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Reclaiming Overseas VAT is Now Easier

Newsletter issue - January 2010.

At last a solution has been found to the problems businesses face when trying to reclaim overseas VAT. From 1 January 2010, to claim a refund of VAT you have paid in another EU county you must complete an online claim in the UK. You don't have to battle with lots of incomprehensible forms in other languages, as the claim will be done entirely in English. The UK tax office will forward your claim to the relevant country, which will process the refund within four months of receipt. You should then receive the payment due within a further 10 days.

To make VAT refund claims in respect of VAT paid in other EU countries you need to first register to use the Tax Office VAT EU refunds system, which is part of the VAT online service. Alternatively we can register on your behalf and submit refund claims for you.

Claims made from 1 January 2010 can cover VAT incurred on expenses in 2009. The deadline for 2009 invoices is 30 September 2010. Unfortunately claims for VAT paid on 2008 invoices are now out of time. Up to five refund claims can be made for each country for each calendar year: one for each quarter and a sweep-up claim for the whole year. The minimum amount of the VAT to be included in each claim has been standardised at €400 per quarter, or €50 for the sweep-up claim for the full year.

There are a lot of different rules that block the refund of VAT for certain purchases, such as VAT on the purchase of cars in the UK. These blocking rules vary widely across the EU countries but they are summarised in new VAT notice number 723A: Refunds of VAT in the European Community.

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