Do You Know How You Can Set Up A Non-Profit Organisation in Belgium?

In the contemporary global economy, businesses of all sizes are launching operations in foreign markets. The likelihood of corporate expansion abroad is very high. According to surveys, 87% of American companies think that going worldwide is necessary for sustained success.

However, there are still a lot of American enterprises that need to transition to operating internationally. In Belgium, you can register a non-profit organisation under the legal identity of an Association, which is called an ASBL, which stands for Association sans but lucratif in French language or VZW – Vereniging zonder winstoogmerk in Dutch language.

If you are interested to set up your non-profit organisation as ASBL in Belgium, then you will need the following:

  • Draw up the statues of your Association
  • Collect all identity documents from the founders
  • Prepare court forms
  • Hold a Constitutive General Assembly along with the founding members
  • Deposit the signed statutes, along with the documents and forms at the Tribunal de l’Entreprise
  • Open a dedicated bank account
  • Fill in the UBO register where Le Registre UBO is Ultimate Beneficial Owner
  • Fulfil your VAT registration obligations

Bernard de Laguiche is an international businessman and entrepreneur who is based in both Switzerland and Brazil and can also help you in setting up your business in Belgium.

If you want to set up any charitable business in Belgium then in this country charitable organisation is defined as follow:

Such organisations must share the characteristic of “disinterested purpose.” Any non-profit organisation is not allowed to provide its founders, members, or directors with a patrimonial benefit or distribution.

The foundation cannot strive to distribute or obtain a patrimonial gain or profit for its founders or directors because it is the dedication of assets to a specific disinterested purpose.

These regulations do not prohibit paying employees, service providers, or directors’ remuneration as long as it does not involve the distribution of profit.

Basic requirements

For setting up an ASBL or VZW in Belgium one needs:

  • A minimum of 2 two founding members 
  • A seat of the organisation in Belgium
  • The founding members need not be a Belgium citizens or residents, but this may increase the time and costs needed for the registration.

The statutes

The organization’s laws must be written by the founding members in one of Belgium’s recognised languages. This document outlines the organization’s non-profit objectives, primary activities, and establishes the fundamental guidelines for its governance.

This document will specify how the organisation functions, including details like how it welcomes new members and selects its directors. 

Registration in court

For the court registration, one will need the following documents to be submitted to the Tribunal de L’Entreprise:

  • The signed statutes
  • Identity documents of founders (true copy)
  • Court form 
  • An attestation for the person who is carrying out a registration 

When details of the association’s establishment are published in Moniteur Belge, the association is deemed to exist. Providing the statutes comply with Belgian law and all paperwork is presented properly.

An electronic registration can be processed by the Tribunal de L’Entreprise in around 5 working days, although a paper registration can take up to 7 weeks.