VAT when you sell services outside the EU

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Here you can find out what applies when you are going to sell services to non-EU countries. Two main rules determine whether it is the buyer or you, as the seller, who has to report VAT.

Main rules for the sale of services

Main rule 1: Sale to companies

The buyer has to calculate and report VAT. When you sell services to companies, the services are considered to have been performed in the country where the buyer is established or has a permanent presence.

Main rule 2: Sale to private individuals

As the seller, you have to charge and report Swedish VAT. When you sell services to private individuals, the services are considered to have been performed in the country where the seller is established, for example in Sweden. This applies irrespective of what country the buyer is in.

For certain types of services there are exceptions from the main rules.

Read more about selling services to non-EU countries on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Sale of services to companies

When you sell services without VAT to companies in non-EU countries, the main rule is that the buyer has to calculate and report VAT.  

To be able to sell without VAT you must be able to show that the buyer is a company that is established in a non-EU country. You can show this using the buyer’s VAT registration or some other document showing that the buyer is a company.

If the service is sold to a company but is only going to be used privately, the rules on the sale of services to private individuals apply.

Exceptions from the main rule for sales of services to companies

A number of services are considered to be performed in the country where you deliver the services. When you sell a service like that, you may, as the seller, be obliged in some cases to charge VAT in the country where you deliver the service.  Such services can, for example, be:

  • property services
  • transport services
  • entry to events
  • restaurants and catering
  • work on products
  • brokering services
  • short-term rental of cars and other means of transport.

Read more about the exceptions on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Sale of services to private individuals

If you sell services to private individuals in non-EU countries, the main rule is that, as the seller, you have to charge and report VAT.

Exceptions from the main rule for sales of services to private individuals

A number of services are considered to be performed in the country where they are delivered. When you sell such a service, you may, as the seller, be obliged in some cases to charge VAT in the country where you deliver the service. Such services can, for example, be:

  • property services
  • entry to events
  • cultural and similar services
  • restaurants and catering
  • brokering services
  • transport services
  • work on products
  • digital services
  • rental of cars and other means of transport.
  • various services that, for example, concern intellectual property, advertising, rental of staff and products, advisory services, data processing and information.

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Invoicing regulations

Normally you have to follow Swedish invoicing regulations for VAT irrespective of whether the service is considered to be delivered in Sweden or in the country of the buyer. This applies irrespective of who the buyer is.

Read more about Swedish invoicing regulations on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website (in Swedish)

You may need to register for VAT in the buyer’ s country according to the exceptions for the sale of services to companies and private individuals abroad. Then you may need to follow that country’s invoicing regulations.

Reference on the invoice

When you sell services abroad you may need to make a special reference on the invoice about what it relates to.

Read about reference requirements in the Swedish Tax Agency’s brochure Content of the invoice – special information or reference (in Swedish)

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Bear in mind!

When you send an invoice abroad, it makes matters easier if you use a language that both you and the buyer understand. Some information must be given by law and the invoice should also contain payment information, for example your IBAN number and BIC/SWIFT.

Download an invoice template from Business Sweden’s website (in Swedish)

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The Swedish Tax Agency’s webinars

What should you bear in mind when you buy services from non-EU countries. How do you have to report VAT? You can get answers to questions like this by connecting to the Swedish Tax Agency’s webinars.

Read more and register on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Contact the Swedish Tax Agency if you are going to buy services from a non-EU country. It is important that you are clear about what type of service is involved and where it will be performed. Then it is easier for the Swedish Tax Agency to answer your questions.

Tax Information at the Swedish Tax Agency answers all types of tax questions. Their telephone number is 0771-567 567. If you are calling from abroad the telephone number is + 46 8 564 851 60.

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