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Updated 08/07/2016

Updated 08/07/2016

VAT Refunds

EU businesses
 

When can you claim a VAT refund?

If you are charged VAT on business activities in an EU country where you are not established, you may be entitled to have the VAT refunded by the authorities in that country.

Some EU countries do not allow refunds for certain categories of expenditure (e.g. restaurant costs, entertainment activities, cars, fuel, etc.).

How to claim your VAT refund

You must claim your VAT refund online, via the authorities in the country where your business is based.

If you are eligible for a refund, the authorities will pass on your claim to the authorities in the other country.

The VAT refund procedure is harmonised at EU level. Here is a summary of the VAT refund process [11 KB] outlining the responsibilities of the national tax authorities.

You can read more on VAT refund procedures for EU businesses in each EU country below:

Choose country:

National contact points

To be sure that you have the correct information, you should check with the national contact points [110 KB] for each specific case.

Late payment

If a country is late in refunding your VAT, you may be able to claim interest.

If you experience difficulties with public authorities, you can request assistance from our help and advice services .

Making a claim – codes for goods/services

When submitting a refund claim, you must enter certain standard codes to describe the type of goods/services you paid the VAT on.

Codes for goods/services

The nature of the goods and services acquired have to be described according to the following expenditure codes.

  1. Fuel.
  2. Hiring of means of transport.
  3. Expenditure relating to means of transport.
  4. Road tolls and road user charge.
  5. Travel expenses, such as taxi fares, public transport fares.
  6. Accommodation.
  7. Food, drink and restaurant services.
  8. Admissions to fairs and exhibitions.
  9. Expenditure on luxuries, amusements and entertainment.
  10. Other.

Some EU countries also require you to use additional sub-codes for each type of good/service.
 

Online course – how to apply for VAT refunds

You can register for a free e-learning course on how to apply for VAT refunds on the Taxation and Customs Union e-Learning portal. The courses are run by the European Commission in collaboration with national administrations.

 

Non-EU businesses
 

When can you claim a VAT refund?

If your business is not established in the EU, and you are charged VAT on business activities in an EU country where you have not supplied goods or services, you may be entitled to have the VAT refunded by the authorities in that country. For example, a company established in Switzerland takes part in a conference in Belgium and is charged BE VAT on their hotel bill.

How to claim your VAT refund

To get a refund, you must send your application to the authorities in the EU country where you incurred the VAT. Some EU countries will only grant you a refund if the country where your business is based offers similar refund arrangements for businesses from that EU country.

You can read more on VAT refund procedures for non-EU businesses below:

Choose country:


 

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