Clients missing out on £5bn VAT rebate

Clients could be missing out on £5bn each year by failing to reclaim tax paid on overseas events, according to Tax Back International commercial director Niamh Murray at a Confex seminar. Corporations are entitled to reclaim foreign VAT – which could be as high as 25% depending on the destination – on virtually all goods and services relating to business travel, delegates heard. In an industry worth £20bn in the UK alone (Source: Business Tourism Partnership), this makes for substantial lost revenues. At the seminar Murray told delegates that businesses can reclaim foreign VAT on eligible overseas business expenditure, including exhibitions and conferences, meals, hotels and accommodation, business entertaining, transport and promotional materials. She added that according to a 2004 European Commission tax survey, 80% of SMEs surveyed fail to apply for their money back. “Many companies are unaware that this is open to them,” she explained. “Additionally, there are language and location barriers – including time differences – and the process can be complicated and time consuming.”

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