VAT affects all transactions involving the provision of goods or services in every EU jurisdiction and in many jurisdictions outside the EU. An understanding of how VAT operates is essential if businesses are to avoid failing to charge VAT when appropriate and unnecessary costs in terms of not being able to reclaim VAT charged to them. Penalties are increasingly stringent for non-compliance.

Our specialist VAT team advises clients on the incidence of VAT, how to structure commercial transactions in a VAT efficient way and registration and compliance generally.

Because of our international network, including VAT, GST and Sales Tax advisers in non-EU jurisdictions, we are able to provide a seamless cross border service, integrating the different rules of the jurisdictions into our advice. By closely monitoring developments, particularly at EU-level, we are able to ensure that our clients do not inadvertently generate VAT liabilities and are aware when VAT issues may affect their business plans detrimentally, and how this can be alleviated.

We also advise on customs duties, including the procedures for importing and exporting goods to and from the EU, the prohibitions and restrictions, the reliefs available (including temporary importation relief and inward and outward processing reliefs), the classification of goods for tariff purposes and valuation issues, so as to ensure that the correct amount of customs duties is paid at the right time.

Most of our VAT lawyers also have direct tax experience, so we are able to give VAT advice in the context of the overall tax implications of any particular transaction, ensuring that any VAT solution does not give rise to adverse direct tax consequences, for example in transfer pricing situations, and creating a permanent establishment.

We have contentious VAT lawyers within the team who can provide assistance in relation to VAT disputes and negotiating settlements. We also have contacts at the EU Commission and can assist with lobbying for tax change.

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