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VAT and Indirect Tax

Making VAT and indirect tax work for you

VAT affects all transactions involving goods or services in the UK, EU, and many other jurisdictions. Our international team will give you clarity on where, when and how much VAT applies, and how to structure commercial transactions in the most VAT efficient way. 

Your business can face stringent penalties for failing to charge VAT when appropriate – and unnecessary costs if you don’t recognize where to reclaim VAT. 

Because of our international reach, including VAT, GST and sales tax advisors in non-EU jurisdictions, we provide seamless global advice that considers all relevant country regulations. And we closely monitor developments, to ensure you know when VAT changes may affect your business and you don’t inadvertently generate VAT liabilities. 

We add value to supply chain restructurings, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and business integration projects, with prudent structuring of VAT and indirect tax. 

“Because of our international reach we provide seamless global advice that considers all relevant country regulations.”

Our services also include full support with customs duties, making sure you pay the right amount at the right time. This includes guidance on the procedures for importing and exporting goods to and from the EU, prohibitions and restrictions, reliefs (including temporary importation relief and inward and outward processing reliefs), the classification of goods for tariff purposes, and valuation issues. 

Our VAT lawyers have direct tax experience, so we’re able to give VAT advice in the context of the overall tax implications of a transaction. This ensures any VAT solution doesn’t have adverse direct tax consequences, for example in transfer pricing situations or in the inadvertent creation of a permanent establishment.

We have particular experience of local VAT issues in the areas of land and property, e-commerce, online gambling, education, supply chains, online marketplaces, intangibles and financial and insurance services. 

Our contentious VAT lawyers can also provide assistance in relation to VAT disputes and negotiating settlements. And we have contacts at the EU Commission and can assist with lobbying for tax change. 

Awards and recognition

  • Band 2 Tax practice, Chambers Global 2022  
  • Tier 1 ranking – International Tax Review World Transfer Pricing, 2017 – 2022
  • Impact Deal of the Year, Asia Pacific, International Tax Review Awards 2021 
  • UK Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year, International Tax Review Awards 2017–19  

Experience

  • Assisting a compliance company during an unannounced tax audit and subsequent VAT audit. The tax audit covered a six-year open tax period – which is not in line with the procedure related to unannounced audits. We helped our client to manage the requests of the tax inspectors and provide the information requested, ensuring compliance and reducing pressure on their team. We coordinated discussions with the tax authorities on implementing the proposed tax adjustments and preparing the corresponding documentation. The client is also subject to a VAT audit on another group entity. We are actively involved in this, managing the tax authorities’ requests and ensuring that their approach is in line with applicable procedures. 

  • Assisting a NYSE-listed US sports consumer product supplier in their defense of a tax audit against the company's Chinese subsidiary. The case involved substantial VAT and corporate income tax risk covering a long period with an initially high assessment amount. We helped the client to review the company's tax structure, work out appropriate justification based on Chinese tax regulations and the client's specific business circumstances, prepare reply materials to the tax authority, and negotiate with the competent tax authority. The case is to be closed without any tax adjustment or penalty. 

  • Advising a non-UK seller in a goods supply chain, which is arranging the import of goods into the UK, on its obligations to account for and register for Plastic Packaging Tax (introduced in the UK in April 2022) and its potential for joint and several and secondary liability for such tax. 

  • Advising 30 real estate companies on potential VAT evasion, voluntary declaration and correction of tax declarations. Currently, some 10 cases are pending. 

  • Assisting a multinational pharmaceutical company in an extraordinary VAT refund procedure for c. EUR27 million.  

  • Advising a leading manufacturer on the Luxembourg VAT aspects of a litigation with the Luxembourg VAT authorities. We handled (separately) two aspects of the VAT litigation: i) exercise of the company’s VAT deduction right further to an audit related to the year 2017; ii) advice on the withdrawal of the company’s VAT number by the VAT authorities within the context of the liquidation process of the company. 

  • Advised a healthcare infrastructure specialist on the VAT aspects of various financing solutions and on the structuring of financing for optimal VAT utilization and management.  

  • Acting for financial institutions wishing to outsource services as VAT-efficiently as possible. 

  • Acting for an electronic games provider on VAT compliance issues in relation to B2C transactions in many jurisdictions. 

  • Acting for VATit on numerous VAT reclaim and consultancy problems including aviation, TOMS, and exhibition organizing. 

  • Acting for various US corporations wishing to expand their markets into Europe or reorganize their business models in Europe. 

  • Advising a crate leasing business on VAT compliance in the EU and obtaining concessions from the relevant tax authorities. 

  • Acting for a global education provider on a cost sharing group before the Court of Justice. 

  • Acting for Mid Ulster District Council and the other district councils of Northern Ireland in their ongoing litigation on the reclaim of VAT paid on leisure and sports facilities.  

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