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The German VAT Treatment of Exhibition, Conference and Seminar Services

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Go carefully if you organise or attend exhibitions in Germany

Alexander AltmannAlexander Altmann, Manager of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce’s Tax Services department, attended our online seminar which described the HMRC’s new rules regarding VAT and events. After the seminar he reminded me that the 27 member states of the European Union have a certain amount of flexibility when implementing EU VAT Directives which frequently results in differences between the national laws of the member states.

From the beginning of this year each member state should have had in place its new rules regarding the supply of events.  In the March edition of The Business Briefing I explained that the new place of supply rules regarding events can make it necessary for you to register for VAT in each of the EU countries in which you organise events.

The implementation of these new rules is a typical example of member states interpreting them differently particularly when it comes to exhibitions, conferences and seminars.

Germany hosts many international exhibitions attracting people from all over the world to either exhibit at these events or attend them.  Alexander has explained to me that in the context of exhibitions it could be very easy for people to apply the wrong VAT treatment if they do not understand the differences between ‘letting of space’, ‘the supply of ancillary services' and ‘the supply of admission'.  He also stressed that it is vitally important to recognise when there is a land related supply of exhibitions in Germany and German VAT has to be charged and when there is a supply to which the German reverse charge has to be applied.

We are developing a 90 minute live online seminar which we will be presenting in October and November.  It will explain fully the German VAT treatment of the supply of exhibition, conference and seminar services.

Alexander and his team of VAT specialists at the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce are helping us with the design of the seminar.

Stephen Smith
Managing Director
UK Training (Worldwide) Limited


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