Providing services inside the EU

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Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst | Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK | Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO

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In the EU, there is free traffic of services. This means you do not have to deal with customs formalities. If you provide services in the EU to a business customer, you will 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 have to file an ICP declaration (Intra-Community transactions declaration).

Use the tool ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland’

Finding out how and where to pay VAT on services rendered inside the EU is not always easy. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has developed a tool to help you. 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 always reverse-charge VAT.

Examples of services where you cannot reverse-charge VAT are:

  • restaurant or catering services;
  • immovable property services;
  • transport vehicle rental services;
  • transport of persons;
  • providing 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. You may 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 declaration

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 Intra-Community transactions declaration. In the declaration, you list services which:

  • you render to an entrepreneur in another EU country;
  • are taxed in the entrepreneur’s country of residence.
Use the ‘Diensten in en uit het buitenland’ tool to determine whether or not you need to file an ICP declaration.

Digital services mini One Stop Shop

Do 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 in which you offer the service. 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).

VAT on digital services supplied to individuals

You must declare the VAT on digital services provided to EU private individuals if:
  • the turnover of these services does not exceed €10,000 in a calendar year, and
  • the turnover did not exceed €10,000 in the previous calendar year.
You declare the VAT in the Netherlands, or in the country where the private individual you are supplying resides. To file the VAT abroad, you can use the (Dutch) form Keuze plaats van dienst digitale diensten.

Local legislation

You will have to deal with local laws and customs in the country where you provde your services. Make sure you are well-prepared. On the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) website, you can find information on a large number of countries. There is information on subsidies, do's and don'ts, laws and regulation, and sectors.

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.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst

This information is provided by

Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO