VAT - Holding your event in the UK
Businesses and voluntary organisations holding conferences and events in the UK are likely to incur UK Value Added Tax (VAT) on invoices for the associated costs.
Typical costs on which VAT will normally be charged include:
- Hotels and accommodation
- Restaurant meals
- Exhibition, event and conference costs
- Marketing and promotional costs
- Diesel / petrol
- Car rental/transport
- Professional fees
At present the VAT rate in the UK is 20% for most supplies. Entities acting in a business capacity can usually recover the VAT incurred. However, some non-business entities (e.g. certain charities, educational and voluntary bodies) will not be eligible to recover VAT on purchases in the UK despite being obliged to pay it.
Overseas VAT refunds
- VAT law in the UK allows businesses established overseas, that have no UK establishment, to reclaim UK VAT subject to certain conditions.
- Companies must file a specific form, backed-up with legal documentation, and then submit the paperwork to the UK Tax authorities (HMRC). To process the claim, HMRC will typically require the original VAT invoices and a copy of your company's VAT / Tax certificate.
- If you are entitled to reclaim VAT we can help you with this process by checking the VAT on the invoices to ensure they are reclaimable, preparing the claim and submitting it to HMRC on your behalf. If issues arise relating to the claim, we can speak directly to HMRC and may assist in resolving any queries. We can also help non-European companies recover the VAT they incur elsewhere in the European Union.
- Find out more in our latest guide to recovering VAT within Europe.
Registering for VAT in the UK
- For organisers of events where delegates are charged for attendance there may be additional VAT requirements. You may need to register for VAT if your turnover of VAT taxable goods and services supplied within the UK is more than the current VAT registration threshold of £73,000. This rule applies to income received from conference or event registration fees.
- Once registered, your organisation will be obliged to charge VAT on any delegate fees or other supplies and will be required to submit UK VAT returns (usually on a quarterly basis). However, having a VAT registration also means that any VAT incurred on purchases within the UK will be reclaimable through the VAT returns.
- The above rules also apply to non-business organisations, however depending on the nature of your activities it is possible that your supplies may be exempt from VAT and we can help you determine whether this is the case.
The Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (TOMS)
- Some event organisers also need to be aware of a special VAT accounting regime (TOMS) which applies to providers of packaged supplies of travel services. TOMS is a special VAT accounting scheme applying to certain designated travel supplies that are bought in and sold on by businesses. TOMS is therefore particularly relevant to those organising travel packages on behalf of their delegates.
- Under TOMS, businesses are unable to recover VAT charged on their purchases in the UK, but are only required to account for VAT on the margin they receive on the sale of the travel services.
- We can help you establish whether or not your activities in the UK fall under the TOMS scheme, and the recoverability of any VAT you may incur as a result.
- We can help you to determine how the UK VAT rules might affect your organisation.
- We can review individual scenarios and advise on whether VAT registration is required and what VAT recovery may be achievable.
- We can work together to establish the most cost effective solution for you to hold your event in the UK.
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