ASBLs in Belgium are subject to the impôt des personnes morales (see). This means we must:
- Have a balance sheet, and close it.
- Present our declaration by the 17th of October 2023 (source).
Note that the ASBL exists since 2019, but has been dormant until 2022, with no bank account. So, we have not done this before. In 2023, however, there is no doubt that we must do it.
I have been keeping some records: this would be the main file. But – having some limited experience with accounting – I know that records kept on spreadsheets are dodgy, because there is no automatic check via double entry. It’s easy to make mistakes. I think I can say this: it was good enough for now, safe enough to try, and we tried it. For me, it simply did not work, and it’s time to move on.
I think @reef-finance needs to do some work on it, with a view to presenting a proposal to the plenary. Maybe there is no need for a team meeting (some of us neither know nor care about accounting), but I would like to have 1-2 volunteers to join me in a discussion about this. At least one should be a Belgian, so that we have a better grip of the legal documents in French/Dutch. The proposal we are looking for contains:
- The individuation of the responsibility for keeping books and presenting the tax declarations.
- A decision on the process that we will follow to keep the books. I have some process now, but am not happy at all with it.
If it would be me, I would propose a solution based on Freeagent (on the website, scroll to the very bottom, there is a drop-down menu to the bottom right of the window: select “Global” to get to the non-UK version of the site). It’s overkill for The Reef, but very transparent and keeps things in order. It costs about 200 USD a year (discounts for the first year). In this case we would not hire an accountant – this must cost a lot more than that – but do our own tax return based on the accounting data.
But of course, if you have your own idea, I’m listening. Even better, if you want to be The Reef’s accountant, then you get to use the tools that you want, as long as accountability is ensured and they are not unreasonably expensive.