UK Reverse Charge

UK reverse charge for non-established companies

According to art 194 of the VAT Directive, Member States may implement an optional reverse charge on supplies made by non-established businesses. UK has only introduced this reverse charge on supplies of services located in the UK.

Where a non-established supplier provides services located in the UK to a UK VAT registered business, domestic reverse charge applies. It is not relevant if the supplier is registered or not.

  • Supplier requirements

    Not established in UK

    (irrelevant if the supplier is registered or not for VAT)

  • Customer requirements
    VAT registered in the UK
  • Scope
    Supplies of services located in UK

More information about the scope and VAT treatment of this reverse charge can be found in the online materials published by HMRC."
Reverse charge on B2B services in UK "Article 196 of the VAT Directive requires the reverse charge mechanism on all services subject to the B2B rule introduced in art. 44 of the same Directive. The B2B rule locates the transaction where the business customer is located. In case the customer is a private individual, B2C rules locate the transaction where the supplier is located.

According to the general B2B rule, any business not established in UK supplying services to a UK based customer will not charge any VAT and the transaction will be reverse charged by the customer.

There are however a number of exceptions to this rule. Where these exceptions apply, reverse charge is still applicable in UK:

  • Services connected to immoveable property are located where the property is located
  • Passenger transport services will be located where the transport takes places (apportioned if necessary)
  • Catering services are located where the catering takes place
  • Short term leasing of means of transport are located where the vehicle put at the disposal of the custome
  • Access to conferences, fairs and exhibitions is located where the event takes place

More information on the general B2B rule is available in the online information published by HMRC.

UK reverse charge on specific goods

Domestic reverse charge may also apply on certain goods and services in the UK. The conditions and scope change for each type of goods. This regime is often introduced on products that are likely to be used for carousel fraud purposes.

This type of reverse charge applies to mobile phones, computer chips, gas and electricity and emission allowances. In all cases, the customer must be VAT registered in the UK. It does not matter if the supplier is VAT registered or not. There are further conditions about the scope for each kind of supply:

Mobile phones: This includes accessories sold as a package and any device used as a mobile phone. For more information about the definition, please see notice 735.

There is a de minimis threshold of £5,000 for reverse charge on mobile phones to apply. This limit is calculated on an invoice basis and once exceeded, the reverse charge amount is the full invoice amount (the first £5,000 are not excluded).

Computer chips: This includes all computer chips falling in the commodity code: 8542 3190 00. This excludes laptops, desktops, servers and similar units.

Gas and electricity: This applies to wholesale supplies of gas and electricity between counterparties based in the UK. More information about the scope is available in section 3.4. of Notice 735.

Emission allowances: This refers to those compliance market credits which can be used to meet obligations under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS)

Regarding your invoices, they should comply with all UK invoice requirements. VAT will not be charged on the invoice. Instead, a reference to reverse charge should be stated. The following legend is suggested by HMRC:

Customer to account to HMRC for the reverse charge output tax on the VAT exclusive price of items marked reverse charge.

UK use and enjoyment rules

Member states can introduce another exception to the B2B rule according to the place where the services have been used and enjoyed. This exception may be introduced to avoid double taxation (positive use and enjoyment rules) or avoid non-taxation (negative use and enjoyment rules) or both.

UK has introduced the positive and negative use and enjoyment. This is, when certain services are delivered to a UK customer but consumed outside the EU, the place of supply would be deemed to be outside the EU (positive use and enjoyment). Similarly, when services are supplied to a non-EU customer but consumed in the UK, those services are deemed to be located in UK (negative use and enjoyment).

The following services are in scope: Telecommunication services, broadcasting services, electronically supplied services (to business customers), hired goods and hired means of transport.

More information is available in the online information published by the tax authorities. "

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