CoVid-19 Postponement to Certificate of Status for 13th directive UK VAT recoveries

As detailed in one of our previous posts, many European Union (“EU”) countries have extended the 30 June deadline for submitting 13th Directive refund claims for the 2019 calendar year, with many allowing such claims to be submitted up to 30 September 2020 and in some cases even longer.

The UK has always operated a different cycle for 13th Directive claims to the rest of Europe and the UK  13th Directive year runs from 1 July – 30 June.  Ordinarily claims for the year ended 30 June 2020 need to be submitted to the UK tax authorities within 6 months – i.e. no later than 31 December 2020.

One of the requirements for 13th Directive claims is that the overseas business making the claim must provide a certificate of taxable status from the official authority in that country showing that the claimant is registered as a business in that country.  It is often difficult to obtain such a certificate.  As a result of coronavirus, it has become more difficult to obtain the certificate and to be able to provide it to the UK tax authorities by 31 December 2020 will be extremely challenging!

The good news is that the UK tax authorities (“HMRC”) recognise that there may be a delay.  In a recent release issued in June they state that businesses need to submit 13th Directive claims by the deadline (31 December 2020) and should do so even if they don’t have the certificate of status.  Businesses should then write to HMRC if they are unlikely to be able to obtain a certificate of status by 31 December 2020.  They should explain the reasons why it is not possible to obtain the certificate of status.  While HMRC does not state they will automatically accept every delay it does seem that they will treat coronavirus delays sympathetically.

Businesses will still need to provide the certificate of status, but they are likely to receive an extended time limit from HMRC.  It is worth remembering that HMRC still insists on receiving original invoices with the claim.

If you have any questions or need help submitting claims to the UK or any other tax authorities, please contact us for more information.