VAT for events

VAT For Events: Digital Or In-person

August 9, 2021 in Ecommerce Tips, European VAT, News, VAT, VAT rates

VAT For Events: Digital Or In-person

Now that the world is finally starting to get back to normal after more than a year of Covid-19-induced change, many firms are beginning to organise in-person events, fairs, trade shows, and other gatherings. Your firm might be considering doing this itself. Or maybe you’re an old hand at organizing events and are going to be getting back into the swing. But have you considered the international VAT obligations? With VAT rates ranging as high as 25% in the EU, the question is not trivial and the company that ignores the VAT implications for its customers and for itself puts its very financial outlook at risk.

The questions are many and manifold. If you are organizing the event in your home country, you might think that the answers are simple, but they are, in fact, not always so easy. We all know that the General Rule for Business-to-Business services says that the service is taxable at the location where the recipient has its place of business. But did you know there is an exception for admission to artistic, cultural, scientific, and education events? And what about the supply services connected to immoveable property? That’s an exception to the General Rule, but how does that work with Trade Show booths? And what about the supplies of electricity or catering services, furniture rentals or display elements? And what about your attendees? If they’re business customers, they’ll have reclaimable input VAT.

All these questions, and more, need to be handled with care. And their importance only grows when the international element is added on top. Whether you’re holding an event in another country or you have international guests at your domestic event, you’ll want to make certain that the VAT is handled correctly to minimise both your own costs and the costs of your attendees.

What If I’ve Gone Digital?

But wait, you ask, “My next event is a *digital* event. We’re going to hold an online conference.” It worked during the pandemic and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” you say. Unfortunately, the rule surrounding online events are just as complex. If you have customers located in the UK or the EU, you very well might have a VAT obligation there. In fact, you may have a VAT obligation in every EU member state where you have customers, necessitating a registration through one of the One Stop Shop Schemes. But do you need the Union Scheme or the Non-Union Scheme? And what about the VAT Mini-One-Stop-Shop? What, exactly, is the Member State of identification? And do you need an intermediary? And then there’s the question of event swag. If you wanted to send your attendees swag, how do you get it to them? Is there VAT involved?

Luckily the experts at are happy to help. Our VAT Consultants are ready to discuss with you the ins and outs of VAT compliance for your event management operations, both in-person and online.  We can make sure you apply the correct VAT rates and report the transactions to the correct tax authorities. We can even do this for you if you’d like. And we can advise you on the steps you can take to help your customers save on their VAT bills too. Running events is hard enough. You have to juggle advertising, speakers, catering, logistics, and any number of other matters. Leave the VAT to and focus on what you’re best at!

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