Online Conferences/Events and VAT

Due to the current circumstances with COVID-19, many events and conferences have moved online. The VAT treatment of these events may be different from the treatment of a physical event.

If the event is taking place online, it does not necessarily mean that it will fall within the definition of a digital supply. 

For example:

  • If a conference is pre-recorded or is being live-streamed via the internet at the same time as transmitted by radio or television, it will be a digital supply.
  • If a conference is delivered live online only, it will not be a digital supply.

There is specific guidance available from HMRC on what is and isn’t classed as a digital supply.

Digital and non-digital supplies made to a VAT registered EU business are treated in the same way, the place of supply is where the customer is based, and the customer needs to account for the VAT at their local rate. To determine if the supply is being made to a business they should provide their VAT registration number. If they are unable to provide their VAT registration number you can accept other evidence of business status, for example a link to their business website or other commercial documents. It is your decision to accept alternative evidence, if it is not accepted then the sale must be treated as a sale to an individual.

For non-digital supplies made to individuals the place of supply is determined to be where the supplier belongs, so if the supply is made by a UK VAT registered business UK VAT needs to be charged no matter where the customer is based.

For digital supplies made to individuals the place of supply is the country each individual belongs in and would be liable for VAT in that country. For all EU individuals, the sale would need to be reported via VAT MOSS or registration in each member country. Any supplies made outside of the EU would not be charged VAT.

Please bear in mind that after 31 December 2020 Brexit will result in a change to some of the above.

For any queries on this or if you have any other VAT related questions please contact Yvonne Collings at [email protected] or call 01243 782 423.