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Obtaining a VAT ID
Thread poster: jccantrell

jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:59
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2005

I know this must have been covered elsewhere but I could not find it.

I live outside the EU. Now that I am required(?) to have a VAT ID, can anyone tell me how to go about getting one without living in the EU?

And, if this is the wrong forum, please set me straight.

thanks.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
German to English
No VAT ID Jul 12, 2005

I live outside the EU. Now that I am required(?) to have a VAT ID, can anyone tell me how to go about getting one without living in the EU?


If you live outside the EU, you don't need a VAT ID number. In fact, you can't even get a VAT ID number, unless you're an online retailer covered by the relevant EU legislation.

But what on earth makes you think you need an EU VAT No. in the first place?


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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:59
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Read somewhere.... Jul 12, 2005

I read somewhere, way back when in the mists of my memory, that if you did business, say, as a freelance translator in the EU, you would soon (now in the past) be required to obtain a VAT ID.

Apparently I was in error. I appreciate your clearing this up for me. I will be able to sleep nights now knowing that I only have to deal with ONE set of tax collection agencies.

Thanks again.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 15:59
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Some agencies absolutely demand it Jul 12, 2005

RobinB wrote:
If you live outside the EU, you don't need a VAT ID number. ... But what on earth makes you think you need an EU VAT No. in the first place?


Hi Robin,
A French agency wanted to retain my services but along with other paperwork they wanted me to provide my VAT no, and said they absolutely could not do business with me without it.

I just gave them my GST number, which is the Canadian federal sales tax number known as the Goods & Services Tax, which seemed appropriately close to the Value Added Tax. They were happy with that and we`ve been rolling along ever since.

Nancy


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
English to German
+ ...
Value Added Tax arrangements applicable to radio and television broadcasting services and certain el Jul 12, 2005

Spot on, Robin,
If you live outside the EU, you don't need a VAT ID number. In fact, you can't even get a VAT ID number, unless you're an online retailer covered by the relevant EU legislation.

I guess what gave jccantrell the idea was Directive 2002/38/EC - although ProZ.com is subject to that directive, translators are not.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 12:59
English to French
+ ...
which you're not! Jul 12, 2005

jccantrell wrote:

I read somewhere, way back when in the mists of my memory, that if you did business, say, as a freelance translator in the EU, you would soon (now in the past) be required to obtain a VAT ID.
Thanks again.


You are not in the EU, sweet dreams.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
German to English
Dumb agencies Jul 12, 2005

Nancy,

Sometimes there's not much you can do when faced with such utter ignorance and stupidity except take a deep breath, shake your head and be extremely glad that you weren't born like that ("Nicht ärgern, nur staunen", as they say in Germany).

I just gave them my GST number, which is the Canadian federal sales tax number known as the Goods & Services Tax, which seemed appropriately close to the Value Added Tax. They were happy with that and we`ve been rolling along ever since.


If they'd asked you for some sort of evidence that you're a business, that would be fine. But some people (in many EU countries, I hasten to add) are fixated on VAT numbers. Works the other way, though, judging by the number of queries in ProZ and elsewhere from translators who're faced with US agencies absolutely demanding social security or exotic tax numbers.

Just goes to show how much of a cottage industry we still are, I'm afraid.

Robin


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
German to English
But don't forget the Hinweis Jul 12, 2005

I appreciate your clearing this up for me. I will be able to sleep nights now knowing that I only have to deal with ONE set of tax collection agencies.


Just don't forget that for your German clients, you have to add the Hinweis to your invoices about their liability for VAT on the invoice amount....


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Arthur Allmendinger  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
English to German
+ ...
§ 19 Abs. 1 UstG Jul 13, 2005

RobinB wrote:

If they'd asked you for some sort of evidence that you're a business, that would be fine.
Robin


In Germany, you can do without a VAT ID, if your business is small, i.e. your turnover is not above 17.500 EUR per year (Kleinunternehmerregelung § 19 Abs. 1 UstG).

Do other countries have similar legislation?


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
German to English
Proof of business status Jul 13, 2005

Arthur Allmendinger wrote:In Germany, you can do without a VAT ID, if your business is small, i.e. your turnover is not above 17.500 EUR per year (Kleinunternehmerregelung § 19 Abs. 1 UstG).


Yes, I know about the Kleinunternehmerregelung, but that doesn't help for cross-border transactions. The client will still have to be able to demonstrate that the supplier (translator) is a business to be able to offset the notional input VAT against the import VAT.


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:59
French to English
+ ...
UK Jul 13, 2005

Arthur Allmendinger wrote:

RobinB wrote:

If they'd asked you for some sort of evidence that you're a business, that would be fine.
Robin


In Germany, you can do without a VAT ID, if your business is small, i.e. your turnover is not above 17.500 EUR per year (Kleinunternehmerregelung § 19 Abs. 1 UstG).

Do other countries have similar legislation?




Yes - you don't have to be VAT-registered in the UK unless you earn upwards of £58,000 gross (€84,312) per year. The threshold might even be a bit higher than that now.


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Arthur Allmendinger  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
English to German
+ ...
What does that mean? Jul 14, 2005

RobinB wrote:


The client will still have to be able to demonstrate that the supplier (translator) is a business to be able to offset the notional input VAT against the import VAT.



What does that mean?


If you are a German freelance translator without a VAT ID, you cannot sell your translations to a non-German client?

To do cross-border business you have to have a VAT ID even if you are classified as a small German business (Kleinunternehmer -defined by German law)?





[Edited at 2005-07-14 13:31]


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Arthur Allmendinger  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
English to German
+ ...
Cross boarder business without a VAT-ID? Jul 14, 2005

Jeremy Smith wrote:

Yes - you don't have to be VAT-registered in the UK unless...




Hi Jeremy and thank you for your comment!

How do UK-Translators cross boarder business without a VAT-ID? (see my reply to RobinB ).


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 15:59
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Canada - GST = $30,000 annual revenue Jul 14, 2005

Arthur Allmendinger wrote:
Do other countries have similar legislation?


I see there's quite a spread between us and the UK!

Taxes, numbers... it's unfortunate that linguists have to break their stride to deal with all of that!!

Nancy


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Arthur Allmendinger  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:59
English to German
+ ...
Fully agree with you... Jul 14, 2005

NancyLynn wrote:

Taxes, numbers... it's unfortunate that linguists have to break their stride to deal with all of that!!

Nancy




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