It seems that the EU and the UK are drifting further apart when it comes to reaching an agreement on a “soft” departure of the UK from the EU. Whether this is all about showing political muscles or the UK is ready to accept a No-deal Brexit, will become clear in the next few months.
In the meantime, HMRC is piloting a new electronic refund system with a selected group of users, which should be launched after Brexit.
HMRC has identified HMRC’s SDES system as the method to receive electronic submissions of Part XXI of the VAT Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518) VAT reclaims.
We are happy to announce that VATBox has been selected to the pilot phase of the electronic submission of foreign VAT refund claims to the UK. As the UK is leaving the EU, this means that EU legislation governing cross-border VAT refunds, such as Directive 9 (EU-to-EU refunds) and Directive 13 (EU-to-non EU refunds), will no longer be applicable. Without an alternative solution, all cross border refund application of UK VAT would follow the paper-based Directive 13 process as we know it today. This would be both from HMRC’s and business’ point of view, not a desirable way forward.
HMRC will be testing an electronic process for submitting such UK VAT refunds claims, which should come into play after Brexit is fully effectuated. This new system should replace the requirement to submit paper-based refund claims, although the original hard copy archiving requirement will, for now, remain. VATBox, as one of the leading VAT refund providers, has been selected to pilot this alternative submission process in close cooperation with HMRC.
The trial will run for eight weeks from 21 September to 13 November 2020. Non-EU businesses will still be able to recover their UK VAT via the current paper-based Directive 13th procedure in parallel. We will keep you informed about our findings of this trial.
Since we can only submit a limited number of claims electronically during this trial, we encourage you to leverage the opportunity to max out the 31 December UK deadline for refunds to non-EU established companies. VATBox can take care of the end-to-end process to maximise and secure the VAT you have paid on UK spend. Claims can be made for VAT on regular travel expenses such as employee-driven transactions, office supply, home equipment, hotels, car rental, and meals.
Accounts Payable invoices may easily carry up to thousands of GBP in VAT for intercompany meetings, imports, spare parts, in-warranty supplies, intercompany recharges, trade fairs, tooling, and customer events, even if they were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Contact us to learn more about this pilot and your VAT refund opportunity.
Tax Manager, VATBox
 Ask your VATBox representative for full details on UK VAT recoverability
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