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Not Reclaiming Value-Added Tax? You’re Leaving Money on the Table

Posted On: January 28, 2015

Value-Added Tax (or VAT) is the sales tax paid when purchasing goods in both the European Union and increasingly more and more countries. It is automatically charged and can add nearly 25% to the final purchase price. 

When securing large venues, hotels and other amenities for international business meetings and events a 25% VAT can cripple a company’s event budget. Few people know it is possible to rightfully reclaim a huge chunk of VAT, which can significantly affect purchasing power and boost planning budgets.

This tax, in some countries referred to as Goods and Services Tax (or GST), plays a huge role in the financial success of internationally planned events. Global sales meetings, executive suite events, international employee meetings and other large group events will incur value-added taxation—knowing how to reclaim those VAT or GST fees is the silver lining on a hefty, dark sticker price.

The quick tip for Human Resources Directors and meeting planners when faced with steep VAT for their international business meeting is this: reclaiming the money from VAT is possible and not doing it is like throwing away large sums of your company’s money. Reclaiming VAT is essential to smartly managed event budgets—and you can get hundreds if not thousands of dollars back, so choose an event company with experience reclaiming VAT and get what is rightfully yours.

Value-Added Tax is a compulsory charge in European Union countries where any services related to educational, cultural, scientific, artistic or entertainment-centric events and activities take place. In other words, a global meeting cannot avoid VAT so plan on incurring it. To that end, including VAT in the budget for an international event or meeting is crucial—and reclaiming that line item later is winsome and the mark of a good event planner.

Examples of VAT Charges to a US Company:

  • Inter-Company travel, delegation, services and seminars
  • Research and development
  • Hotel
  • Transportation
  • Maintenance contracts
  • Logistics, warranty products and import
  • Travel and related services
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows
  • Meetings
  • Professional Fees
  • Marketing

The vast majority of event planning services simply ignore the possibility of VAT reclaim, which is carelessly leaving money on the table. Some of the reasons planners don’t enter the process are language and location barriers but mostly they abandon reclamation because of a lack of knowledge into the long, complicated process necessary to reclaim VAT. On an individual level reclaiming VAT is very beneficial and while there are a number of hoops to jump through in order to reclaim VAT on purchases, it pays off if you plan to buy a lot during a vacation overseas.

At Docherty Incentives and Meetings we’re acutely aware of the varying VAT reclaim processes in each country where we plan events and meetings worldwide. Collectively we have helped companies and organizations reclaim thousands of dollars that would otherwise have been scooped up by their event host country. We’re adept at navigating the varying systems set up in different countries for reclaiming VAT or GST. In this way HR Directors and internal event planners don’t have to waste resources getting lost in the piles of paperwork we’re already equipped to handle.

Retrieving VAT money post-event is like getting a reward for being smart. At Docherty we’re invested in your satisfaction—and there is nothing more satisfying than reclaiming money that is yours to begin with. We’re poised to plan your global event, are you ready to get blown away?