Place of supply rules for services
VAT obligations of Irish traders when supplying services abroad
You must confirm the status of your customer (business or private customer) when supplying services abroad. If you incorrectly identify your customer and do not charge VAT, you will be liable to pay the VAT. You may also incur interest and penalties in the event of a Revenue audit.
Identification of a business customer
When you supply services to a business customer in another European Union (EU) Member State you must:
- obtain the business customer’s Value-Added Tax (VAT) number and confirm its validity
- insert the customer’s VAT number on the invoice and retain records of the transaction
- issue an invoice indicating reverse charge will apply
- obtain a letter from the tax authorities if a business customer is a new business and a VAT number is not available
- establish if the supply is exempt in the other Member State for the purposes of VAT Information Exchange System (VIES)
- include the supply on the VIES return if it is taxable.
It is possible to verify an EU VAT number at the EU Commission website or by contacting the VIMA office.
Verifying the status of your customer
When confirming the status of your customer it is assumed that you have acted in good faith. To do so you must establish whether the customer is a taxable person.
This should be done by:
- obtaining their VAT number and confirming its validity
- obtaining other proof which shows that the customer is a taxable person or a non-taxable legal person for VAT purposes.
Supplies to business customers outside the EU (B2B)
In general, supplies of services to business customers outside the EU are not subject to VAT. However, you must obtain sufficient evidence and proof that the customer is a taxable person.
You must obtain the following:
- Proof as to the place of establishment of the customer outside the EU.
- Proof that the customer is a taxable person. For example, sufficient evidence from your customer to show that he or she is a taxable person.
The evidence of the VAT number may be supplemented by:
- details from the customer's tax authorities which confirm that the customer is a taxable person
- the customer's order form containing their business address and trade registration number
- a print-out of the customer's website, to confirm that the customer is conducting an economic activity.
Supplies to non-business customers outside the EU (B2C)
Certain supplies to non-business customers outside the EU (B2C) are free of VAT. However, you will need to provide proof that the customer is established outside the European Union (EU). You must verify the information the customer provides to you. Credit card pre-authorisation checks can verify the address associated with a card number.