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VAT and cross border trade
I was delighted to participate in the VAT Practitioners Group Conference on 12th June which had over 80 people attending, representing many of the large professional firms and sole practitioners involved in advising their clients on VAT issues.

I was asked to facilitate a session which looked at three complex arrangements which involved cross border transactions. They were all based on real life examples where people had applied the wrong VAT treatment. I was accompanied by two VAT experts: Peter Bright of Fiscal Solutions; and Alexander Altmann of BRAL.

In the first situation, a UK company was acting as an intermediary, arranging the supply of goods from a Portuguese manufacturer to a Belgian customer’s warehouse located in France. The UK intermediary was not clear whether there was a triangular set of transactions under which it could apply the simplification arrangements and avoid registering for VAT in France.

The second one was a confused set of circumstances where a group company based in Ireland was acting as an invoice processing centre on behalf of another group company based in England. The English company was supplying an English customer using the services of a third party haulage company also based in England. The picture became confused when the Irish invoice processing centre arranged for the haulier to treat the supply of freight as an EU sale to its Irish VAT number.

The third was an American intermediary arranging for a German supplier to deliver goods to one of its customers in France. Under the guidance of a third party tax advisor the American intermediary registered for VAT in Germany which led to the German supplier charging VAT to the American intermediary. The VAT was being recovered on a German VAT return which was not declaring any output VAT. Under the expert guidance of Peter with his intimate knowledge of the French VAT regulations and Alex’s deep understanding of German VAT it became apparent that the wrong advice had been given by the third party tax advisor.

All three scenarios generated very interesting discussions among the breakout groups and there was a diverse range of views expressed. Ruth Corkin, the Technical Chair of the VPG, was delighted with the success of the conference and she shared with me the feedback regarding the session which included the following comments.

  • “Very useful and stimulating. The format worked very well.”
  • “First class session - really great!”
  • “Very much enjoyed the interactive aspect of this session and being relatively new to VAT found the technical side extremely beneficial.”

When I was leaving the conference Peter and Alex expressed their delight for how well the session went and Peter said “There were three good things about the session - it was practical, it was practical and it was practical”.

Since the conference Peter and I have further developed the session to become a practical three hour seminar which will add three more interesting scenarios to the those discussed at the conference. We will be presenting this seminar on 21st October - for details of the seminar please visit this page.


Stephen Smith

Managing Director
UK Training (Worldwide) Limited

 


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