File for bankruptcy

When is one considered bankrupt?

Three conditions must be met:

  • One must be a self-employed entrepreneur (with a BCE number), a company, or a director of a company.
  • There is a cessation of payment: this does not refer to one-time or temporary non-payment, but to a structural and general inability to pay your debts.
  • There is no more credit from the creditors: they do not grant you any payment deferrals or installment plans and proceed to legal action. This is known as a general credit shock when a qualitative and quantitative majority of the creditors have withdrawn their trust and no longer want to provide credit (e.g. no longer granting installment options, loans being called in, etc.)

Then, one is obliged to declare bankruptcy within one month after this observation.

The director is required to make this declaration under penalty of being held jointly and severally liable for all or part of the debts.



  • The entrepreneur/director knows that bankruptcy is unavoidable.
  • The entrepreneur/director knows that there is no reasonable prospect for a clearly loss-making enterprise.

The criminal liability provided for in Article 489bis, 2° of the Criminal Code.


This even provides that the director – in case of deliberately delaying the application for bankruptcy – can be punished with a prison sentence of one month to one year and a fine of eight hundred euros to eight hundred thousand euros (taking into account inflation adjustments for 2023) or with one of those penalties alone.

The procedure

The procedure provides for the digital declaration through the REGSOL platform.

The following data must be uploaded:

For a company:

  • As current a balance sheet as possible (truthful)
  • As current a list of creditors-suppliers as possible
  • As current a list of debtors-customers as possible
  • The depreciation table up to date
  • Are there any personal guarantees?
  • Possibly the histories of any current account Debit and current account Credit
  • List of employees and addresses and/or last pay slip of each employee.
  • Social secretariat? Data? Reference there?

For a self-employed entrepreneur without a company:

  • As current a list of creditors-suppliers as possible
  • As current a list of debtors-customers as possible
  • The state of assets and liabilities at the time of the declaration

For the director of companies:

  • Proof of self-employed entrepreneurship usually to be proven by contributions to social security funds for the self-employed.
  • No accounting needs to be added in this case.
  • It is important that these documents are truthful.

The trustee has the duty to examine the integral bookkeeping.

Each asset item in the balance sheet is effectively examined by a trustee.

It is pointless, for example, to maintain goods in the depreciation table that are not there.

It is also pointless to maintain trade receivables that one knows are uncollectible or have already been settled.

What does our office do?

  • The digital declaration with all accompanying documents and statements in REGSOL, which is mandatory.
  • The drafting and filing of the digital petition for the waiver, if applicable (individuals).
  • Assistance with the inventory and guidance on any buyout of assets with a view to a possible restart (this is indeed allowed).
  • Assistance with the discussions with the receiver at the start of the bankruptcy and the questions about the company and certain activities and/or bookings.
  • Monitoring of the minutes of the claims.
  • Monitoring of the settlement statements and annual reports.
  • Assistance with the closing procedure at the end of the bankruptcy, including the waiver procedure if there are no negative opinions.
  • Pleading the possible waiver of debts procedure if there is a negative opinion from the receiver, Prosecutor’s Office or opposition from a creditor.
  • Monitoring of the guarantees and the procedures associated with them, if applicable.
  • Possible separate criminal proceedings and separate summonses from the receiver in directors’ liability. These are separate procedures with their own general case number in court.

Consequences of bankruptcy

  • Bankruptcy is a collective seizure: all assets are subject to this seizure, with the exception of some essential goods.
  • The receiver will come to draw up an inventory of assets.
  • Your bank accounts will be blocked from day to day.
  • The same goes for your smartphones and internet connections.
  • The bailiffs will no longer come by.
  • The day after, you start a new life and may start a new business.
  • At the end of the bankruptcy, the court will rule on your waiver of debts (see elsewhere on this website how this works).

Does the trustee need to give permission to start a new business?

The new insolvency legislation which came into effect on 01/05/2018, and which also applies to all new bankruptcies, is very clear:

  1. The trustee is only authorized to liquidate the assets of the bankrupt as they existed on the date of bankruptcy.
  2. Any new assets acquired by the bankrupt from the first day after the opening of the bankruptcy proceedings will not fall under the supervision of the trustee.
  3. The bankrupt has the right to start new independent activities after the opening of the bankruptcy proceedings without the trustee’s permission. This is a right that he has without reservation. For this new activity, he will be allowed/required to use his old company number/VAT number since an individual cannot obtain a second company number/VAT number. The VAT administration will have to make a distinction between the VAT transactions that were carried out before and after bankruptcy and prepare two different settlements for this. For the VAT transactions before bankruptcy, one must file a claim in the bankruptcy proceedings and the trustee is responsible. For transactions after bankruptcy, the VAT administration must approach the bankrupt directly.

The same applies to the preservation of his KBO number, which is also a unique and irreplaceable number (incidentally, the same as the VAT number, but without the BE prefix), which will also be preserved after bankruptcy in case of resumption of independent activities.

Bruno Schoenaerts & Alain Van den Cloot
+32 3 238 80 70