Cross-border VAT RecoveryAs businesses become international, it is more and more common to pay VAT on expenses incurred outside Spain. In this context, it is interesting to get to know how you can obtain a refund of such VAT (cross-border VAT recovery).

The deadline to submit an application for a refund is 30 September of the year following the invoice date.

A separate application must be electronically submitted for each country of origin where the invoices were issued, attaching the invoices in PDF format.

In order to submit an application, businesses must be previously registered with the Revenue Office Electronic Notification system to handle any question concerning cross-border invoices.

The procedure to claim a cross-border VAT recovery consists in submitting application form 360 with the Spanish Revenue Office (AEAT, in Spanish).

For refundable amounts higher than 400 euros, applications may be submitted on a quarterly basis. Otherwise, for amounts below 400 euros, an annual application must be submitted. The minimum refundable amount is 50 euros.

After approving the application form, AEAT will proceed to request the refund from the relevant EU Member State. The application to obtain a refund of the incurred VAT may be submitted on a yearly basis –in which case the deadline is 30 September of the year following the invoice date–, or within shorter periods, provided a minimum amount is met, which may vary depending on the laws of each Member State.

Once the application has been submitted, you will receive two electronic notifications, i.e., one by AEAT and another by the recipient country, including a case reference and follow-up number; and once the case has been settled, another notice will be forwarded by the recipient country, informing the total or partial estimate of the claim and notifying payment of such estimated amount, or else the rejection and the grounds for rejection.

Decisions on applications for cross-border VAT recovery usually take some time. The Member State receiving the application has four months to conduct a review, and, should it reject the application in whole or in part, the applicant will have two months to submit their allegations. If additional information is required, the process may drag on for up to eight months since the original application. Once the country of origin has made a decision for refund, payment should be made within a term of 10 business days. Beyond such term, the debt would accrue late payment interest.

Therefore, this procedure offers a possibility to recover certain amounts which, if it were not for this mechanism, would automatically be reported in the business’ profit and loss account. Moreover, if we consider the fact that the minimum amounts are not significantly high to a large majority of businesses, it strikes our attention that there is not a greater number of refund applications being submitted. Our firm will be happy to assist you throughout the procedure for cross-border VAT recovery.

Bettina Náray


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