in cash (notes and coins). Debit or credit card payments are not cash payments.

However, you can decide to round for payment methods other than cash. In this case, you must apply it to all the payment methods that you accept and for all payments made by your individual customers when these are physically in your business. In this case, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

Please bear in mind that payments using meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers are never rounded. 

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x1 euro or x.x2 euros is rounded down to x.x0 euro. Example: 12.92 euros becomes 12.90 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x3 euros or x.x4 euros is rounded up to x.x5 euro. Example: 12.93 euros becomes 12.95 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x6 euros or x.x7 euros is rounded down to x.x5 euro. Example: 12.97 euros becomes 12.95 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x8 euros or x.x9 euros is rounded up to x.(x+1)0 euro. Example: 12.98 euros becomes 13.00 euros.

Amount paid in cash ends in

Rounding

x.x1

x.x0

x.x2

x.x0

x.x3

x.x5

x.x4

x.x5

x.x5

x.x5

x.x6

x.x5

x.x7

x.x5

x.x8

x.(x+1)0

x.x9

x.(x+1)0

Only coins and notes are considered as cash.

Amounts paid using meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers can never be rounded, even if you opt to apply the rounding in general.

Although it may seem strange, meal vouchers, eco-vouchers and other fixed-value vouchers can never be rounded off because they are not included in the list of means of payment laid down by the Code of Economic Law.

There are multiple complex legal reasons why they are an exception, in particular the fact that they are often a benefit in kind granted by a company to its employees. Those means of payment have nothing to do with tangible money, even if they are used to pay for purchases.

Therefore, when you receive a payment, part of which is paid with meal vouchers or eco-vouchers, you must first deduct that amount from your customer's total amount in order to determine the amount to be rounded off.

This also applies to fixed-value vouchers.

No.

Since rounding is mandatory for all cash payments, it is not necessary to inform your individual customers of this beforehand.

However, we advise you to do so verbally in the early days or weeks after this new measure comes into force. You can also use one of the FPS Economy's illustrations.

On the other hand, if you opt for the extended practice of rounding payment methods other than cash, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment (preferably at the cash desk).

No.

This is a mandatory measure for all cash payments made when the consumer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) and sales between companies are therefore not affected.

No.

A consumer cannot demand for the amounts paid in cash not to be rounded. If you do not round for other payment methods, in most cases, the consumer can always use another payment method.

Similarly, if you have decided to round for payment methods other than cash, your customer must respect your decision. However, you must visibly display the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

We recommend that you display this message near the checkout and don’t forget that payments using meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers can never be rounded..

No.

If you choose to round all payment types, all you need to do is inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

You do not have to inform anyone else that you are rounding for payment methods other than cash.

Yes.

You are entitled to stop rounding for payment methods other than cash.

Simply stop displaying the message The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 524.6 KB) which has informed your customers that you are rounding for all payment methods.

Attention: your checkout system may have to be adapted to comply with the provisions in terms of stating the amounts payable on the sales receipt, the invoice or any other voucher .

Rounding is mandatory for all consumers paying in cash (notes and coins). If a customer refuses to pay the rounded amount, the sale cannot take place and you must not provide the required product or service. If he absolutely wants to pay the uncovered amount, invite him to use a payment method other than cash.

One and two cent coins will continue to be legal tender. The decision to withdraw coins from circulation is made at a European level.

No such decision has currently been made. The new rules in force from 1st December 2019 will not change this.

No.

You cannot stop a customer from paying you using 1 and 2 cent coins.

However, you do not have to accept more than 50 coins in a single payment.

No.

You can never charge additional fees for cash payments.

Yes, you can give 1 and 2 cent coins as change.

Your customer cannot refuse them.

No.

Mandatory rounding only applies to sales to the end consumer (B2C), when the consumer is physically present during the payment.

Mandatory rounding does not apply to transactions between companies (B2B), even if your customer “company” is not liable for VAT.

No.

Rounding is only permitted for cash payments when the consumer is physically present in your establishment. Consequently, rounding is not permitted for distance sales, particularly for e-commerce.

Yes, but only if you have opted to round for all payment methods.

Yes.

Even if at the moment of purchase the amount paid was not subject to rounding, you will have to round the amount refunded in cash to the nearest 0 or 5 cents.

Attention! Vouchers may never be rounded.

If you only round for cash payments

  1. Start by asking your customer how much they wish to pay in meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers with a predetermined amount and deduct them (without rounding);
  2. Then ask how much they wish to pay in cash and round this amount in accordance with the rounding rules and deduct it;
  3. Where necessary, the balance can be paid exactly (without rounding) by card.

For example: the total amount of items purchased by your customer comes to 70.04 euros.

  • Your customer pays the permitted amount in meal vouchers, for e.g. 20.03 euros (no rounding);
  • Your customer pays the balance or another part in cash: this amount must be rounded. For example, 50 euros (50.01 rounded to 50 euros) if they choose to pay the balance or 15.20 euros, if they choose to only pay part in cash;
  • If there is a balance to pay by card after the cash payment, your customer can pay the exact amount remaining payable by card, in our example, 34.81 euros (70.04 euros - 20.03 euros - 15.20 euros).

If you have opted to round for all payment methods

  • Your customer pays the permitted amount in meal vouchers without rounding because it is a predetermined amount;
  • Round the amount that is still payable;
  • If your customer wants to pay part in cash, round this amount and deduct it;
  • Finally, if there is still a balance to pay, the customer will pay it by card. This amount will inevitably be a rounded amount.

For example: the total amount of items purchased comes to 70.04 euros.

  • Your customer pays the permitted part in meal vouchers: 20.03 euros;
  • The balance of 50.01 euros is rounded to 50 euros and can be paid either in cash or by card, or partially in cash for a rounded amount, for example 15.20 euros and the balance by card will inevitably be a rounded amount of 34.80.

On each document that contains the total amount to be paid, the rounded amount must also be indicated.

Consequently, the situation is different whether you round just cash payments or all payment methods.

If you only round cash payments

The sales receipt (or invoice) must contain the following elements:

  1. the total amount payable before rounding, and  
  2. the total rounded amount actually paid in cash.

If you have opted to round all payment methods

The sales receipt (or invoice) must contain:

  1. the total amount payable before rounding;
  2. the total rounded amount, with fixed value meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers deducted.

Only you can decide whether one system is simpler or more complex than the other.

However, you should be aware that in both cases, there is a risk that your checkout system may need to be adapted to satisfy the obligations relating to the information shown on the sales receipts and other vouchers (invoices for example).

Furthermore, if after deciding to round just cash payments, you subsequently change your mind, you will probably have to change your checkout system a second time, with any costs that may arise from this.

No.

Only cash payments relating to sales from a company (or similar) to a consumer (individual customer) are subject to the regulations on rounding. It is not necessary that a customer is liable for VAT to regard him as a company.

 

No.

Only cash payments relating to sales from a company (or similar) to a consumer (individual customer) are subject to the regulations on rounding.

Book XV of the Code of Economic Law provides for level 2 criminal penalties if you fail to comply with the obligation to round off cash payments.

Fines range from 26 to 10,000 euros, plus surcharges. These amounts must now be multiplied by 8.

If the driver is also a seller (ambulant trader), he must complete the cash payment. 

On the other hand, if the driver acts as an intermediary who only delivers the order and collects the balance without being a seller, then the law on rounding does not apply. In that case the sale does not occur in the physical presence of the seller and the consumer.
 

Notes, receipts and VAT counterfoils must include, like sales slips, the total amount to be paid before rounding and the rounded amount actually paid in cash.

The VAT counterfoils currently in use will have to be adapted and include the necessary fields for both amounts. The approved printers have been informed about this.

Old counterfoil books may however be used up until supplies last. Until then, the total amount to be paid by the customer before rounding and the amount actually paid after rounding must be written on the note or receipt, even if the specific fields for these two amounts do not yet exist.

According to the FPS Finances, the basic rules are the following:

  • You may calculate the VAT on the basis of the amount before rounding.
  • In your VAT return, you mention the amount before rounding and the VAT due on this amount.

For further information about the consequences on the VAT for rounded cash payments, please refer to the explanatory decree of the FPS Finances (in French)

In 2014, the Belgian Accounting Standards Board (BASB) delivered an opinion on the accounting of rounded amounts (opinion 2014/9 of 10 September 2014). Given the symmetrical nature of rounding operations, the BASB notices that the positive and negative differences due to rounding will cancel each other. The global difference between the total amount to be paid and the sum of the individual prices will only be a marginal amount compared to the total turnover.

The BASB suggests different methods, which companies may use on a voluntary basis to count differences due to rounding.

These recommendations of 2014 remain in force within the context of the new provisions on the mandatory rounding of cash payments, into force as of 1 December 2019.

See the BASB’s opinion (2014/9) (in French).

Amounts of foreign currency converted into euros are not considered to be payments within the meaning of the law, but as the equivalent in euros of the amount in foreign currency. Therefore they do not need to be rounded.

When a bank or a stockbroker buys foreign currency, they offer a service to the consumer. They must apply the exchange rate announced, otherwise it would be a misleading practice.

However, if a commission is added as a fee for the exchange service, then that commission must be rounded off, because it is a payment by the consumer for the service provided.

Only cash payments relating to sales from a company (or similar) to a consumer (individual customer) are subject to the regulations on rounding.

One and two cent coins are very expensive to manufacture (raw material, minting, transport, etc.) and are very rarely used. Indeed, they are often left in purses or hoarded at home, which is why 1 and 2 cent coins constantly need to be minted.

The 2014 measure introducing the option for companies to round sales receipts on a voluntary basis reduced the use of these 1 and 2 cent coins. However, it has not led to the desired result since the number of companies who round is still limited.

According to a study conducted in early 2018, only 3 out of 10 shopkeepers currently round. Similarly, it appears that 8 out of 10 retailers and 7 out of 10 consumers would be in favour of rounding. The main trade organisations are also asking for mandatory rounding for cash payments.

By making rounding mandatory for all cash payments, the Belgian government hopes to reduce the number of 1 and 2 cent coins in circulation in our country. And by doing so, it intends to satisfy the expectations of most businesses and consumers.

It should be noted that Belgium is not permitted to decide to end the use of these 1 and 2 cent coins; only the European legislator can do that.

Last update
3 January 2020