A change in European Union VAT rules for business-to-business services will
create administrative headaches for UK companies and could increase the cost of
using low-cost administrative services from countries such as India, experts
VAT is normally charged where the supplier is based. However, there are
exceptions to the rule, such as consultancy and advertising services, in which a
customer will pay VAT for a business service based on their country’s tax rate.
Under the new rules, which come into force on 1 January next year, the VAT
charge will be paid by the customer of a business service in the country where
the customer is established.
Companies will have to complete a quarterly ‘EC sales list’ form, which must
show the value of supplies to each customer along with the customer’s VAT
‘Tax authorities are going to be a lot tougher on [EC sales list forms] in
the future,’ said Stephen Coleclough, VAT partner at
Baker Tilly said the EU VAT change might increase costs for UK financial
companies that buy administrative and clerical services from offshore centres
such as India.
In a statement, HM Revenue & Customs said that it had consulted
extensively with industry, including the finance and insurance sectors, on the
possible affects of the changes for VAT charges on business-to-business
‘While some businesses may incur VAT on such services which they are unable
to recover in full, those sectors have not indicated that the additional cost
will be significant,’ HMRC said.
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