Are You Confused by VAT for Your EMEA Events?

Posted by Kevin Iwamoto on 03/13/2015

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PCMA released a quick and easy-to-understand Value Added Tax (VAT) FAQ resource — featuring Jean-François Benard and Marc Lieber of BC&A — who provided a list of tips for Value Added Tax in the European Union.

In case you were not familiar with BC&A: They were founded in 2004 — and they serve as a VAT consultant to the event industry, specializing in managing and recovering VAT for association events, corporate events, incentives and business travel expenses.

Here’s a couple of informative notes from the resource:

1. Even though we are a not‐for‐profit association, should we charge VAT on our invoices?

European law maintains that state, regional and local government authorities (and other bodies governed by public law) shall be regarded as taxable persons in respect of those activities or transactions where their treatment as non‐taxable persons would lead to significant distortions of competition.

E.g.: In a country where VAT rate is 19% registration to a congress is $1,000 without VAT and $1,190 with VAT — this is a significant distortion of competition of 19%.

2. To which country’s VAT laws will our event be subject?

The European law states that the place of supply of services shall be the place where the congress actually takes place. The delegate fee to a congress or an exhibition is always taxable where the event is held, and will be charged with the local standard VAT rate.

3. What are the key issues for recovering VAT?

Invoices are the documents that determine the amount of the VAT to be reimbursed by the Tax administration.

Because an event is subject to the ‘Place of Supply’ rule, invoices shall be issued according to the law where the event actually takes place.

  1. Incoming invoices

The professional buyer (either organizer or participant) is responsible for the invoices received. Upon review by the tax administration, a request for reimbursement may be rejected if the required legal wording does not appear on the invoice.

  1. Outgoing invoices

The organizer must issue invoices that enable his clients to recover the charged VAT.


To download the resource for the full FAQs, go to www.PCMA.org .


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