Deadline to submit certificate of status extended to help non-EU businesses claim refunds of VAT

The deadline for submitting a certificate of status has been extended to help non-EU businesses claim refunds of VAT, it has been announced.

It comes after some overseas firms encountered difficulties obtaining a certificate of status to authorise refunds during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are registered for business purposes in a country outside the UK and you buy goods and services in the UK, you may have to pay UK VAT. While you cannot treat this VAT as input tax, you may be able to use the VAT refund scheme to reclaim VAT charged on imports into the UK or purchases of goods and services used in the UK.

But to do so, you must also include a certificate from the official authority in your own country showing that you’re registered for business purposes in that country.

During the coronavirus pandemic, however, overseas businesses reported difficulties obtaining a certificate from official issuing authorities due to measures taken in response to the coronavirus.

The deadline to submit the certificate had been extended to 31 December 2021, but HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has now confirmed that non-EU businesses will be given more time to submit in “specific exceptional circumstances”.

This includes delays caused by one-off, unavoidable events, such as a global pandemic, a national epidemic, a national emergency, or a government shutdown.

But certificates submitted after the 2021 deadline must be supplied within a reasonable time after it was issued (usually within 30 days) and supplemented with evidence of the delay.

Commenting on the changes, HMRC said: “HMRC has agreed that we will allow overseas businesses more time to submit a valid certificate of status in specific exceptional circumstances, caused by a one-off, unavoidable event.”

The new guidance can be found here.

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our team today.

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