Telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic (TBE) services - new rules (2015)

Who is making the supply to the final consumer?

For broadcasting and for most telecoms services, it is normally obvious who is making the supply to the final customer.

For e-services which are supplied through a telecommunications network, an interface or a portal and for telephone services provided through the internet (VOIP as an example), the supplier of the service is not always obvious. It is therefore necessary to identify which supplier in the supply chain is supplying the service to the final customer.

If you are a taxable person 'taking part in a supply' of:

  • e-services which are supplied through a telecommunications network, an interface or portal
  • or
  • a telephone service provided through the internet

you are presumed to have received and supplied those services in your own name. You are therefore liable to account for Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the supply of these services to your customer.

This presumption can be overridden where the actual service supplier is ‘explicitly indicated as the supplier’ and this is reflected in the contractual arrangements between the parties.

‘Taking part in the supply’ of TBE services is explained in the section: what is meant by ‘taking part in the supply’ to the consumer? A link to this page is provided in the menu list above.

What is meant by ‘explicitly indicated as the supplier’?

If you are taking part in the supply of TBE services and any of the following apply:

  • you authorise the charge to the customer in respect of the supply
  • you authorise the delivery of the supply to the customer
  • you set the terms and conditions of the supply

you have, or are presumed to have, received and supplied that service in your own name. You cannot explicitly indicate another person in the chain as the supplier. You are accountable for the VAT on the supply of the service to your customer.

The presumption that you have received the service in your own name can be overridden:

  • if you do not carry out any of the actions listed above
  • and
  • both the service and the actual supplier of the service are explicitly indicated on each invoice issued in the supply chain and on the bill or receipt issued to the final customer.

If these conditions are satisfied you will not be obliged to account for the VAT in relation to the supply of that service.

Next: What is meant by 'taking part in the supply' to the consumer?