Simple Guides

Do I charge UK VAT? Must I register for Irish VAT? Are there special rules for services?

The rules relating to VAT on services are different (and more complex) than those relating to goods.

From 1 January 2010 there is a general place of supply rule depending on whether the customer is regarded as a business or a consumer. For the supply of general rule services to Irish businesses the place of supply will be where the customer is based i.e. Ireland. The customer will then account for the VAT under the reverse charge mechanism. If the supply is to an Irish non business customer, then the place of supply will be Northern Ireland and as such UK VAT should be charged. There are some exceptions to this general rule.

The main exceptions relate to:

  • Land/Property related services.
  • Passenger transport.
  • Cultural/Educational events.
  • Hire of means of transport.
  • Service involving physical performance.
  • Restaurant and catering services.

An EC sales list should be completed in respect of the intra EC supply of services.

If the supply is to an Irish non business customer, then the place of supply will be Northern Ireland and as such UK VAT should be charged.

Please note that foreign traders carrying on business in Ireland are obliged to register for Irish VAT from day one and do not have the benefit of the VAT registration thresholds that apply to an Irish trader.

Also note if you supply construction services in Ireland to a VAT registered principal contractor you will not need to charge VAT and the principal contractor will account for the VAT via the reverse charge mechanism. If you too act as a principal contractor to other subcontractors you will need to account for the VAT due on their invoices via the reverse charge.

Please note that if a Northern Ireland business in the construction sector is providing services to anyone other than a principal contractor, e.g. shop fitter installing shelves for a shopkeeper in Ireland, the Northern Ireland business must register for and charge Irish VAT under the normal rules.

Please note that this is a highly complex area and that you should seek professional advice specific to your own circumstances.

The above rules apply to services provided within the EU Single Market and therefore this may change when the UK leave the EU on 29 March 2019.