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VAT on Digital Services: What is Digital Service Vat and When to Pay

May 1, 2023 | UK Accounting

Are you a UK-based business offering digital services in the EU? If so, there is a way to simplify your digital service VAT payments, which we will discuss in this blog. Don’t miss out; keep reading to learn more!

An Overview of Digital Service VAT

With the rapid growth of the digital space in recent years, governments worldwide have been looking for ways to raise revenue from this sector. In the European Union (EU), VAT on digital services is one such way.

But what exactly is digital service VAT, and why do businesses need to pay it?

We will be delving deeper into these questions and exploring the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme – a simplified way for UK businesses to report and pay VAT on their digital services to EU member states.

Whether you’ve just started or are a seasoned business owner, this post will provide the information you need to understand digital service VAT.

What is VAT on Digital Services?

VAT on digital services is a tax added on the price of providing certain services delivered over the internet or an electronic network.

Examples of digital services include online advertising, digital content (i.e. e-books and music downloads), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

EU digital service VAT applies to EU and non-EU businesses so long as they serve EU customers. Therefore, if you are a UK-based business, you must collect and pay VAT once you provide digital services to customers in EU countries.

The Purpose of VAT on Digital Services

As more businesses and consumers move into digital platforms, governments have recognized the need to regulate and tax these transactions.

Digital service VAT ensures that the service providers pay their fair share of taxes to EU member states where their customers are based. 


Now that you understand what digital service VAT is, the next is to know how to pay for it. This is where the MOSS scheme comes in. The MOSS scheme is a simplified way for businesses to report and pay VAT on their digital services to EU customers.

Instead of registering for VAT in each country where you have customers, you can register for MOSS in your home country and make one quarterly VAT return covering all your digital services across the EU.

If your business is in the UK, follow these steps to register for and use MOSS:

VAT registration

Before registering with MOSS, you first need to be VAT-registered. You can do this online through the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

MOSS registration

Next is to register for MOSS. Log into your HMRC online account, then follow the steps to register and use the MOSS system.

During the registration proper, HMRC will ask for information about your business, such as its legal name, address, and VAT registration number.

Collect and record transactions

Gather and record complete data about your digital services transactions with customers in the EU, including the customer’s country of residence and the value of the service.

Report and pay VAT

With the MOSS system, you can report and pay VAT on your digital services transactions to all EU countries where you have customers.

Furthermore, the system will automatically calculate your VAT due and also allow you to make a single payment and file your VAT return to HMRC every quarter.

The deadlines for the returns are:

20th of April – for the first quarter ending 31st of March

20th of July – for the second quarter ending 30th of June

20th of October – for the third quarter ending 30th of September

20th of January – for the fourth quarter ending 31st of December

Keep records

Remember to keep complete records of your digital services transactions and MOSS VAT returns for at least six years.

Services Covered by MOSS scheme

The MOSS scheme covers a wide range of digital services. The following are digital services that can use the MOSS system to simplify their VAT compliance with the EU:

  1. Broadcasting and telecommunications services. This includes services like mobile phone services, internet access, and satellite TV.
  2. Electronic services. This includes services like software as a service (SaaS), e-books, and online courses.
  3. Digital content. This includes services like music and video downloads, online gaming, and digital newspapers and magazines.

If you are still unsure about paying VAT on digital services using MOSS, consider consulting with an accountant or reading further details on the HMRC website.

Simplified VAT Rules for Low Annual Turnovers

If your annual turnover from cross-border digital services is below the threshold of €10,000, you may be subject to a more simplified VAT scheme.

One of these simple VAT rules is the ability to pay VAT on your sales based on the VAT rate in the country where your business is located (your home country) rather than the rate applied in the customer’s country.

Another one is exemptions from VAT, which some countries offer for small businesses that meet certain criteria. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I register for MOSS if I’m not VAT-registered?

    You can only register for MOSS if you are VAT registered in the country your business is located. If you are UK-based, you must be registered for VAT in the UK to be eligible for the MOSS scheme.

  • Can I reclaim VAT on business purchases? 

    You can reclaim the VAT you pay on business expenses and purchases related to your VAT MOSS-qualifying sales.

    However, you cannot do this using the VAT MOSS return, and the process for reclaiming depends on whether you charge UK VAT for your business or not and whether you have paid VAT on business expenses in EU member states.

    For a more detailed answer, visit HMRC rulings

  • Do I need to register for VAT MOSS if I only sell digital services in the UK?

    No, if you are in the UK and only sell digital services to customers in the UK, you do not need to register for VAT MOSS. You can report the VAT due on these sales using your UK VAT Return.


With the MOSS scheme and simplified VAT rules, VAT on digital services can be easier to comply with. By taking advantage of these options, businesses can streamline their VAT payments, reduce administrative burdens, and save money for business operations. 

For further professional advice, consult a reputable accountancy firm like Sterlinx Global.

Related posts:

How to Comply with VAT In the EU as a Distance Seller

Top 10 Things to Know About VAT in Europe for Amazon Sellers

VAT for Amazon Sellers – What Is VAT?

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