What is a statement of irrecoverability?

A claim is considered irrecoverable as soon as it is clear and plausible that amicable or judicial attempts have failed to recover it. As a creditor, you may not skip this important step in determining the irrecoverability of the claim. If it is impossible to reclaim the claim, the additional recovery procedures will only result in a greater loss of time and money. Why is this the case? Since it is impossible to collect the outstanding debt, the recovery costs cannot be recovered either. As a creditor, you lose twice; not only do you lose the outstanding debt, but you are also charged for the collection costs incurred.

When can a claim be declared irrecoverable?

As a creditor, it must be possible to prove the irrecoverability of the claim. So-called recovery proceedings must be instituted against the debtor with the intervention of a lawyer, bailiff or, for example, Unpaid. The claim is irrecoverable if the collection has been unsuccessful despite these recovery procedures having been attempted.

An irrecoverable claim should not be confused with a doubtful claim. A receivable is only irrecoverable when collection is factually and virtually impossible. A doubtful debt refers to the possible risk that an outstanding debt cannot be collected. In the case of a doubtful claim, the solvency investigation shows that several creditors are approaching the debtor. Nevertheless, there are sufficient indications that the debtor will be able to pay the outstanding debt. A statement of irrecoverability is only issued if the debtor's solvency is considered to be extremely problematic.

wat is een attest van oninbaarheid


The statement of irrecoverability

There are, therefore, two possibilities when you receive a statement of irrecoverability as a creditor. One, the amicable and judicial route has been exhausted or two, the solvency of the counterparty is extremely problematic. The statement of irrecoverability is an official document proving the irrecoverability of the claim. The debtor is unable to pay his debts because he is in a very precarious situation, or he has been declared without trace by competent authorities.

This statement of irrecoverability is issued by a competent professional. The professional is recognized and accredited by the state as a debt collection agency or as a mandated officer appointed by the corporate court.

The statement of irrecoverability allows the creditor to record the claim in the company's accounts and thus recover the VAT. This statement is therefore of fiscal importance to the company. If you follow a procedure via Unpaid, it is also possible to obtain this attestation via the bailiff.


In the event of an irrecoverable debt, as a creditor you must meet the following conditions in order to obtain the statement of irrecoverability:

  • As a creditor, you have taken all possible steps (amicable and/or judicial) to recover the debt.
  • The risk of insolvency of the other party is so great that, along with the claim itself, the legal costs will not be covered either.
  • As a creditor, you have established that these recovery proceedings have had no effect.
  • The irrecoverable claim must be recorded in your accounts.

As a creditor, you can recover the VAT from the unpaid invoice.

If, during the Unpaid procedure, it appears that your customer is clearly insolvent, we can assist you in obtaining this statement. Of course, we always hope it doesn't have to come to that and we will do everything in our power to collect the invoice.

Do you have an unpaid invoice and have questions about Unpaid’s operation? Quickly call +32 9 396 34 00 or let us know here when you want to be called.

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