Understanding VAT Obligations: European Events

Global events are popular once again and conferences and exhibitions often create VAT registration obligations in different European Union Member States that your business operates in.

Navigating these complex place of supply rules can be challenging. Legislation varies country-to-country and the type of event you’re organising affects this. Download our helpful guide to understand what your VAT obligations are.

Place of Supply Rules

When determining where tax applies to an event, it’s important to consider the place of supply rules.

These can be confusing and hard to interpret. When organising events and conferences, there are two basic rules to think about:

  1. Does the service being supplied fall under the general place of supply rules, in which case, if the supply is B2B, VAT is due where the customer is based. In this scenario if the customer is established outside the UK, then the customer has to account for VAT on behalf of the supplier in the country they are established in under the reverse charge rules in the EU or potentially equivalent if non-EU.
  2. Does the supply fall under any of the exceptions to the main rule? The most common example being admission to conferences and events whereby VAT is due where the event is held.

Get the guide

As you can see, VAT and events is a complex affair.

Admission to events, exhibitions and conferences in the EU is subject to VAT in the country where the event takes place. In addition to admission, other considerations include stand rental, local suppliers, sponsorship packages and catering services.

Our guide covers these topics:

  • VAT registration – where should I register and what VAT rules should I consider?
  • Event organisers – what VAT liabilities apply and how does it affect clients?
  • Online events – how do the rules differ for online events, both for B2B and B2C?
  • Hybrid events – are these taxed differently?
  • VAT reclaims – what claims are possible and what VAT can I recover?

Tour operators margin scheme (TOMS)

In addition to these common concerns, the Sovos Understanding VAT Obligations: European Events guide also explores TOMS – the tour operators margin scheme.

If a business buys in and sells services such as hotel accommodation, passenger transport or excursions to its clients/delegates in its own name, TOMS may well apply. The supply of services that fall under the scheme receive a different tax treatment to most supplies of services. They can require the undertaking of a complex calculation.

Also covered is a summary of non-EU events and how to apply VAT when hosting an event outside of the European Union.

For example, some non-EU countries will apply similar rules to the EU and a registration may be

Needed. However the issues will often be complex and require a business to carefully consider the organisation of the event at the outset. VAT recovery in non-EU countries will also vary and not all countries will allow refunds to overseas businesses.  

Compliance peace of mind with a complete, global VAT Managed Service from Sovos

Whatever your VAT implications, Sovos has the expertise to help you navigate your global events and the complexities of cross-border VAT obligations. Our VAT Managed Services ease your compliance workload while mitigating risk wherever you operate today. In addition, we ensure you’re ready to handle the VAT requirements in the markets you intend to lead tomorrow.