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VAT refunds

1. Enterprises from within the EU: What documentation is necessary for a VAT refund for EU enterprises?


a) copies of invoices; the original invoices must be on hand and available when requested, according to country, and in isolated cases, by the tax office
b) proof from your local tax office of your status as an enterprise
c) power of attorney (provided by us)
d) letter of engagement (provided by us)

2. Enterprises from outside the EU: What documentation is necessary for a VAT refund for non-EU enterprises?


a) original invoices
b) power of attorney (provided by us)
c) letter of engagement (provided by us)

3. Which sales made abroad do not preclude a VAT refund?

Generally, VAT refunds are precluded if taxable sales have been made abroad within the refund period. However, in most countries the following sales do not preclude a refund:

a) services related to imports or exports

b) certain transport services
c) services where the recipient of the services owes the VAT
d) on certain triangular transactions within the EU
e) supplies and services in connection with a bonded warehouse

4. When can applications for VAT refunds be made and what time limits have to be observed regarding refund?


In principle, the period for applications for a refund of VAT must cover at least a quarter within a calendar year, and may not extend to more than a calendar year. The following minimum amounts apply in the EU:

Companies within the EU
Quarterly application: 400 EUR
Annual application:       50 EUR
Deadlines: Up to September 30 for applications concerning the preceding calendar year

Companies outside the EU
Quarterly application: 200 EUR
Annual application:       25 EUR
Deadlines: Up to June 30 for applications concerning the preceding calendar year

5. How long does the refund process take and how is repayment made?


In most EU countries repayment is made within 3 to 6 months. In some states (particularly Luxembourg and Italy) this can, however, take up to 2 years. Repayment is usually made through us, from which we retain our agreed fee.

Fiscal representation

1. What is the difference between fiscal representation and fiscal mandate (fiscal agent)?


From January 1 2002 it has been forbidden for EU states to compel enterprises from other EU countries to appoint a resident fiscal representative for the purpose of VAT registration. Since then one refers to a fiscal mandate or fiscal agent in connection with EU enterprises, if they voluntarily engage such a person. Some EU countries, however, continue to provide for the compulsory appointment of a fiscal representative for enterprises from outside the EU; this person would be entirely responsible for the foreign company’s dealings with the tax authorities.

2. Enterprises from within the EU: What documentation is necessary for setting up a fiscal mandate for EU enterprises?


a) proof from your local tax office of your status as an enterprise
b) power of attorney (provided by us)
c) letter of engagement (provided by us)
d) copy of certificate of registration
e) translation of the company agreement contract
f) completed questionnaire, according to country

3. Enterprises from outside the EU: What documentation is necessary for setting up a fiscal representation for non-EU enterprises?


a) power of attorney (provided by us)
b) letter of engagement (provided by us)
c) release of liability (provided by us)
d) according to country, a translation of the certificate of registration or company agreement contract
e) completed questionnaire, according to country

4. Are there time limits for setting up a fiscal representation or fiscal mandate?


In some countries it is essential to be registered for VAT before any sales are made in that country. In order to avoid what can be serious difficulties, an early registration is always advisable.

5.  Is retroactive VAT registration possible? (e.g. if business abroad has already been completed)


Only a few countries explicitly provide for registration to be backdated to the commencement of business in the foreign country; this would allow transactions already completed to be declared retroactively.

Network Member of the European Accounting, Audit, Tax and Law Association EuropeFides Tax consultancy by V&Z Audit et Conseil, Paris, France Verified and certified by ChambersTrust