VAT and working for Spanish companies.
Thread poster: Lucy Findlay
Lucy Findlay  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
French to English
+ ...
Feb 24, 2016

Hi! Can I please ask some advice about VAT/EORI numbers....I translated some contracts for a Spanish company in December, who then said they couldn't pay me until I was VAT registered. I got a certificate from HMRC confirming legal residency in the UK, but the company than got back to me to say that it wasn't enough, but that it would be OK if I had an Economic Operator Registration and identification number. So I applied for that and was told it didn't apply to me as I wasn't actually physically exporting! Do I have no other option but to register for Vat? In which case, must i charge this company VAT? and can I deregister as soon as they have paid me?

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
An old chestnut, I'm afraid Feb 24, 2016

This crops up from time to time with Spanish agencies who have not a clue about cross-EU dealings. For them, it's impossible to imagine a 'proper' supplier not having a VAT number. Every business, from 'autónomo' (self-employed) up is VAT registered here unless they work exclusively in an exempt area (e.g. teaching) or they happen to live in the Canaries (like me). So they're worried about being done for money laundering and tax evasion by paying private individuals who aren't declaring the income.

The UK doesn't help matters by refusing to deliver that number. France started delivering them (after a bit of a struggle) just months after all the VAT changes came about. When was that now? 1/1/2010?

You need to provide your client with several copies of texts taken from official sites to justify your non-use of a VAT number. Or preferably, get something from your tax people that says it in a personalised way. Then insist on being paid, and being paid the full amount.

You could become VAT-registered. There are many advantages linked to the small admin overhead. But I've no experience in the UK so can't advise on their rules. However, I can't see hopping between the two would work at all well.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:06
French to English
No switching back and forth Feb 24, 2016

Lucy Findlay wrote:

and can I deregister as soon as they have paid me?


Probably not!

https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/cancel-registration

Try searching these forums, others have been in the same situation.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No need Feb 24, 2016

Since you are resident in the UK for tax purposes you must comply with UK tax regulations and it would be illegal for you to try and change your position, even temporarily, in an attempt to comply with the tax regulations of any other country. If your Spanish interlocutor is too dim to understand that UK taxpayers are not required to have a VAT number, dump them and don't work for them again. I have worked for various Spanish agencies and the problem you describe has never come up.

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Easy if your accounting software supports it Feb 24, 2016

Lucy Findlay wrote:
Do I have no other option but to register for Vat? In which case, must i charge this company VAT? and can I deregister as soon as they have paid me?

Lucy, as described in this thread, I registered for VAT last year. The catalyst was having to mess around with European clients who didn't understand the VAT issues.

Registering for VAT was an online process that only took a few days. Since then I have saved a couple of hundred pounds in VAT.

VAT returns have not been a problem for me, but I was already using accounting software that makes VAT returns easy to create (literally a few clicks of the mouse).

However, if I were doing my own accounts in Excel or in a package that does not offer VAT return creation, it would probably be a good deal more irksome.

Regards
Dan


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Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:06
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Yes Feb 24, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Since you are resident in the UK for tax purposes you must comply with UK tax regulations and it would be illegal for you to try and change your position, even temporarily, in an attempt to comply with the tax regulations of any other country. If your Spanish interlocutor is too dim to understand that UK taxpayers are not required to have a VAT number, dump them and don't work for them again. I have worked for various Spanish agencies and the problem you describe has never come up.


Tom is right, you are non resident is Spain for tax purposes, but in the UK.
I know some Spanish agencies ask for the certificate of tax residence, just to be sure about your tax residence.


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Ian Mansbridge  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
I've had this too Feb 24, 2016

Hi Lucy,
I've had this issue too. The agency in question are now happy to accept my Unique Taxpayer Reference number and a little disclaimer on my invoice saying something along the lines of "I am not required to register for VAT pursuant to..."

Ian


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Lucy Findlay  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:06
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 29, 2016

Hi Sheila, Lori, Tom, Dan, Giovana and Ian,

Thank you very much for your advice, for taking the time to explain things to me. You have given me courage to be a bit more assertive and I wrote to them insisting that they accept my UTR. I will follow this up in a few days with a certificate of tax residence (another!) and some pages from the HMRC website - perhaps this will do the job.


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VAT and working for Spanish companies.

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