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VAT number required for inclusion in a database?
Thread poster: Dave Greatrix

Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Dutch to English
+ ...
May 19, 2003

I recently received an e-mail from a translation agency in Holland. There was an application form attached, which I completed and returned.



I have just received a reply explaining that because I do not have a VAT registration number, I cannot be included in the agency\'s database.



As this is a new one on me, can anybody explain?



Self-employed workers in the UK are only allowed to apply for a VAT number if their annual turnover is expected to be in the region of €75,000, a figure that would probably exclude the majority of translators.



Any thoughts??





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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member
German to English
+ ...
Voluntary registration is possible.. May 19, 2003



2003-05-19 11:54 (Dave) wrote:



Self-employed workers in the UK are only allowed to apply for a VAT number if their annual turnover is expected to be in the region of €75,000, a figure that would probably exclude the majority of translators.







This isn\'t technically true. You can apply for VAT registration whatever your turnover, it is only once it exceeds GBP 55,000 (ish!) that it becomes mandatory to register. Having said that, there is no reason to expect a translator to register and I cannot see why not having a VAT number would mean you could not work for a given agency.



FWIW



Mary


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:53
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
There is an alternative May 19, 2003

A good friend decided to re-establish herself in the UK whilst continuing to work with mainland European clients. She was asked by her clients to present a kind of VAT exemption number (this was last year). Her district Inland Revenue office took about 2 days to figure out what this was about since it seemed that the measure was new at the time and was purposely intended for those professionals invoicing EU countries.



Ask about it, and don\'t give up if they tell you it\'s not possible. My friend got her exemption within the same week.





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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2004)
German to English
I just use my self-employment tax reference number May 19, 2003

This proves that you are self-employed and subject to UK tax. I also explain the rules for VAT registration in the UK. I haven\'t had a problem with it yet.



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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 20:53
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Ridiculous demand! May 19, 2003

I\'d write to them politely explaining that you are willing to divulge even your bank account but only after entering into a business relation with them.

There is no reason in the world for them to have it before that happen, so could they please change their programming at risk of missing you as a prospective translator.



Best regards



Mats J C Wiman

Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe

http://www.MatsWiman.com

http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com

http://www.proz.com/translator/1749

(ProZ.com deu>swe & forum moderator)

eMail : MatsWiman@tele2.se

Street: Träsk 201

Post : S-872 97 Skog

Tel : +46-612-54112

Fax : +46-612-54181

Mobile: +46-70-5769797



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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:53
English to German
+ ...
Not that ridiculous May 19, 2003

Mats,

In some cases you are under a legal obligation to disclose this kind of information. For instance, if you\'re running a commercial website in Germany, you must disclose your VAT ID (provided that you are registered for VAT, but that\'s likely to be the case for most translators). Also, since July last year (if I remember correctly), invoices issued in Germany must indicate the tax number (which is not the same as the VAT ID).



Besides, it\'s standard commercial procedure to disclose your banking details - these are very often printed on business notepaper.



Best regards, Ralf


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Sense and Nonsense of VAT ID May 19, 2003

A well written explanation (in German) can be found at:

http://www.adue-nord.de/archiv/umsatzsteuer.pdf



In your case it is the agency who should provide their VAT ID.

You are supposed to provide yours only if they work for you...



[ This Message was edited by:on2003-05-19 13:53]


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Jacqueline van der Spek  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:53
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
blame the Dutch tax man, not the agency May 19, 2003



2003-05-19 11:54 (Dave) wrote:



I have just received a reply explaining that because I do not have a VAT registration number, I cannot be included in the agency\'s database.







The Dutch tax man is a nuisance and he insists on receiving the VAT no. of the suppliers of services and goods that are not under Dutch VAT. In The Netherlands every self-employed translator, no matter how little he/she earns, gets a VAT number and has to put it on his/her stationary.



I\'m sorry, that\'s the way it is here. The agency is not to blame in this case, but the tax man.



Good luck,

Jacqueline





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François Lozano
Local time: 20:53
English to French
+ ...
are you living in the UK or in Spain? May 19, 2003

you are right about VAT reg number in the UK, but if you live and work in Spain, you need to be registered as freelancer (\"autónomo\"), your VAT reg number will then be your Foreign ID number.




[addsig]


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2004)
German to English
Considering this is supposed to be a pan-EU tax May 20, 2003

it\'s pretty complicated, isn\'t it? It would be so much easier if all the rules were the same in each country - then we\'d all know where we stood. That\'s why I use the self-employed tax reference number - that way all the pen pushers have a number where they want one! My accountant tells me that it\'s not a good idea to register voluntarily for VAT because it creates paperwork that needs completing on a regular basis - and we don\'t want to give the bureaucrats more work, do we?

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member
German to English
+ ...
Voluntary VAT registration May 20, 2003



2003-05-20 06:49 gilln wrote:



My accountant tells me that it\'s not a good idea to register voluntarily for VAT because it creates paperwork that needs completing on a regular basis - and we don\'t want to give the bureaucrats more work, do we?





There are pros and cons to VAT registration. I am VAT registered (on a voluntary basis). Although it does mean more paperwork, it\'s not much.



You have to keep a record of all company receipts and expenses anyway, so the only additional work is filling in a VAT return. With an automated accounts package (e.g. QuickBooks) this is perhaps a ten-minute job every three months.



The major bonus of being VAT registered is the money you save. Computers, office supplies, software, etc. are all 15 % cheaper.



FWIW



Mary


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
German to English
+ ...
Be reasonable May 20, 2003

Agencies do not, on the whole, have procedures that are difficult just for the sake of it. Their procedures are designed to streamline the business process. A lot of man hours can easily be wasted in administrative tasks and if they can be systemized, it increases the agency\'s margin. That, ultimately, enables agencies to pay their freelancers more, or faster, or both.



Whatever system an agency implements, there will be exceptions that cause hiccups for some people. Some agencies I work for only have one entry for price, which is not compatible with my multiple price system. Another agency insists that I inform them of the line count when delivering the job. Normally, I don\'t count the text until I invoice it, and I am very slow at writing invoices. But if the agency has to wait weeks before it can write its own invoice (and it is reasonable for it to want to know my line count, if only to confirm its own), it has a cash-flow problem. And freelancers are not notoriously understanding of agencies\' cash-flow problems...



As can be seen from the other messages, there is a solution to the \"problem\" caused by the fact that many UK-based translators are not registered for VAT. The solution is definitely NOT to behave as if the agency were being unreasonable.



Incidentally, registering for VAT in the UK does not make computers, office supplies, etc. 15% cheaper. According to my calculations (which I wouldn\'t trust, if I were you), it makes them 10.4744% cheaper. (Mary is now welcome to call me a pedantic old *******. )



Marc



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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Does vol. registration mean you collect VAT and pay it to the exchequer? May 20, 2003

The major bonus of being VAT registered is the money you save. Computers, office supplies, software, etc. are all 15 % cheaper.



FWIW



Mary

[/quote]



Does voluntary registration for VAT mean you collect VAT and pay it to the exchequer, if gross turnover is below the threshold. I\'ve always just assumed that it did, but you\'ve got me wondering now.



Best wishes

Giuli


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member
German to English
+ ...
Marc, you pedantic old *******! May 20, 2003

Where do you get ten point whatever percent? According to my calculations (and I\'m the first to admit I\'m no accountant), 100 pounds minus the VAT is 85.11 pounds. Which is 15 (ish) percent cheaper in my book! .



Certainly, 15 percent is the figure I\'ve always seen quoted.



Mary (call me a pernickety old *** if you will )


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