In the EU, there is free traffic of services. This means you won't have to deal with customs formalities. If you provide services in the EU to a business customer, you’ll probably have to reverse-charge VAT to your customer. In some cases, you will have to declare VAT in your customer’s country and put extra information on your invoice. Check whether or not you’ll have to file an ICP (InterCommunal Services) statement.
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Use the tool ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland’
The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has developed a tool to help you determine how and where to declare and pay VAT on services rendered inside the EU. This ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland rekenhulp’ (Services to and from foreign countries tool) is only available in Dutch; if you cannot use it, you can contact the Tax Information Line.
Reverse-charge VAT to your customer
In most cases, you reverse-charge VAT to your customer in the EU, stating “VAT reverse-charged” on your invoice. Your customer will then pay VAT in their own country. But you cannot reverse-charge VAT in all cases: for instance, if you supply restaurant or catering services, immovable property services, rent out a transport vehicle, organise transport of persons, or access to a cultural or sporting event. Use the ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland’ tool to determine how to handle VAT.
Check in which country to file your VAT return
Even if you reverse-charge VAT, you must file a VAT return. You may have to file a return in the Netherlands, in your customer’s country, or both. The ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland’ tool can help you determine what to do. In some cases you’ll have to contact the foreign Tax Administration to find out whether or not you need to file a return. The European Commission website features a list of tax administration offices in EU countries.
Check your customer’s VAT number
It is important to know that your customer is an entrepreneur. Especially if you reverse-charge VAT; if it turns out your customer is not an entrepreneur, you may receive an additional assessment. Check your customer’s VAT number in the EC website VIES VAT number validation system.
Find out if you need to file an ICP statement
Services provided inside the EU are called intercommunal services, and if you are a resident of the Netherlands, you will have to file these services in the ICP or intercommunal services statement. In the statement, you list services which:
- you render to an entrepreneur in another EU country
- are taxed in the entrepreneur’s country of residence.
Digital services mini One Stop Shop
If you supply digital services, such as online software, radio or television programmes, to private citizens in different EU countries, you should file for VAT in every country where the service is offered. That is, unless you register for the mini One Stop Shop scheme (MOSS). The MOSS scheme allows you to file and pay VAT in one country only: your country of residence. If your company is established in an EU member state, that country will be the one you file in. If your business is established outside the EU, you can choose in which member state to file for VAT (it has to be a country where you supply your services).
EU Point of Single Contact websites (PSC’s)
The Point of Single Contact websites are online governmental information portals, that can help you find out about rules and regulations, formalities, and guidelines for providing services or establishing a business in an EU country. The network is part of the Single Digital Gateway offered by the EU. The PSC’s can point you towards the right instances to deal with administrative procedures.
Tip: free movement inside the EU
Within the EU, you don’t need any special documents to travel and provide services.