Training is a professional and business activity that often raises questions about whether or not we should invoice with VAT.

To do so, first of all, we have to go to article 20 of Law 37/1992 on Value Added Tax. In this article we find the three compulsory requirements to consider that the activity we carry out is exempt from VAT:

  • That classes are taught by natural persons
  • That the subjects taught are included in some curriculum of the educational system
  • That the economic activity carried out is registered in Section II of the IAE.

In addition, said article includes another premise for us to benefit from the above-mentioned exemption, which is that the training is provided by public law entities or private entities authorized to carry out the activities and, furthermore, that said subject is included in some study plan of the Spanish educational system.

Exempt training services

  • School, university and postgraduate education
  • Education of children and youth
  • Learning teaching
  • Guardianship and custody of children, including school canteen services
  • Training and profesional recycling.

Online training

The exemption is not conditional on the medium through which it is provided, so teaching via the internet could also be exempt in the same way as teaching given in person.

In this regard, the General Directorate of Taxes differentiates on this point between training services through the Internet or similar means when the presence of the teacher is essential, in which case the exemption could be applied; and other services provided electronically, when they depend on the Internet and do not require human intervention other than to prepare the content, answer queries in a timely manner or moderate student forums, in which case it would not be exempt from VAT.

Particular cases

What happens when we teach an accessory activity to teaching? For this activity to be considered exempt from VAT, it must not be an aim, but a way to improve and complement the main activity. It would be, for example, the case of the sale of a book when enrolling in a course.

In the case of accessory activities to other than teaching and training, as well as exempt training and non-exempt training, we will have to apply the VAT pro rata, that is, we will not be able to deduct the entire input VAT.

Roberto Cerrato

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