European agencies: please include VAT number on POs
Thread poster: Tim Drayton

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 01:08
Turkish to English
+ ...
Oct 10, 2007

In common with many other translators resident in the European Union, I am required to add VAT to my invoices for clients within the EU unless they themslves are VAT registered. If the client has a VAT number, I am supposed to keep a note of it. I find myself constantly having to ask agencies for this piece of information. Wouldn't it make life slightly easier if VAT-registered agencies could include their VAT number as a standard feature on purchase orders? Then I wouldn't have to keep asking them for it. European agencies, please give this matter some thought. Thanks.

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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:08
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Agree! Oct 10, 2007

The agencies should really state their VAT ID with other contact information, or mention they are not VAT registered, when they first contact freelancers. It's annoying having to ask each and every new client whether they are or are not VAT registered.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:08
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Er...yes...I know what you mean... Oct 10, 2007

I have wasted time chasing agencies for their VAT number on many occasions. However, on one occasion my general knowledge failed me: I kept chasing an agency in Norway for their VAT number! (Only when they finally gave it to me did I realise that I did not need it.)

Astrid


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hear hear Oct 10, 2007

Tim Drayton wrote:

In common with many other translators resident in the European Union, I am required to add VAT to my invoices for clients within the EU unless they themslves are VAT registered. If the client has a VAT number, I am supposed to keep a note of it. I find myself constantly having to ask agencies for this piece of information. Wouldn't it make life slightly easier if VAT-registered agencies could include their VAT number as a standard feature on purchase orders? Then I wouldn't have to keep asking them for it. European agencies, please give this matter some thought. Thanks.


Us here in Spain too. I simply can't understand why they don't include this information as party of billing details, as essential as name and address!


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:08
German to English
Surely normally there in any case? Oct 10, 2007

Most EU countries now require businesses to indicate their VAT number on most business correspondence, including things like POs. If a translation agency fails to do this, it's surely evidence of sloppy management.

Tim Drayton wrote:

In common with many other translators resident in the European Union, I am required to add VAT to my invoices for clients within the EU unless they themslves are VAT registered.


That's actually not quite the whole truth. If you're VAT-registered, EU law requires you to charge VAT to customers in other EU member states that are not businesses (as well as to European institutions). The question of whether or not they themselves are VAT-registered is irrelevant. The only material distinction is whether they're businesses or private individuals. Of course, having a VAT number is an automatic indication of being a business, so I suggest it would be equally useful if agencies were to indicate on their POs that they're not VAT-registered.

Robin


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:08
English to French
+ ...
EU and VAT Oct 11, 2007

RobinB wrote:
That's actually not quite the whole truth.

If you're VAT-registered, EU law requires you to charge VAT to customers in other EU member states that are not businesses (as well as to European institutions). The question of whether or not they themselves are VAT-registered is irrelevant. T

Robin


Not exactly either.
VAT has always to be paid (either by client or supplier) , but the regulation for "intellectual services" including translation and interpretation is a follow :

I am VAT-registered translator
- if my customer is VAT-registered too, I am required to invoice WITHOUT CHARGING VAT but to write their VAT-number on the invoice. It's up to the client to pay VAT in their country.
I must keep the VAT number and details for my records.

- if my customer is NOT VAT registered (being a small business or a private customer) then I must charge VAT on the invoice and collect it for my tax authorities.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:08
German to English
The VAT maze Oct 11, 2007

nordiste wrote:
Not exactly either.
VAT has always to be paid (either by client or supplier) , but the regulation for "intellectual services" including translation and interpretation is a follow :

I am VAT-registered translator
- if my customer is VAT-registered too, I am required to invoice WITHOUT CHARGING VAT but to write their VAT-number on the invoice. It's up to the client to pay VAT in their country.
I must keep the VAT number and details for my records.

- if my customer is NOT VAT registered (being a small business or a private customer) then I must charge VAT on the invoice and collect it for my tax authorities.


If your business customer doesn't have a VAT number (because they exercise a small business exemption option, for example), you still don't charge VAT on your cross-border invoice. The criterion here is whether the customer is a business customer or a private customer, not whether they're registered for VAT.

See the handouts and slides for my tax seminar at the 2006 ATA conference.

Robin


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:08
English to French
+ ...
VAT maze and maybe local differences Oct 11, 2007

I was quoting the local tax regulation in France - Code Général des Impots art 259A

"Client installé hors de France dans l'Union Européenne.
Le client n'est pas un assujetti. Dans ce cas il apparaît que le client doit payer la TVA. La facture sera donc libellée TTC au taux français. Autrement dit, l'opération se déroule comme s'il s'agissait d'un client ordinaire en France"

Sorry I don't know the European reference for this particular case.

Anyway , back to the initial question ... it would be great if the agencies did include their VAT number with their business details. Then it's up to the translator to make the best use of it in their own particular situation.

[Edited at 2007-10-11 10:20]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hear, hear2 Oct 11, 2007

Lia Fail wrote:

Us here in Spain too. I simply can't understand why they don't include this information as party of billing details, as essential as name and address!


You're full of hear, hears lately Lia

I totally agree with you. I had to call and write a client just yesterday to "extract" their VAT number. It's like pulling teeth. Why on earth can't they just include it along with their address and phone number???


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