VAT in the EUAug. 3, 2017, 5:27pm
For traders who aren’t VAT registered in the UK, do supplies in the EU count towards UK turnover for UK VAT registration or indeed, VAT registration in the EU?
If you trade below the VAT threshold in the UK but supply say, marketing consultancy services to an unregistered business in France. If those supplies take your turnover over £85,000 (the current threshold) should you register for VAT in the UK or do you need to register in France, or neither?
For VAT purposes, the ‘place of supply’ is where the supply is liable to VAT and there are specific rules to determine where this is.
To determine the place of supply of most services, the ‘general rule’ applies, meaning that the place of business-to-business (B-B) supplies is where the recipient of the service belongs. VAT is the liability of the recipient whether he is VAT registered in the member state or not. If VAT registered, the recipient must account for the VAT using the reverse charge procedure. If not VAT registered, the value of reverse chargeable services bought in would (if the French rules mirror UK rules) be treated as their turnover when looking at VAT registration in France. Consultancy services fall within the general rule (although if the consultancy related closely to land, different rules would apply).
If the place of supply is not the UK, then the supply is outside the scope of UK VAT. Supplies which are outside the scope of UK VAT do not count to taxable turnover for calculating liability to VAT register in the UK.
In this case, as the suppy being made is a B-B supply to a customer in France, the value of the supply does not count towards UK turnover, so does not make the trader liable to register in the UK.
There would be no need to register in France, as any requirement to account for VAT there is the responsibility of the French customer.
Incidentally, if the customer were unable to provide either a VAT number or any other supporting documentation to show that it was in business, the supply would be regarded as being a business-to-consumer (B-C) supply. The general rule for B-C supplies deems the place of supply to be where the supplier belongs, and therefore the supply would be treated in the same way as any other UK supply the trader makes and count as UK turnover.