Reclaiming VAT on EU purchases

How to Reclaim VAT on EU Purchases?


We all love being abroad and going on a vacation to get a break from work. Whether you are associated with the business world and carrying out your business activities or you work for an employer and own different employment status, the mutual ground of employees is to be agreed on being abroad. This changes the air once in a while. However, have you ever experienced being on a vacation abroad? Find out a product that is very useful for your business that was not available in the UK.  This could be any business tool and you have made up your mind to make a purchase. However, all you are now thinking about is reclaiming VAT on EU purchases.

This is quite understandable that you have invested in the product as a business purchase. And now wondering how will you manage to reclaim VAT. You need to stop wondering as we have gathered the answers to all possible and frequently asked questions here. This includes the basic information about what is the service related to EU VAT refund or what is the process to claim VAT on the products and services that you have purchased in the EU.


Get in touch with one of our team members to know more about Reclaiming VAT on EU-purchased products and services. We will ensure to provide the best possible tax advice for your business.


Services and Products In the EU Countries

In the previous years, if you are experiencing a business purchase of a tool, product or service while you are visiting any of the countries in the EU, the only possible method to reclaim VAT was to get the process initiated in the same country where you have made the purchase. You had to deal with the new tax authorities of the relevant country. The only limitation applied to this practice was to be VAT registered in the other country to do the process in other EU countries. However, in the case when you were not a VAT registered individual there, the only way out was to go for a stand-alone claim to get the amount back as VAT.

This process of stand-alone claim was not much appreciated by people because of its slow pace. People would get frustrated and leave the process halfway there. After considering these factors, HMRC and the EU countries introduced the EU VAT refund service just to make the process swift and easy for such people. It turned out to be very practical when people are visiting EU countries which brought the popularity of this service among them. The reason this scheme is still intact to date.


Reclaiming VAT on EU Purchased Products and Services

The good news is that it is allowable for you to deal with your submission in this case online as well. However, you have to be clear about the process that you will claim for foreign VAT and bring this into HMRC’s knowledge. There is no such requirement of getting in touch with the tax authorities of the EU country where you bought the product or service. People are still confused about this rule which makes them mishandle the whole process which results in claim rejection by HMRC. Look into the following suggestions to make a successful claim.



Do not consider the shopping items you bought in other countries and brought them back to the UK to claim for VAT. Such cases will not make you eligible to make a claim. These items are considered imported items and the regular VAT rules are implemented for them. You will then get the sale zero-rated by the seller and while you are in the process of claiming in the UK, you will mention the items are imported. In case you have paid the foreign VAT on these items, you are no longer eligible to claim VAT in the UK.



Let’s take the example of Henry who has bought IT equipment from Germany and has paid the German VAT already. When Henry is back in the UK and finally decides to claim VAT. He is no more eligible because he has paid VAT in the EU. HMRC will reject the claim and the foreign tax authorities will not entertain the case as well. He can not even use the EU VAT refund service.



This is advisable in Henry’s case to inform the seller that he will take the IT equipment with him back to the UK for business use on a permanent base. He could request the seller to zero rate his VAT. This is a simple process and Henry had to provide the seller with his VAT number, business address and name details.


Uses of EU VAT Refund Service

In case you are using EU VAT refund service for the business products you aim to take to another EU country, car hires and hotel bills are a few such examples. There are a few limitations to getting this accepted by HMRC. These are listed below for you:

  • This is for a usage period that should not exceed a year.
  • The minimum period is three months.
  • This should be submitted at the end of September.


The Bottom Line

Now that you have gathered a fair amount of information about reclaiming VAT on EU purchases, we can bring the discussion towards wrapping up. We can say that reclaiming VAT on EU purchases has made the process a lot easier than dealing with other countries’ tax authorities. However,  if the rules are not followed as instructed by HMRC, your case will face immediate rejection which is a damaging factor for your business. We hope you will handle your VAT claims more efficiently now.


Reach out to us to get your queries answered today. Our young and creative team members love to deal with and hear out your problems. 


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article about reclaiming VAT on EU purchases includes text and graphics in general. It does not intend to disregard any of the professional advice.

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