Admission to events

What is an admission for VAT purposes?

The concept of admission refers to the granting of a right of entry in return for a ticket or a fee. This fee may be payable in advance, at the time of the event, or by a periodic fee, season-ticket subscription or annual charge to any of the following:

  • shows, theatrical performances, circus performances, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, exhibitions, or other similar cultural events
  • sporting events such as matches or competitions
  • educational and scientific events such as conferences and seminars.

Registration fees for conferences and seminars, paid in advance or on the day, will generally be regarded as payment for the right of admission.

Charges made for the use of sports facilities such as gyms or similar facilities, in exchange for membership fees, are not treated as an admission to an event.

What is an event?

An event is taken as referring to something, which has the nature of a specific event taking place for a predetermined duration, at a particular location, for example a two day trade exhibition.

However, other types of services, such as a continuous coaching session, that takes place over a prolonged period, would not be regarded as an event and normal place of supply rules apply. 

What rate of VAT applies to admissions?

The rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) applicable to admissions will depend on the type of event being held. Some examples are set out below, but these are not exhaustive.

Admission to the following events is exempt from VAT:

  • circuses
  • live theatrical and musical events (excluding dances) where no food or drink are available for consumption
  • sporting events
  • seminars and conferences (where it can be shown that the services supplied to the delegates consists of vocational training or educational services).

The reduced rate of VAT applies to the following admissions:

  • cinemas
  • live theatrical and musical events (excluding dances) where food or drink are available for consumption
  • fairgrounds or amusement parks
  • certain exhibitions normally held in museums and art galleries
  • built, or national, heritage facilities
  • open farms.

Please see the VAT rates database for a comprehensive list.

Where is the place of supply?

The place of supply for the right of admission to an event is where the event actually takes place. Charges for admission to an event in Ireland are liable to Irish VAT. This applies regardless of whether the person paying the admission is a taxable person or a non-taxable person.

Therefore, a taxable person from outside the State attending an event in Ireland will pay Irish VAT on the admission charge. He or she will not account for the VAT due on the reverse charge basis in their own Member State.

What are services ancillary to an admission?

Ancillary services relating to admission are services supplied for a separate consideration, for example, cloakroom and sanitary facilities. Services of intermediaries involved in the sale of tickets are not included as ancillary services.

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