ESS - VAT registration under the special scheme for non-EU businesses (VOES)

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • ESS - VAT registration under the special scheme for non-EU businesses (VOES)
  • How does VOES work?
  • Information required in order to complete the VAT registration form
  • What happens if the business' circumstances change?
  • How does a business submit the VAT return and make payments under the scheme?

Please note that the registration scheme outlined below can only be used in respect of services made before 1 January 2015 as a new scheme called Non-Union Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) has been introduced to cover supplies made after this date, as the rules relating to e-services has been revised with effect from this date. Please note that from 1 January 2015, VOES will continue to be available only for late declarations, or for making corrections to declarations, for periods ending on or before 31 December 2014.

A non-EU business that provides ESS to private customers within the EU is required to register for VAT in the country where the customer belongs. As a result, under the normal VAT rules, a non-EU business could be required to have multiple VAT registration numbers across the EU if they provide ESS services in a number of EU countries. For more information on ESS, see the Electronically supplied services (ESS) guidance note.

In order to reduce the potentially enormous compliance burden that could be imposed upon larger business trading across the EU, the EU introduced a special VAT registration scheme for businesses supplying ESS within the EU which has been called VAT on e-services (VOES).

Please note that this scheme can only be used in respect of relevant ESS supplies and cannot be used if the business supplies other types of goods and services within the EU. Businesses making these types of supplies would need to register in each EU country under the normal VAT registration rules.

How does VOES work?

A non-EU business that meets the requirements listed below can opt to VAT register in one EU country in respect of all ESS supplies made within the EU. The business will need to determine the value of ESS made in each EU country and the associated VAT due in that EU

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