Place of supply of services ― broadcasting, telecommunication and electronic (BTE) services

Produced by Tolley

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

  • Place of supply of services ― broadcasting, telecommunication and electronic (BTE) services
  • What are BTE services?
  • Broadcasting services
  • Telecommunication services
  • Electronically supplied services (e-services)
  • What is the place of supply of BTE services?
  • Which kinds of BTE services can use and enjoyment apply to?
  • How does use and enjoyment apply to these BTE services?
  • How might use and enjoyment apply in practice?
  • How to determine where customers receiving BTE services belong?
  • More...

Place of supply of services ― broadcasting, telecommunication and electronic (BTE) services

This guidance note looks at the special place of supply rules that apply to broadcasting, telecommunication and electronic (BTE) services.

For an overview of VAT and international services more broadly, see the International services ― overview guidance note.

In-depth commentary on the legislation and case law that applies to BTE services can be found in De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.193B.

What are BTE services?

BTE services consist of:

  1. broadcasting services

  2. telecommunication services

  3. and electronic services

The meaning of these terms is described below.

Broadcasting services

Broadcasting services include transmission by audio and video signals, regardless of the means used (eg landline, line of sight or satellite link). An example of a broadcasting service is when a customer takes out a subscription for satellite or cable television. However, it should be noted that the service of transmitting another person’s material by electronic means is not a broadcasting service.

HMRC has suggested that both of the following fall within this category of services:

  1. the supply of audio and audio-visual content for simultaneous listening or viewing by the general public on the basis of a programme schedule by a person that has editorial responsibility

  2. live streaming via the internet if broadcasted at the same time as transmission via radio or television

VAT rules for supplies of digital services to consumers

Telecommunication services

Telecommunication services are defined in VAT law as services relating to the transmission, emission or reception of signals, writing, images and sounds or information of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems, including:

  1. the related transfer or assignment of the right to use capacity for such transmission, emission or reception

  2. the provision of access to global information networks

VATA 1994, Sch 4A, para 9E

The following are typical examples of telecommunication services (this list is not exhaustive):

  1. telephone calls, calls delivered by cellular phones, paging, the transmission element of Electronic Data Interchange, teleconferencing and call-back services

  2. switching, completion of another provider’s

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