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VAT Refund Outside EU

VAT refund outside Eu Fastvat

VAT Refund outside EU for companies established outside the EU.

Companies established in a country that is not a member of the European Union can, in certain cases, recover the VAT paid on expenses borne within the EU.

The possibility to recovery VAT refund outside EU in these cases is regulated by EU Directive 86/560/EEC, the so-called Thirteenth Directive, which harmonises the way VAT can be refunded by EU member states to businesses from outside the EU.

If you are a transport company established in a third country, you can most probably recover VAT on your diesel or tolls expenses, among others. This depends primarily on your country of establishment and where you supported the costs, as some of the EU countries allow VAT refund to companies established in any country, while some others require a reciprocity agreement with the company’s country of establishment to allow to reclaim a VAT refund outside EU.

VAT countryExtra-EU countries allowed to reclaim
AustriaAll non-EU countries
BelgiumAll non-EU countries
BulgariaReciprocity – Among others: Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine
CroatiaReciprocity – Among others: Serbia and Switzerland
Republic of CyprusReciprocity – Among others: Israel and Switzerland
Czech RepublicReciprocity – Among others: Switzerland, Macedonia, Norway
DenmarkAll non-EU countries
EstoniaReciprocity – Among others: Israel, Norway and Switzerland
FinlandAll non-EU countries
FranceAll non-EU countries
GermanyReciprocity – Among others: Switzerland, Norway, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, San Marino.
GreeceReciprocity – Among others: Switzerland, Norway
HungaryReciprocity – Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland
IrelandAll non-EU countries
ItalyReciprocity – Among others: Israel, Switzerland, Norway
LatviaReciprocity – Iceland, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland
LithuaniaReciprocity – Among others: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey (with certain limitations)
LuxembourgAll non-EU countries
MaltaReciprocity – In practice, all non-EU countries
NetherlandsAll non-EU countries
PolandReciprocity – Among others: Switzerland, Norway, Macedonia
PortugalReciprocity – In practice, case by case
RomaniaReciprocity – Switzerland, Norway, Turkey (partial reciprocity) and Serbia
SlovakiaReciprocity – Switzerland and, in practice, case by case
SloveniaReciprocity – Among others: Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Israel, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, UK
SpainReciprocity – Among others: Norway, Switzerland, UK
SwedenAll non-EU countries

Secondly, the eligibility to VAT refund outside EU depends on the type of expenses. Mainly, for the transport sector, VAT can be reimbursed on expenses for fuel, tolls, maintenance and spare parts purchase. Although the rules for eligibility are similar to those applicable to EU-based road hauliers, some EU states can reject the amounts related to some of the expenses if the origin of the business is outside of the European Union. Also, the deadline and minimum amounts to recover VAT in case of a business based outside the EU vary according to the refund country.

VAT countryDeadlineMinimum amount
Austria30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Belgium30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 200 EUR; if 1 year: 25 EUR
Bulgaria30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 BGN; if 1 year: 50 BGN
Croatia30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 3,100 HRK; if 1 year: 400 HRK
Republic of Cyprus30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 205 EUR; if 1 year: 25 EUR
Czech Republic30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 7,000 CZK; if 1 year: 1,000 CZK
Denmark30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 3,000 DKK; if 1 year: 400 DKK
Estonia30th September of the following year1 year reference period: 320 EUR
Finland30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
France30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Germany30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 1,00 EUR; if 1 year: 500 EUR
Greece30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Hungary30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Ireland30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Italy30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Latvia30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Lithuania30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Luxembourg30th June of the following year1 year reference period: 250 EUR
Malta30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 200 EUR; if 1 year: 25 EUR
Netherlands30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Poland30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Portugal30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Romania30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Slovakia30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 1,000 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Slovenia30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Spain30th September of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 400 EUR; if 1 year: 50 EUR
Sweden30th June of the following yearIf reference period is less than 1 year: 4,000 SEK; if 1 year: 400 SEK

Last but not least, it might be needed, according to the EU country where the refund is claimed, to mandatorily appoint a local proxy to deal with local tax authorities.

Although some EU countries have made efforts in simplifying applications for vat refund outside EU for companies established outside the EU for extra-EU businesses by putting in place online forms instead of the usual paper claims, obtaining a VAT refund remains a complex procedure that requires a bunch of documents, usually legalized, in order to smoothly result into a VAT refund within the usual average 6 months’ time from the date of claiming.

More in general, having a third party filing your claim is highly recommended if businesses are established outside of the EU, due to the different rules and practices of VAT recovery under the so-called 13th Directive.

Find out if you can recovery VAT on transport-related expenses in the EU and improve your company’s liquidity now. Contact us for more information.

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