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Update on MOSS system for VAT accounting

Posted: March 12, 2015

According to the European Commission’s latest report fewer than 7,000 businesses across the EU have registered for the ‘Mini One Stop Shop’ (‘MOSS’) system for accounting for VAT, and only 500 from outside the EU. The deadline for registrations was 10 February.

Readers may recall that this system is a simplified alternative to having to register for VAT in any Member State where sales are made ‘B2C’, i.e. sales to non-business customers of broadcasting, telecommunications and e-commerce supplies. This covers apps, digital publications and music and films, for example. The single MOSS electronic portal allows the supplier to account for the relevant amount of non-domestic VAT from their own country, rather than via multiple VAT registrations around the EU.

Expectations were for registrations to be far higher than that, in the hundreds of thousands, so the reasons behind the poor take-up are being explored. These reasons may include a general failure to understand the changes to the legislation which came into place on 1 January 2015, despite there being a fairly long introductory period for this with road shows and announcements along the way.

There are no figures to demonstrate the geographic balance of the EU registrations that have been made, and so the number from the UK is not yet known. It may be that despite all the protestations and lobbying from the UK leading up to the introduction, the majority of registrations may be UK ones, as history seems to indicate(see Agricola by the Roman writer, Tacitus) that whilst laws may be objected to and grumbled about, the real anger of Britons is directed at those who break or avoid the rules!

There is no indication as yet regarding any penalty or retrospective action on those businesses that failed to register on time.

If you have any concerns about the MOSS and whether you might need to consider registration, please contact Greg Mayne, Director of Indirect Tax at Burgess Hodgson.