News and Insights

European Union VAT Recovery Deadline is Approaching

Tax Development Jun 11, 2011

June 30, 2011 is an important date for Ryan clients who may be eligible to recover Value-Added Tax (VAT) paid to many European Union (EU) member countries. In many cases, VAT paid in 2010 may not be recoverable if the required documentation is not filed with the respective EU authority by this date. Ryan’s Global VAT practice can provide assistance in preparing, submitting, and following up on claims to obtain approval and payment in most EU jurisdictions. To determine if Ryan’s Global VAT practice can help your organization recover EU VAT, consider the following questions.

Have you paid EU VAT?

VAT is collected in all EU countries. Quite often, Canadian and U.S. companies doing business in the EU are required to pay local VAT charges. VAT is usually charged on purchases and costs incurred locally within an EU country. This applies not only to commercial goods for further distribution, but also to hotel costs and other travel expenses, as well as certain services. Furthermore, VAT is normally charged on goods entering the EU from non-member countries (i.e., imports).

Can I recover the VAT?

In many EU countries, you may generally recover the VAT charged on purchases and costs that relate to your business, even when you are not registered for VAT in a particular country as a foreign tax payer. However, certain restrictions may lead to unrecoverable VAT, including whether a reciprocity agreement is required, the nature of your business, and the nature of the costs.

What is the deadline for recovering EU VAT?

The deadline in most EU countries for a VAT reclaim for 2010 is set for June 30, 2011. For this reason, clients with potential EU VAT recovery claims should take action quickly. In many EU countries, surpassing this deadline could lead to unrecoverable VAT. Please note, however, that in some EU countries, it is possible to recover VAT retrospectively as far back as five years. Therefore, if you have not recovered VAT in the past, it might still be possible to file a recovery claim.

How can Ryan help?

Through Ryan’s EU offices, we are able to support our clients throughout the VAT reclaim process. As you have come to expect of Ryan, we deliver top quality service to help ensure that your claim gets approved as quickly as possible. In addition, Ryan offers these services on a contingency basis, so you only pay for our services when we deliver results.

What information do I need to provide to process a claim?

In order to file your VAT recovery claim, we typically need the following information/documents for each EU country:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of your company, and the name and telephone number of a contact person within your company
  • A short description of the nature of your business in the EU (i.e., what sort of business, where do you purchase goods, and to whom do you sell) and in your home country
  • A statement from your local tax authorities that you are in fact a tax-paying company or some other proof of tax registration status (For U.S. companies, IRS form 6166 is generally used.)
  • Original invoices and/or import documents showing that you paid the EU VAT (Copies are not accepted by the tax authorities.)
  • A power of attorney or authorization in the name of Ryan to make the claim on your behalf (We can provide you with standard wording to be printed on your letterhead.)

Please note that additional information may be required for reclaims in certain EU countries prior to, or during the course of, the reclaim process. In some countries, a fiscal representative may have to be appointed. Ryan is able to help you with these requirements, where necessary and feasible.


Brendan F. Moore
Vice Chairman, Global VAT