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Off topic: VAT number: between EU countries-VIES system
Thread poster: Carine Dubois

Carine Dubois
Local time: 19:45
Spanish to French
+ ...
Oct 16, 2006

I really need help on this one, as I can't fix it by myself!
Frelancer in Spain, I did a translation for a greek company one month ago.
For the invoice, they asked for my "intracommunitary VAT number" in order to pay me. I knew this number but couldn't use it as I am not the client but the service provider.
After asking my tax office, the freelancers I know, including specialists, everybody told me the same: freelancers don't use this number as they don't sell goods, but services. Here in Spain, we use our fiscal identification number for any situation.
All the information I found on the web confirms this, but the greek company keeps saying that their tax office WANTS this number.
So I applied for a VAT number, here in Spain, being told that it would not be granted as I am freelancer; totally logical for me.
The greek company said that the official answer form from my tax office would be enough for the greek tax office to accept the situation. No matter if the answer is yes or no.
I agreed to fill the form but I've been told it would take 2 months minimum to get an answer.

I need people with similar experience, and advise. Where can I find an official website refering to the VIES system and who is registred in it?

to resume, i look for a text(better in english) that a freelancer can't be in the VIES system.

I don't want to lose this client, but I am convinced they only talked to one or two people, and didn't doublecheck the information with others such as fiscal specialists, as I did myself.

This misunderstood, lack of communication and the fact that both Spain and Greece are convinced of what they say, make me in a very unconfortable situation, as I am not gonna be paid until we find a "proof".

thank you to everyone, I wait for your answers!

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Check your "NIF" Oct 16, 2006

If you don't figure on this list as valid, it's probably because AEAT recently (well, during the last 2 years) separated the NIF lists from the ROI (Registro de Operadores Intracomunitarios). Of course you can get a ROI number: take form 036 from the AEAT and fill it up where it says "change of data". Many people who were registered in the AEAT under form 037 (the old form) were not included in the ROI, or even taken out of it.

I'm a translation service provider for Europe and I'm in the ROI; I buy (programs; Trados is invoiced from Belgium, for instance) and sell (translations). Why shouldn't you have a ROI number and get the same tax benefits?

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Piotr W.  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
English to Polish
+ ...
One Directive - many local systems Oct 17, 2006

It seems that there is no common solution to the VAT problem in the national tax systems within the EU.

I have seen several forum discussions and it seems that there is no "perfectly right' answer to the question who should pay VAT when the translator lives in the country X and the agency is registered in the country Y (both within the EU).

As far as I remember colleagues from Scandinavia said that VAT is paid within the country only and not in the case of an exchange between two member countries.

German colleagues might have quoted some tax publications saying that in such case VAT should be paid by the translator anyway (22%).

In my country we use the EU VAT number and understand that we have 0% VAT and that it is our client from another EU member state who pays 22%. The condition is that both parties have their EU VAT numbers.

In short: there are different views within the EU on this matter! The question remains: who is using the right solution?

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lexical  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
Portuguese to English
agree with Parrot Oct 17, 2006

Parrot is right - of course you can have an ROI number as a freelancer. Mine is my NIF (or more precisely, NIE as I am not Spanish) preceded by "ES" - as is everybody else's in Spain. As Parrot says, get Modelo 036 and check box 217 on page 2 in the "Modificación" section. In time (maybe a couple of weeks) you will be able to check your number on the website Parrot mentions, and so will your Greek customer.

It can be a problem sometimes convincing the staff at the Hacienda about this - their knowledge of the VIES system can be sketchy. My gestor received 6 different answers from 6 different people! And the ROI system does apply to service providers, whatever your tax office tells you.

Good luck!

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Carine Dubois
Local time: 19:45
Spanish to French
+ ...
thanks, I feel less lonely! Oct 17, 2006

thanks for all your comments!
The problem was I've been told so many times by the tax office here in Spain that I didn't need any VAT number that it took me 3 weeks to actually ask for it!
And now, I have to wait more than 2 months (that's what they said...) to get it and to process my invoice!

I will tell all my "friends-colleagues-translators" to get this number, just "in case"!

Thanks again and see you!


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Clara Duarte  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
According to my father, the accountant... Oct 17, 2006

Hello Carine

Actually, if the service you have provided has not lasted over 12 months, there's no VAT being charged here. It's like you have said, it's a service not a good being traded between EU countries. In case you were to live in Greece for over 12 months to work as a translator or interpreter, then you would have to apply for a VAT number and colect VAT in Greece.

Anyway, if your anual income is less than 9975 € and you don't have a VAT number, you are not to charge VAT and must find another solution to the problem the Greek company has come up with.

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