International services ― overview

Produced by Tolley

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

  • International services ― overview
  • What is the place of supply of services?
  • The general rule
  • Exceptions to the general rule
  • B2B or B2C?
  • Belonging / establishment
  • The reverse charge ― buying in services from outside the UK
  • International services ― practical points
  • Related reading

International services ― overview

This guidance note provides an overview of the rules which dictate the place of supply of services for VAT purposes. The guidance note covers the rules which apply with effect from 1 January 2021 (ie the end of the Brexit transition period).

In certain (relatively limited) areas, some amendments were made to the place of supply of services rules with effect from that date.

For in-depth commentary on the legislation and case law relating to the place of supply of services, see De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.181.

What is the place of supply of services?

A supply of services is only within the scope of UK VAT when it takes place within the UK. Therefore, where cross-border transactions are involved, it is important to have rules that provide clarity on whether that transaction is to be treated for VAT purposes as taking place within the UK or elsewhere.

The general rule

There is a ‘general rule’ for the place of supply of services. The default position is that supplies of services will be treated under this general rule. The general rule is described in the Place of supply of services ― the general rule, relevant business persons and belonging guidance note.

Exceptions to the general rule

In addition to the general rule, there are a variety of special place of supply rules for different kinds of services. These special

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