EU VAT refund 30 September deadline: what you need to know

EU VAT refund 30 September deadline: what you need to know

It’s not too late… yet

September 30, 2019 will be the last possible date to submit your EU VAT refunds for 2018 expenses.
Claims can be made for VAT on regular travel expenses such as hotels, car rental, and meals, 1 as well as
for Accounts Payable invoices, which may easily carry up to thousands of Euros in foreign VAT for intercompany meetings, intercompany recharges, trade fairs, tooling, customer events… you name it. Check this article
There is no such thing as: “We do not have foreign VAT in our company.” Instead, it is likely that no one
has given you the visibility into that specific – and most probably lost – VAT.

What to do next?

First and foremost, you need access to your data. Secondly, the transactional lines and images must be
reconciled for VAT and fully VAT audited. Thirdly, you need to activate the EU VAT refund portal in the
home country of the EU established company. Finally, depending on the country and whether you
insource or outsource the EU VAT refund process, you will need to sign a few documents.
We distinguish between two main streams: Travel Expenses and Accounts Payable (“AP”) invoices, since
typically they each have a different data source and dedicated processing flow.

Travel Expenses

For VAT recovery, the invoice serves as the key document to claim VAT. Make sure you are able to
extract – en masse – all the T&E invoices from your travel expense system such as Concur,
MobileXpense, KDS, iExpense or SAP. If you need help, VATBox has direct connections to all commonly
used Travel Expense and ERP systems. Second, extract all transactional lines from the Travel Expense
System to allow for matching the correct invoice with the employee’s claimed expense during the audit
process. Matching is critical to ensure you claim the right amount of VAT (and not overclaim), and that
your claim is fully supported by VAT compliant evidence.

Accounts Payable

With AP, the invoice copy from the ERP system is also required to be audited. Mass image extraction
from an ERP is usually much easier, but VATBox IT can assist where needed by deploying and
customising any script required to run the data – transactional and image – from your ERP. In case your
company has dedicated tax codes for Foreign VAT, then we will include those in the script as well. If you
are booking all foreign VAT as “out of scope,” then VATBox’s AP audit service will help you uncover
these buried treasures again.

1 Elibility rules vary per Member State and not all Member States may refund VAT (in full) om the expense types mentioned


How automation makes the process efficient & transparent

You must be thinking now: “How am I going to explain to my family that we will have to cancel our
summer holidays since I will have to work on making sure I get this VAT refunded for my company?” We
would agree that you would be facing a real challenge if it would indeed be only up to you – and your
supporting team – to bring this all to a good end.

But imagine how simple it would be if all you needed to do is (i) initiate a call to VATBox and within five
minutes with you and your Travel Expense admin and/or ERP admin, we can start auditing your data (ii)
designate VATBox as your agent on the EU VAT refund portal and on paper to also have the formal
refund process fully covered.

Our automated solution will take it from there. Data is streamed to our hybrid QC process, which heavily
relies on our in-house developed AI and unique OCR functionality. Our software can even crop, read and
further process scans with multiple receipts attached. Leveraging computer learning on hundreds of
millions of comparable transactions, our solution will find anomalies, which will also highlight non-
compliance with your company travel policy and in some cases will even uncover fraud. These
exceptions are routed to our team of highly experienced and multilingual Audit Resolution Experts who
will review the selected transactions, and either return them to the automated process or disqualify
them for a VAT refund.

In our portal, you will find all the audit results, benchmarks for our global data sets, and a full drill-down
to every single invoice image. At this point, our robots will start submitting all VAT refund claims to the
authorities’ portals.

Did you ever imagine that it would be possible to make money for your company and increase
compliance while sipping a pool-side cocktail during your summer holidays? Well, now this dream can
become a reality.

About VATBox

VATBox has successfully digitised the VAT/GST recovery workflow with its cloud-based enterprise
recovery solution. Using intelligent automation, VATBox helps large corporations – including Fortune
500 companies – gain actionable insight into their transactional data, empowering finance and tax
professionals with full data integrity, tight compliance and maximum savings. Fusing AI and Computer
Vision with human expertise, VATBox provides a full spectrum of VAT/GST audit and recovery services.
Benchmarks for tax, finance and procurement – aimed to encourage process improvements and
compliance – are all collected in one easy-to-use portal with drill-down capabilities into every single
transaction, no matter how small. Our expert team is just 'one-click’ away, ready to help you start
making data-driven decisions today.

Contact VATBox us at or send our team an email directly at:

Remco Dewaerheijt – VP Tax & Product Strategy at VATBox

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