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Change in place of supply rules for live virtual events

Indirect Tax Alert | VAT Alert

Council Directive (EU) 2022/542 implements new VAT place of supply rules for events that are streamed or otherwise made available virtually. As from 1 January 2025, live virtual events will be deemed to be supplied in the jurisdiction where the attendants are established, have their permanent address, or usually reside. The directive gives EU member states the possibility to apply reduced rates of VAT to certain of these virtual events.


With the digitalisation of the economy, increasing numbers of events, training sessions, and conferences are being organised in a virtual or hybrid manner. This trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the EU considered that there was a growing need for a legislative framework on the VAT treatment of virtual activities.

The lack of clear rules has given rise to considerable discussion and different interpretations across the EU regarding the place of supply. The uncertainty in this regard was exacerbated by the 2019 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Geelen case (C-568/17). The subsequent issuance by the EU VAT Committee of Working Paper 1013 and guidelines did not remove all ambiguity.

The implementation of the new rules is intended to clarify and harmonise the VAT place of supply rules for online events within the EU.

New place of supply rule

The amendments are intended to achieve taxation in the jurisdiction of consumption.

For events in a business-to-consumer (B2C) context, virtual events as from 1 January 2025 will be deemed to take place where the non-taxable person attending the event is established. The particular rule for events in article 54 of the EU VAT directive is extended to include situations where such activities are streamed or otherwise made virtually available.

For virtual events in a business-to-business (B2B) context, the place of supply will be the place where the customer is established according to the general place of supply rule for B2B services set out in article 44 of the EU VAT directive. Going forward, virtual events are explicitly excluded from the particular place of supply rule for events in article 53 of the EU VAT directive, according to which events are taxable where the event physically takes place. Deviations to this rule may still occur by application of the so-called “use and enjoyment rules” in national VAT legislation.

New reduced rate or exemption

As part of the reformed rules for VAT rates at the EU level, it was also explicitly included that member states may in the future apply the reduced rate on admission to certain events where those events are also live-streamed.

Implications for providers of online events

Businesses organising virtual events including live elements should assess the potential impact of these changes.

Depending on the current interpretation of the place of supply of virtual events, the applicable VAT treatment of these events may change as from 1 January 2025. For events hosted outside the EU, these new rules may conflict with the rules in the jurisdiction of the event and possibly lead to double taxation. Furthermore, the changes in the place of supply may also mean companies need to investigate the rules applicable in the jurisdictions of their customers with regard to potential reduced rates or exemptions (e.g., educational services provided by recognised bodies).

Furthermore, the new rules may lead to additional obligations to register for VAT purposes in all EU member states where the attendees of the event are located. It is essential to establish as soon as possible whether this is required to ensure adequate time for the necessary registrations, and also to investigate the possibility of opting for a One Stop Shop (OSS) registration allowing the provider to declare the VAT due in all member states of consumption via a single OSS return.

Finally, service providers need to investigate the potential implications of these changes for commercial agreements, customer onboarding processes, and invoicing procedures. 

How can Deloitte assist?

The legal change is expected to have a substantial impact on companies in a variety of industries that organise virtual events.

Deloitte is well placed to assist you by preparing an impact assessment of the new rules, verifying local implementation in the different EU member states, and guiding you through the possible changes required.

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