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COVID-19 delaying VAT repayments to businesses outside the EU

24 June: The impact of coronavirus is behind delayed VAT repayments for some claims from the Overseas Refund Scheme, confirms HMRC.

In its latest Revenue and Customs Brief, HMRC informs businesses established outside the EU of delays in processing and refunding VAT claims submitted under the Overseas Refund Scheme for the year 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. Such claims will have been submitted on or before 31 December 2019.

The brief confirms that the impact of coronavirus and changes HMRC has made to its operations, mean it is unable to meet its deadline of 30 June 2020 for some of these 2018–19 claims. It does, however, expect to make repayments by 30 September 2020.

HMRC also acknowledged that some overseas businesses or their advisers may not be able to obtain the required certificate of status for claims related to 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020 from their official issuing authorities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance clarifies that any business that submits a VAT refund claim without a certificate of status, will not have their the claim rejected, but it will be put on hold until 31 December 2020. This is the deadline for submitting an application for VAT refunds and all the required documents, which include the certificate of status.

If a business is unable to obtain the relevant certificate of status by 1 October 2020, HMRC requests that the overseas business or their agents contact HMRC in writing so that the case can be considered.

The UK VAT Overseas Repayment Unit should be contacted in relation to any queries about applications.