As a result of Brexit, the UK is no longer officially part of the EU. But are British companies still required to appoint a tax representative?
Several Member States of the European Union require businesses established in a country outside the European Union to appoint a fiscal representative to fulfil all their VAT obligations on their behalf: VAT registration, filing VAT returns, submitting VAT refund applications, etc…
In which cases can EU Member States impose the appointment of a fiscal representative?
First of all, the VAT Directive prevents European Union Member States from imposing a fiscal representative on companies that are established in another EU Member State. This is simply because the cooperation of Member States in VAT matters is included in the EU treaties.
Secondly, in principle, the VAT Directive allows EU Member States to impose a fiscal representative on companies which are established in a country outside the European Union.
However, by exception, the VAT Directive prevent EU Member States from imposing a fiscal representative on companies which are established in a country which is outside the EU, when there exists with that country an instrument of mutual assistance in VAT matters of sufficient scope.
So far, only Norway has signed a mutual assistance agreement on VAT with the EU which in principle allows Norwegian companies to benefit from an exemption from the obligation to appoint a fiscal representative in all EU Member States. However, it is to be noted that not all of the 19 EU Member States which in principle require a fiscal representative have so far drawn the consequences of the conclusion of this agreement.
What about British companies after Brexit?
On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom concluded a trade and cooperation agreement. This agreement contains, among other things, a protocol on mutual assistance in VAT matters.
Does this protocol allow UK businesses to be exempted in all cases from having to appoint a fiscal representative? The answer varies widely depending on the Member States concerned and is not yet fixed.
To date, some Member States such as Sweden and Portugal have indicated that despite the agreement, UK companies are still obliged to appoint a fiscal representative. Other Member States such as France have confirmed that UK companies will be exempted from the obligation to appoint a fiscal representative. Others, such as Italy and Belgium, have warned that they need to analyse the scope of the protocol before deciding on a possible exemption.
Warning: when it is compulsory, the failure to appoint a fiscal representative is heavily sanctioned by the tax authorities.
To appoint ASD GROUP as your fiscal representative, please contact us.
|Member State of the European Union||Compulsory fiscal representation|
for UK companies
|Croatia||YES (no later than January 15 for distance selling companies, or January 31, 2021 for others)|
|Malta||NO except upon request of the administration|
|Portugal||YES (by 06/30/2021 at the latest)|