Registering for VAT in the EU
The rules surrounding registering for VAT in the EU can be complex, and whether or not they apply to your business will depend on various factors, including the nature of the goods or services being sold, the location of the customer, and the value of the sales.
VAT compliance and the VAT threshold
If you have a business based in the EU or sell goods or services to customers in the EU, you may need to register for VAT in one or more Member States. Since July 2021, a Europe-wide distance-selling VAT threshold of €10,000 has applied. So, if your sales in any one EU country exceed this, you’ll be required to register for VAT there. You’ll also have to appoint a fiscal representative if your business is not based in the EU.
VAT returns must be submitted to the relevant tax authority on a regular basis, usually monthly or quarterly. The VAT return will detail the amount of VAT charged and paid during the reporting period. If you’re registered for VAT in more than one Member State, you’ll need to submit a separate VAT return for each country.
It’s important to comply with the VAT rules in the EU, as failure to do so can result in penalties and fines. Businesses registered for VAT must keep accurate records of their sales and purchases, and ensure that they charge and pay the correct amount of VAT. They must also issue VAT invoices that meet the requirements of the relevant Member State.
How to register for VAT
Although each EU country will have its own VAT registration requirements, generally, the following steps will apply to any business looking to register for VAT within the EU.
Determine if you need to register for VAT
The first step is determining if registering for VAT is required. In most circumstances, if you’re a business that sells goods or services in the EU, and those sales exceed €10,000, you’ll need to register for VAT.
Gather the required documentation
Once you’ve ascertained the countries where it’s necessary to register for VAT, you’ll need to gather the required documentation. This will typically include your business registration documents, proof of identity, and proof of address. You may also need to provide additional documents, depending on the country you’re registering in.
Complete the VAT registration form
You’ll then need to complete the local VAT registration form, which will ask for information about your business, such as your business name, address, and tax identification number. You’ll also be required to provide information about your supplies and your turnover. In most cases, the form must be completed in the local language.
Submit the VAT registration form
The completed form should then be submitted to the local tax authority in the country you’re registering. You’ll need to submit the form either online or in person, depending on the country where you’re registering for VAT.
Wait for your EU VAT number
Following the submission of your VAT registration form, you must wait for your EU VAT number (also known as an intra-community VAT number or VAT ID) to be issued. This can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks as the registration process and timings can vary widely from country to country.
Start charging and paying VAT
Once you’ve received your EU VAT number, you can start charging VAT on your supplies and paying VAT on your purchases. You’ll also need to submit regular VAT returns to the local tax authority, which will require you to report your VAT transactions for the period.
What is an intra-community VAT number?
An intra-community VAT number is a unique identification number assigned to businesses operating within the European Union (EU) that are engaged in the supply of goods or services across EU borders.
The intra-community VAT number enables businesses to trade freely within the EU without being subject to VAT twice. It allows the EU tax authorities to identify and track business transactions between Member States and facilitates the billing and collection of VAT.
Once registered, businesses can include their intra-community VAT number on invoices and other official documents related to their cross-border transactions within the EU.
VAT is an important tax that applies to most goods and services in the EU. Businesses registered for VAT must comply with the relevant rules and regulations, including charging and paying the correct amount of VAT, submitting VAT returns on time, and keeping accurate records.
If you’re unsure about your VAT obligations, Taxually can help. To find bespoke solutions for your business, optimize your VAT costs, and reach millions of new potential customers, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free call with one of our VAT experts.