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VAT on Admission to Events

Businesses supplying admission to events must be aware that this will often present a VAT registration obligation in the location of the event.

There are special rules that govern the services that surround events, exhibitions and conferences in the EU.

There are various streams of revenue associated with an event, including advertising, sponsorship and sales. However, the most common income source is the cost of attending the event, or admission.

Almost all services relating to an event will not have VAT consequences, but admission is an exception to the rule – it is subject to VAT in the country where the event takes place.  In addition to admission, the other business activities that may create an obligation to register for VAT in another Member State include:

  • Admission.
  • Stand rental.
  • Catering services.

Domestic rules differ between countries, and particular attention should be given to supplies which consist of more than one component, for example sponsorship packages.

Where the obligation to account for local VAT arises because of supplies in relation to an event, a VAT registration in that Member State is necessary.

Registering for VAT is not only a good thing from a compliance perspective, but it allows the event organiser to recover eligible input VAT – but only if the sales relating to the event have been treated correctly. When registering, it is crucial to know your VAT obligations including when to charge VAT and whether reverse charge applies.

It is not always clear whether your service will be considered admission or not since there are various different kinds (ticket sales, online registration for delegates etc.), so it is important that you seek advice in order to understand your VAT obligations several months prior to the event.

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