EU VAT registrations
If your business is trading goods or services in Europe, you are required to be compliant with the VAT rules of the country in which you trade. Most EU countries don’t require you to register for VAT locally, and instead allow provision of taxable supplies to be recorded under your customer’s VAT number. But there are still certain situations where you are obliged to obtain a VAT number in a country in which you are trade - for example, if you’re buying and selling goods locally or importing goods into the European Union for the first time.
You need to apply to the local tax authorities to obtain a VAT number, which you can then present to your trading partners – but it’s not a simple task, requiring submission of many documents such as company formation paperwork before you can secure a number. All is not lost: our local VAT professionals can apply for VAT numbers and help speed up this process for you.
EU VAT returns
If you are trading goods, and sometimes services, across European borders, you may be required to complete country VAT returns. These typically ask for details of trading sales, as well as the values in local currency of each transaction. Each entry must be compliant with the local VAT rules, which are guided by the EU VAT Directive legislation. We have more than 20 years’ experience in preparing VAT returns for thousands of clients – both EU and non-EU businesses. We can take you through each step of the process, tapping into the local expertise of our VAT professionals across Europe.
To report the movement of goods within the EU, companies may be required to complete a periodic (usually monthly) Intrastat report. This includes not only goods sold, but also goods moved between branches of the same company – such as between warehouses for onward sale. The Intrastat filing gives details of each shipment - including detailed trade classification of goods, quantities, shipping costs and country of departure/arrival - and there are many exemptions which, again, vary between countries. Reporting thresholds for each EU country also vary.
EC Sales List
Sales to EU customers outside of a company's home state may have to be reported on the EC Sales List (ECSL). Typically filed on a quarterly basis - although this varies around the EU - the ECSL details the customers' names, local VAT registration number and the value of the taxable supplies. Reporting thresholds for each EU country vary.
Insurance Premium Taxes
Taxes on insurance premiums (IPT) are levied across the world on most classes of risks. Life insurance is often exempt, and reinsurance is almost always not within the scope of IPT. Unlike VAT, the EU does not set the rules for a European IPT scope or rates, and leaves this up to local countries. This means there are wide discrepancies between the rules and protocols for charging IPT – for example, the Netherlands has a single IPT rate, whereas Italy has seven (including parafiscal charges). All EU countries require registered insurers, particularly those writing insurance under the Freedom of Services rules, to report, collect and pay over any taxes.
We also provide assistance to underwriters, brokers and the insured who face tougher local tax compliance requirements for Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) following the liberalisation of cross-border insurance. Our IPT fiscal representative service is the most extensive in the market; we consistently deliver the best settlement for our clients.