VAT number
Thread poster: Helen Hagon

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:13
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 5, 2013

I live in the UK and have worked for customers in a variety of countries, both within and outside the EU. As my income is significantly lower than the government threshold I am not VAT registered, and this has never been a problem until now. However, I recently completed a small job for an agency in Spain, and they have said that they need my VAT number in order to pay me. Has anyone else experienced this problem, or have any suggestions as to how I might proceed?

Regards

Helen


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:13
French to English
There have been many threads on this same subject Aug 5, 2013

Try a forum search, I think this has been discussed very recently as well, but the issue dates back a while - 2 years or more?

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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:13
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No excuse Aug 5, 2013

Hi Helen,

They probably don't understand the VAT thresholds. However, it is highly unethical to ask you to do a job and then require something in order to pay you for it.
Unfortunately, this is often the case with Spanish agencies and I tend to write a disclaimer when signing up with a new Spanish agency that says something along the lines of: "Please ensure that any documents and/or information necessary for payment are requested prior to confirming an order. Any documents and/or information not requested prior to my commencing work shall be considered not necessary for the purpose of issuing payment for the said work."
This is because the same thing happened to me umpteen times. I was even asked by one agency to provide proof that I was up to date with my taxes and social security payments prior to paying me.

There have indeed been many threads on this subject so you should be able to find all the information you need.
I suggest something along the lines of explaining that UK law does not require you to register for a VAT number, outlining your disappointment at your payment being conditional on anything at this stage other than the delivery of the work, and asking to receive payment within X days.


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Pernille Chapman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:13
Member (2004)
English to Danish
+ ...
Your Tax ID number should suffice Aug 5, 2013

I fully agree with Marie-Helene that this is an unacceptable situation. But agencies in some European countries seem to have very pernickety accountants who insist on receiving VAT numbers from UK suppliers; I've had similar experiences with Belgian clients. The topic has indeed been discussed previously, and as far as I recall, it was agreed that your 'unique taxpayer reference' from HMRC is usually enough to keep everyone happy.

Good luck,

Pernille


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:13
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Discussed loads of times Aug 5, 2013

This has been discussed hundreds of times, do a forum search before posting questions

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Robert Daraban  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:13
Member (2008)
English to Romanian
+ ...
You do need to have a VAT Number Aug 6, 2013

Dear Helen,

According to the EU Regulations people/companies doing business with companies/people located in another EU Country, that then provider (you in this case), need to have an EU VAT Number regardless whether they are registered for VAT purposes or not.

Having this number does not mean that you have to pay VAT. You just need to have this number, that's all. I also have a VAT Number and do not pay VAT.

In my opinion you should ask your accountant or your tax authority.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:13
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Exactly Aug 8, 2013

Pernille Chapman wrote:

I fully agree with Marie-Helene that this is an unacceptable situation. But agencies in some European countries seem to have very pernickety accountants who insist on receiving VAT numbers from UK suppliers; I've had similar experiences with Belgian clients. The topic has indeed been discussed previously, and as far as I recall, it was agreed that your 'unique taxpayer reference' from HMRC is usually enough to keep everyone happy.

Good luck,

Pernille


I recently was asked to provide a VAT number for a client in Spain. When I explained that I am VAT excempted, they were happy with my tax ID. Just make sure that this VAT excemption, including the applicable § of your local tax laws, shows on your invoices.


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:13
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 8, 2013

Thank you everyone for all your advice. I double-checked the details on the HMRC and then I sent a polite but firm reply to the customer explaining that I do not have a VAT number. Now
I'll just have to wait and see what happens.


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Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:13
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
:-o Oct 30, 2013

Alex Lago wrote:

This has been discussed hundreds of times, do a forum search before posting questions


Somebody had had a bad day on the 5th of August?!


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:13
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Payment received Oct 31, 2013

Having received no reply to my email, I was pleasantly surprised to find the payment appeared last week. This leads me to the conclusion that VAT numbers are preferable but not essential, although I shall be more cautious when dealing with Spanish customers in the future.

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