VAT - Conferences and Tradeshows

VAT Conferences and Tradeshows


When organizing conferences or tradeshows in Europe, there are several VAT refund opportunities that will ultimately lower your costs.


1. Event Planner: In previous years, North American event planners had to register for VAT in the country of the event; however, this is not always necessary anymore. The event planner can instead sometimes reclaim the VAT as a "13 directive claim" from the EU tax authorities.*


2. VAT on conferences/meetings/exhibitions where No Fees are charged to the attendees or exhibitors:
If no fees are to be collected from the attendees at the meeting/conference/exhibition taking place in Europe, the VAT incurred from the vendors in some of the European countries can be reclaimed without prior VAT registration.*

*Note: Several of the EU countries do not refund VAT to North American companies.


3. VAT on conferences/meetings/exhibitions where Fees are charged to the attendees or exhibitors:
A North American event planner and/or corporation producing a meeting/conference/exhibition in Europe is often subject to VAT registration if any fees are to be collected for the event. This means that the North American event planner and/or corporation is required to:

A. Register for VAT in the European country where the event takes place.

B. Assess (charge) VAT to the attendees of the event and sometimes to the exhibitors.

C. Reclaim the VAT paid by most European vendors on their invoices.

If a foreign event planner/corporation does not comply with EU VAT rules, they are exposed to:

  • Tax-penalties for violation of VAT rules, if discovered.
  • Decreased profit margin because none of the VAT incurred from the European vendors will be refundable.

Further, most attendees/exhibitors representing business entities participating in the event are able to reclaim the VAT they paid for the event.

If VAT registration is necessary, it is very important that it is done by the planner and/or corporation producing the event at the planning stage, prior to business transactions taking place.

Euro VAT Refund will assist companies in the pre-planning phase and identify the refund potential. We then assist with the VAT registration and establish processes to efficiently gather the required original invoices. The original invoices are then prepared and filed by our Los Angeles office with the foreign country in question.


4. VAT refund on incentive trips:
In general, VAT is not refundable to a corporation that organizes an incentive trip for their employees or for contracted sales people. The incentive trip may certainly be a corporate expense, but in most cases the VAT rules disallow VAT refund on the services since no business was conducted.