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European VAT Changes

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European VAT Changes

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On the 1st of January 2010 a major shift in the treatment of VAT on services is taking place across Europe due to the adaptation by the European Council regarding directives

On the 1st of January 2010 a major shift in the treatment of VAT on services is taking place across Europe due to the adaptation by the European Council regarding directives:

The changes taking effect from 1 January 2010 are commonly called "the VAT Package" and are being made to help reduce VAT fraud in Europe through greater control of cross-border service transactions and additionally to harmonise the application of VAT on services in Europe.  This package amongst other things contains the following key elements:

  1. Major changes to the place of supply rules for services will result in a much wider application of the reverse charge mechanism. 
  2. Increased reporting requirements.  In respect of cross border services within the EU, suppliers of services will now have to report sales on a separate ESL; EC Sales list *, as is done today for sale of goods.
  3. Introduction of a new procedure for foreign VAT refunds on services.  Those services not affected by the new place of supply rules or the extension of the reverse charge mechanism may be recovered, as of 2010, by electronically submitting an application for refund through a portal at the claimants national tax authority which is forwarded to the relevant Member State of Refund.

The changes can be summarised as a move away from the origin principle to the DESTINATION principle.  The general rule is that services supplied across borders will be taxable at the place where the RECIPIENT is established.

Summary of the Impact of the Changes:

The changes coming in on 1st January 2010 will have significant effects on administrative procedures for almost all companies buying or selling services in the EU.

Failure to adopt the new VAT procedures may result in penalties and unnecessary costs which can otherwise be avoided through obtaining advice re the new regulations and procedures to be adopted and establishing appropriate ERP codes** or re-aligning existing ones.

We expect the tax authorities to stringently apply the new legislation and enforce it through penalties for neglect. 

The need to manage your EU transactions properly and your right to recover your foreign VAT have not changed only the procedures for doing so. 

How can Cash Back help?

Together with Cash Back we can review your common business transactions and existing procedures to ensure that you make the necessary changes to your systems and methods to avoid costly mistakes.

Cash Back can provide an ongoing VAT mapping service to identify and assess your VAT obligations and those of your suppliers and report back the changes to be implemented and the VAT to be recovered. We can provide a full range of services from VAT advice all the way down to identification of and rudimentary listing of invoices to be recorded on the new EC Sales list for services or for download to the portal for refund from another Member State.  In between these there are a myriad of other VAT Advisory services our international network of offices can assist you with. 

We are adapting our own refund procedures to efficiently manage our customers VAT refunds without complicating or changing any of your existing routines with Cash Back.  Within the scope of this we aim to offer our customers, scanning services for travel expenses which can be automatically downloaded into their own company travel software and verifying systems.

Our network of local VAT specialists throughout Europe is also best suited for assisting you with the expected increase in credit demands arising from the anticipated rise in billing errors by suppliers before the application of the VAT package becomes common practice. 

Although many of the national authorities have still not implemented the new directives into national legislation and issues of interpretation and implementation regarding the new place of supply legislation as well as the new 2008/9 directive still remain, there will be an obligation on companies to meet the legislative requirements from 1 January 2010 regardless of the short length of time to assess the imposed regulations. 

Let Cash Back help you with these demands.

Please contact info@cashbackuk.co.uk or call us at +44 0 1992 464279 if you would like to discuss the new legislation and how we can assist you in further detail.

Constantine Malekkou 

* ESL:  European Community Sales List: All EU VAT registered traders who supply goods or services to traders registered for VAT in other EC Member States are required to provide lists of their EC supplies. These supplies are declared on an EC Sales List (ESL). The information provided on the ESL is used by other EC Member States to ensure that VAT has been correctly accounted.

** ERP: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a company-wide computer software system used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business from shared data stores.

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