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VAT Registrations enable businesses to charge and recover appropriate local VAT where applicable for their business. In some countries, thresholds may be in place so that a VAT Registration is only necessary once the turnover exceeds an annual limit, but in many EU countries there are no thresholds for VAT Registration – it is essential that businesses consult local VAT legislation to establish if they have a requirement to obtain a VAT Registration.

Why might a VAT Registration be necessary?

  • Running an event, conference or exhibition
  • Making online sales to private individuals
  • Supplying and installing machinery
  • Making supplies related to land situated in a particular country
  • Making supplies to local customers from a warehouse based in another country
  • Importing goods
  • Opening a warehouse

VAT Registration Applications

Firstly to secure a VAT Registration, an application must be made directly to the country where you are required to register. More frequently local tax authorities often question and query this process. So it is always necessary to have local language skills in order to ensure you are making the right decisions for your business.

How to achieve VAT Registration Compliance:

1. Review your international business activity

VAT legislation varies between countries. So it is essential to review your business activity in each country where you are trading in order to identify whether a VAT Registration is appropriate.

2. Get VAT Registered

If your business activity does make you liable to register for VAT, it is essential that this is put in place as soon as possible. This is so that your business is able to invoice clients correctly, while avoiding risk of fines and penalties.

3. Ensure your invoices are compliant

Once you are VAT registered, you will need to charge the appropriate VAT rate to your clients. Then pay this over to the local tax authority. In summary, things to consider include:

  • Customer information
  • Supplier information
  • Transaction details
  • Exemptions
  • The Reverse Charge

4. Ensure you are submitting the correct reports

Once registered you will need to submit local VAT returns, but Intrastat declarations and EC Sales Lists may also be required. On the whole, requirements for reporting vary between countries, as well as the frequency of required reports.

5. VAT Payments and Reclaims

Where you are reclaiming local VAT incurred through your VAT return, it is equally important to ensure that the VAT has been charged to you correctly. If you pay VAT in error, you may have problems recovering it.

Where you need to pay VAT over to local tax authorities, you will need to consider the timescale for making international payments. There can be significant fines and penalties if you miss your VAT payments as a result.