UK VAT reclaims for Non-EU firms

Many businesses established outside the European Union (EU) that incur UK Value Added Tax (VAT) are unaware that they can apply for a reclaim from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK tax authority, reducing the cost of UK-incurred expenses by as much as 16%.

For such firms, UK VAT is typically incurred when personnel based outside the EU travel to the UK on business and incur costs.

Examples include hotel accommodation and meals (excluding business entertainment), seminar or conference attendance charges, telecommunications, and administration or booking fees relating to travel (but generally not for the cost of travel itself).

To take advantage of this facility, known as a 13th VAT Directive claim, businesses must:

  • be a trading business outside the EU.
  • not have a branch located in the UK (although having a UK subsidiary does not generally invalidate the claim).
  • not be registered, liable or eligible to be registered for VAT in the UK.
  • be able to provide HMRC with appropriate original paperwork relating to the UK-incurred expenditure.

HMRC operate a strict deadline for reclaims. Applications are made annually for 12-month periods to 30 June and must be submitted by the following 31 December.

How we can help

Wheelhouse Advisors’ UK tax and accounting specialists can assist clients outside the EU to confirm their eligibility for 13th VAT Directive claims.

By handling all aspects of the application process, we simplify the reclaim process, resulting in lower costs of business trips for non-EU clients visiting the UK.