Guidance

Request a VAT ruling for a complex cross-border transaction

Find out how to request a VAT ruling on a complex cross-border transaction by taking part in an EU trial.

How to get clearance

If you feel that HMRC’s guidance on VAT does not explain how the law will apply in a particular situation, you can ask for a ‘clearance’.

A clearance is written confirmation of HMRC’s view of how tax law is applied to a specific transaction or event. HMRC will accept clearance applications from you, your tax agent or adviser. You’ll need to show that there’s uncertainty about how legislation will affect transactions you’re involved with. HMRC has guidance on how to obtain a clearance.

EU trial for VAT rulings

HMRC is participating in a trial of VAT ruling requests for complex cross-border situations until 30 September 2018.

If you’re planning cross-border transactions to one or more of the participating member states and you’re registered for UK VAT, you can request a ruling from HMRC. Your request must comply with the conditions for non-statutory clearance and relate to a complex, cross-border transaction in 2 or more of the following member states:

  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

If your request is accepted and consultation is specifically sought, the member states will consult on the issue but there is no guarantee that they’ll agree on the correct VAT treatment of your transaction.

Member state contact details are shown in an EU information notice.

Published 1 January 2007
Last updated 13 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. The date of the trial for VAT ruling requests has been extended to 30 September 2018. Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Sweden have been added to list of participating member states.
  2. First published.