UK: recovery of UK VAT (13th Directive claim) for non established non registered foreign businesses

The “Revenue and Customs Brief 20 (2020): repayment of VAT to overseas businesses not established in the EU and not VAT registered in the UK” has been published.

This brief explains the actions HMRC is taking to enable overseas (not established in the EU) businesses to claim VAT refunds where they’ve been having difficulties in obtaining a certificate of status.

You should read this brief if you are:

  • a non-EU business
  • an agent acting on behalf of a non-EU business
  • a body or association representing the interests of businesses and advisers in relation to international VAT


Overseas businesses who incur VAT in the UK for their business purpose are eligible to reclaim the VAT using the overseas VAT refund scheme. To obtain VAT refunds for 2019 to 2020, businesses are required to submit their application for refunds together with the certificate of status on or before 31 December 2020.

HMRC is aware that businesses, or their agents and advisers, are experiencing difficulties in obtaining the required certificate of status from their official issuing authorities due to measures taken by jurisdictions in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). In the current circumstances, overseas businesses may not be able to submit their claims (with a certificate of status) by the deadline.

Next steps

HMRC has agreed that due to this specific circumstance, we will allow overseas businesses an additional 6 months to submit a valid certificate of status, which means the certificate of status must be submitted on or before 30 June 2021.

Businesses must still submit their application for VAT refunds and all other documentary evidence required to process the 2019 to 2020 claims on or before 31 December 2020.

Payments will not be made until a valid certificate of status is received to validate any claims. Due to the unknown volume of businesses that this is likely to impact, HMRC cannot guarantee how long it will take to process claims, but we will aim to make payments within 6 months of receiving the valid certificate of status.

HMRC will continue to review the situation and where businesses are still experiencing difficulties, will consider whether further easements are possible.


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