vat claim

Looking to recover the VAT you have incurred overseas, but you don’t have a VAT registration number in that particular country?

Many UK companies wishing to submit their claims will be affected by the deadline of 30 September – depending on which EU country the claim needs to be made for.  Our team of VAT experts at Gravita work closely with our DFK colleagues all over the globe, to help our clients reclaim the VAT they have incurred on eligible expenses, ensuring they follow the correct procedures for that particular country, within the right timeframes and ensuring they claim the maximum amount of VAT owed to them.



The 13th Directive provides a mechanism for businesses to recover VAT incurred in foreign countries where they do not have an establishment. This directive allows businesses to reclaim VAT on expenses such as accommodation, trade shows, conferences, and other business-related costs incurred in non-UK countries.


Eligible Expenses for VAT Reclamation


Business Travel: Expenses related to taxis, car rentals, and other transportation costs incurred for business purposes in non-UK countries may be claimed.


Accommodation: VAT paid on hotel stays and other forms of accommodation during business trips abroad may be reclaimed through the 13th Directive.


Trade Shows and Conferences: If your business attends international trade shows, conferences, or exhibitions, you may be able to claim VAT on related expenses, including registration fees, booth rentals, marketing materials, and other relevant costs.


Business Expenses: Other eligible expenses include advertising costs, office supplies, equipment rentals, and other expenditures directly related to conducting business activities in non-UK countries.


The claims are however subject to the local rules and may not align with the UK position, so care needs to be taken to ensure the claim will be valid.


Submitting a VAT Reclaim

To claim VAT through the 13th Directive, ensure you have proper documentation for all eligible expenses, including invoices, receipts, and any supporting documents required by the foreign tax authorities. As some claims need to be submitted in the local language and may also need a local representative to assist, we can assist by introducing you to DFK International, our international association in the relevant country as needed.


Value of claim

Each country has a minimum value for a claim to be entertained which differ.



It is essential to be aware of the deadline for submitting your VAT reclamation claim. Deadlines can vary between countries, so it is crucial you contact us as soon as possible with the aim of not missing the opportunity to reclaim these expenses.


For example, in Austria, the deadline for submitting a claim is 30 June, covering the previous calendar year, whereas in Belgium the deadline for submitting a claim is 30 September, covering the previous calendar year.


Claims can be made on a quarterly basis, subject to the local rules and the values involved.



Claiming VAT through the 13th Directive offers businesses an opportunity to recover VAT on eligible expenses incurred in non-UK countries. By understanding the types of expenses that can be claimed and following the necessary procedures, businesses can optimise their VAT recovery and mitigate costs.


What next?

To discuss the contents of this article in more detail or for guidance on any other VAT matter, please speak to Sandy Cochrane.

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