What is VAT?

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied on goods and services in many countries around the world.

What is VAT Refund?

The national tax regulations of various western European countries, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United Arab Emirates allow for a refund of VAT to most non-resident business entities worldwide. For VAT not related to travel and entertainment, registration for VAT may be required in order to get a refund. In some cases, registration must be completed prior to the business transaction.

What are the VAT rates?

Standard VAT rates vary from country to country, and could vary from 5% to as high as 25%. Please click here to view details.

What items are eligible for a VAT refund?

Typically recoverable expenses are:

  • Travel Expenses:
    • Hotels
    • Car Rentals
    • Meals
    • Telephone Charges
  • Meeting Expenses:
    • Seminars
    • Conferences
    • Training
    • Trade Shows
    • Product Launches
  • Professional Fees:
    • Legal
    • Accounting/Tax
    • Marketing/Advertising
    • Investor Relations
    • Business Consulting
  • Inter-company Charges
    • Management Fees
    • Shared Service Charges
    • IT/Telecommunications
    • Technical/R&D
    • Training
  • Many Others like:
    • Relocations
    • Services for Expats
    • Warranty Services
    • Parts/Tooling Works
    • Installations
    • Private Aviation Charge

What’s needed for processing a VAT refund?

A business must submit VAT invoices to get their refunds processed. Countries can have different individual requirements when it comes to documents that need to be submitted with a VAT refund application. UVS makes it easy for clients by notifying them in a timely manner about applicable refund relevant country specific rules.

How do the VAT refund procedures work?

Most companies that incur VAT in refunding countries are entitled to apply for a refund. A claim has to be filed with the local tax authority, usually in the local language. The original invoices must be submitted with the claim, including signed refund forms. A tax residency certificate will also need to be filed annually. The tax authorities will process the claim, and approve the refund.

Our Expense Reports are scanned and we no longer retain the originals. Can we still file for VAT refund?

Unfortunately, no! It is mandatory that the original invoices, such as hotel and car rental invoices, be submitted with the VAT refund claim. If your company does not require its travelers to send in the originals with their T&E expense reports, you may need to change intra-company regulations to include original invoices.
In the case of a few countries, scanned invoices or photocopies may be accepted if the company states in writing to the relevant VAT authority that they maintain a Digital Archive only, and that all originals are destroyed.

How can we know the extent of VAT refund our company may be able to claim?

Estimates of the VAT refund potential can be made based on reports that can be generated by Travel Management Companies using their reservations systems. These are typically hotel reservations and/or City-Pair Reports. UVS will provide the VAT refund analysis to your company, free of cost.

Import VAT: Federal Express charged VAT to our company. Can we claim it back?

VAT and import fees charged by a carrier, such as FedEx and UPS, can sometimes be claimed back. It will often be necessary to change document preparation routines for filling out the export documents before the shipments are made. UVS can assist your staff with these formalities.

Why should we use Universal VAT Service to recover VAT?

VAT refund rules and regulations are complex. They vary from country to country. Local tax authorities sometimes require that the application and communications be conducted in their own language. By acting as your single-source VAT services provider, UVS makes it convenient for your company to collect VAT refunds. We communicate with the local tax authorities. We understand and have experience with their unique requirements and regulations. UVS has the necessary knowledge, processes and procedures to expedite your claims for prompt refunds and maximized payments. UVS is also able to assist with efficiently structuring your organization’s financial and operational processes for ongoing VAT refunds and management.

Are there deadlines for obtaining VAT refunds?

Yes, there are deadlines. All compliant invoices for a calendar year must be submitted for VAT refunds by June 30 of the following year. The only exception is the United Kingdom: the deadline is based on their fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). UK refund applications must be submitted by December 31 for the previous fiscal year. Intra European Union refunds are governed by a different Directive and have different deadlines.