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EU VAT confusions

VAT used to be easy! Back in the day my EU suppliers would send an invoice, there was no VAT and I knew how to deal with ‘reverse charges’.

I assumed as of this year my EU suppliers would be charging me VAT because HMRC says they have to.

I also assumed Adobe were wrong as they continued to send me a monthly invoice from Ireland ex VAT. But then I read maybe that’s correct. But now a French supplier has started adding VAT to their invoices.

Who’s right, the French or the Irish!?

Possibly both - what are you buying from the French supplier, goods or services and if goods what value, what rate of VAT are they charging you (UK or French) and do they know you’re a business rather than a consumer?

Thanks @ian_roberts, from the French its a service (AFAIK), website hosting. It’s £19.99 and they’re now using a “UK VAT” number to add 20%. Perviously they used a French VAT number and didn’t charge VAT, I’m sure they know I’m a business (otherwise they’d have had to charge VAT all along?).

Having said I’m sure: I can’t see where I’ve told them my VAT number on their system.

Meanwhile Adobe charge me £8.32 as always with their invoice stating “Reverse charge supply - customer to self assess VAT”. They use an Irish VAT number and quote my number on the invoice.

Is there a possibility they are both correct and its me who’s wrong! If the French don’t have my VAT number…


I suspect what’s happened here is that while the UK was still in the EU VAT system the French supplier would have been able to charge UK consumers French VAT, and use the reverse charge for UK business customers. But since the end of the transition period they have had to charge UK VAT on their consumer sales, which means they’ve had to register for a UK VAT number, which in turn means they’re now treated as a normal UK supplier for B2B sales as well.

They’ve charged you UK VAT @ 20% and provided you with a valid UK VAT invoice showing a UK VAT number, so you can enter the purchase the same way you would for a UK based supplier and claim the VAT back on your next return as usual.

Here’s what they’ve said.

We’ve indeed have had to register for VAT in the UK as well, and the reverse charges rules aren’t that clear. To be able to charge you without VAT would apparently require us to store a proof that you indeed are both registered and located in the UK and we’re currently not equiped for that.

So, as you say, I’ll just reclaim the VAT in the usual way. Turns out everyone was right!

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