VAT change for the digital business

The one-stop VAT service starts from 1 January 2015 for businesses supplying what are collectively known as ‘digital services’ in the EU. The effect of the measures is that a business will not have to account and pay VAT separately in each country where they do business which would otherwise be the case following a change in the place of supply rule.

Digital services essentially means broadcasting, telecoms and e-services including those selling apps, e-books, streaming services (e.g. sports/film/tv/music), dating services and journals, newspapers and magazines that are subscribed to electronically and smartphone games.

Change of place of supply

From 1 January 2015 the place of supply for VAT purposes for a EU business selling digital services will change. Currently, intra-EU supplies of digital services to non-business customers are subject to VAT in the member state where the supplier belongs. From 1 January 2015 this changes, so that the VAT is due where the customer who receives the service lives or is located. This will ensure that UK consumers of these services will pay UK VAT no matter where the supplier of those services belongs. In order that UK businesses supplying digital services do not have to register for VAT in every EU member state where they have customers, an optional VAT ‘Mini One Stop Shop’ (MOSS) online service has been set up by HMRC. Other EU member states will be building their own systems. Sally Beggs, Deputy Director Indirect Tax, HMRC, said:

‘The VAT MOSS is a tool that saves digital services suppliers from having to register for VAT in every member state in which they sell such services. Businesses with their main operation or headquarters in the UK will register with HMRC to use the service. They can register for the online service and then authorise an agent to act on their behalf.’

Between 27,000 and 42,000 UK businesses are expected to register with the service, most of them small and medium-sized enterprises. Businesses will be able to register for VAT MOSS from October 2014. The service will be available to use from 1 January 2015. If this affects your business and you would like more detailed information or guidance on the matter please do not hesitate to contact us.

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