As from February 1st, 2022, some changes to the Act of August 2nd, 2002, on combating late payment in commercial transactions (the Act) entered into effect.
As a general rule, the Act provides that any payment within a B2B context are to be made within 30 calendar days, starting from the day following (i) the date of receipt of the invoice or an equivalent payment request, or (ii) the date of receipt of the goods or services, if the date of receipt of the invoice or an equivalent payment request is uncertain or received earlier than the goods or services.
Parties in a B2B context are however allowed to agree on different payment terms, provided that such payment terms can as from February 1st, 2022 never exceed a period of 60 calendar days. Any provision to the contrary shall be deemed unwritten and reduced to the default payment term of 30 calendar days.
Exceptions to this maximum payment term of 60 days can only be provided for by derogatory Royal Decree, though thus far no initiative in this regard has been made.
Furthermore, the payment term will start from the actual receipt of the invoice. Whereas previously the parties were able to contractually determine the date of receipt of an invoice, this is no longer possible, since the Act provides that the debtor must promptly transmit to the creditor all the information necessary to issue the invoice. As a result any verification and/or acceptance periods for deliveries of goods and/or services shall as from now need to be included in the maximum term of 60 calendar days.
Consequently, companies will have to amend their general terms and conditions to provide for a payment term of no more than 60 days as from the receipt of the invoice and without taking into account any acceptance and/or verification periods that could lead to an extension of the payment term beyond 60 days.