The Brexit transition period has ended, and there are new rules for VAT on services and digital sales which cross the border between the EU and the UK. There are also other VAT changes, which we summarise in our article about what Brexit means for VAT.
Why has VAT changed for UK businesses?
The UK is no longer part of the EU, and has left the EU VAT area. This changes the way that VAT works for goods and services crossing the border between the UK and the EU.
To make it easier to understand the changes, we explain the new processes for exporting goods in another article. There are different rules for the supply of services and digital sales, which we explain below.
How does VAT work on supplies across the UK border?
VAT is charged based on where goods and services are supplied to. As an example, this means that taxable goods going into France are subject to French VAT, even if they’re exported from the UK.
The same principle applies to services, which is why the place of supply is important for businesses supplying services.
What is place of supply for VAT?
When we talk about VAT, the place of supply is the location that you supply the service to. For example, the buyer has a head office in Germany, and a smaller base in France. They buy services from you for their French offices. The place of supply is France, even though their head office is elsewhere.
The place of supply is where the service is liable for VAT. This informs what rate of VAT is due, and to which country’s VAT authority. The rules depend on whether you supply services to other businesses, or to consumers (who buy the services for their own personal use, not to use in a business).
Making cross border supplies of services to other businesses (B2B)
If you supply services to a business in another country, you won’t charge VAT on the sale. Instead, the business buying the service accounts for the VAT as a reverse charge on their own VAT return. Make sure that your invoices show exactly what services you provide, and where you supply them to.
Making cross border supplies of services directly to consumers (B2C)
If you supply services directly to EU consumers, the VAT will be zero-rated. This means that you’re technically charging VAT on the sale, but at a rate of zero per cent. Again, you’ll need to be very clear on where the place of supply happens! This will help you when it’s time to complete your VAT return.
VAT on digital sales after the Brexit transition period
There are also changes for businesses which sell digital services across the UK border, between the UK and the EU, or into the EU from overseas. This is because the UK is no longer part of the EU VAT MOSS (Mini One-Stop-Shop) scheme.
What is EU VAT MOSS?
EU VAT MOSS aims to make VAT easier for businesses which sell digital services to EU consumers. Under the scheme, the seller registers for VAT MOSS in any EU country. They then submit a single VAT MOSS Return to account for the VAT on digital sales anywhere in the EU. That way, the business doesn’t have to submit a separate VAT return for every EU country it sells digital services to.
Now that the Brexit transition period has ended, the UK is no longer a member of the EU VAT MOSS scheme.
This changes the way that VAT is collected on digital sales to EU customers. The process for this depends on where the seller is.
UK businesses who sell digital services to consumers in the EU
If your UK business sells digital services to EU consumers, you have two options.