UK businesses selling travel services taking place in Germany, and possibly other EU member states in due course, may need to consider EU VAT registrations from 1 January 2021.
Under normal VAT rules, most travel services are subject to VAT in the country in which they take place.
Businesses which sell EU travel services in their own name have long been protected from having to register and account for this VAT in the EU country of service by the our Operators Margin Scheme (Toms) rules.
It has always been a point of debate as to whether non-EU businesses can rely on these same Toms rules for protection but, prior to now, no member state has ever fully enforced this.
However, Germany’s finance ministry recently announced it does not consider EU Toms rules to apply to non-EU businesses, effective from 1 January 2021.
This means that UK businesses will need to apply the normal German VAT rules.
In most cases, this will mean a German VAT registration is required for UK businesses supplying German travel services.