VAT is conceived
as a neutral tax for businesses

Reclaiming
VAT

Did your company pay VAT on invoices in countries where you are not registered? The VAT paid is probably refundable if you claim it back from the concerned tax authority.

Send us an email or call us directly +33 3 20 25 70 70

Is your input VAT reclaimable?

This is the first question you should ask yourself before submitting a VAT refund claim. Even if VAT is generally claimable there are some exceptions which differ from country to country.

Input VAT will obviously be refundable only if it directly relates to goods and services that were used for your business.

Please also make sure that VAT was correctly charged by your supplier before filing a VAT refund claim as incorrectly charged VAT is not refundable.

Where is your company established?

1. Your company is based within the EU

The European Union implemented in 2010 a common process called "the 8th Directive" whereby businesses can claim back the VAT they paid in any Member State through an electronic portal (also called “one stop shop” of their own country's Tax Authorities.

  • Your company cannot be established nor be VAT registered in the country where input VAT was paid,
  • VAT refund claims can be filed either on a quarterly or on a yearly basis.
  • Applications must be processed electronically at the latest before 30 September of the calendar year following the refund period.
  • Late applications are always rejected by the Tax Authorities of the country of refund and input VAT is definitively lost.
  • Most EU Member States set up minimum amounts for VAT refund. These minimum amounts are as follows
    • 400 Euros for quarterly refund claims,
    • 50 for yearly refund claims

Documents to provide to the Tax Authorities

  • Copies of purchase invoices,
  • Copies of import documents.

Duration of the process

Tax Authorities theoretically have the obligation to inform businesses within a 4 month period about their decision to refund or not VAT.
This period can however be renewed if the Tax Authorities are requiring more documents.

Repayment process

If your VAT refund application is accepted, the local Tax Authorities will organize a bank transfer directly to your bank account.

Send us an email or call us directly +33 3 20 25 70 70

2. Your company is based outside the EU

Your company is entitled to reclaim both import VAT as well as VAT paid on your purchases. This VAT refund process is called the “13th Directive”.

  • Your company cannot be established nor be VAT registered in the country where you paid VAT.
  • The input VAT has to relate to professional expenses or purchases.
  • The VAT has to relate to goods or services that give right to refund in the country of refund.
  • Your country of establishment may have signed a convention of tax reciprocity with the Authorities of the country of refund.
  • Your company may have to appoint a fiscal representative that is established in the country of refund.
  • The fiscal representative will be responsible towards the local Tax Authorities in case the VAT refund claim was not fulfilling the conditions described here above.

VAT refund claims can be submitted on a quarterly or on a yearly basis.

  • If filed on a quarterly basis, VAT refund applications have to submitted to the country of refund during the month following the quarter where VAT was paid.
    As an example, VAT paid on imports or on goods in January, in February and in March has to be claimed back in April.
  • If filed on a yearly basis, VAT refund applications have to be submitted in the country of refund at the latest on 30 June of the following year.
    As an example, VAT paid on imports or on goods paid in Year Y1 must be claimed back at the latest on 30 June Y+1.

Please pay attention that late VAT refund applications are always rejected and input VAT is definitively lost.

Documents to provide to the Tax Authorities

The local Tax Authorities usually require the following documents.

  • Company’s details (name, address, bank details, …),
  • Copies of purchase invoices, import declarations or travel expenses,
  • Proves of payment,
  • Proxy signed by a fiscal representative (if required by the country of refund),

Repayment process

If accepted by the Tax Authorities of the country of refund, your company will receive the money directly on your back account through an International bank transfer.

Send us an email or call us directly +33 3 20 25 70 70

How can we help you today?

Do you have questions about how RMB can help your business? Send us an email and we’ll get in touch with you shortly, our VAT experts are always happy to help. You can also contact us by phone: +33 3 20 25 70 70.

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