With value-added tax rates as high as 25% in some European Union countries, it’s clear that businesses can recoup a significant amount of money by reclaiming the VAT their travelers pay on accommodations, hotel meals and rental cars.
Reclaiming VAT is easier than ever with automated services like those provided by Taxeo, a BCD Travel partner. Yet an estimated €5.5 billion in recoverable VAT goes unclaimed each year. Why are companies leaving so much money on the table? And what can they do to start getting some of it back?
“The reason many companies haven’t ventured into automated VAT reclaim is that they remember the confusing, bureaucratic and time-consuming manual process that once defined VAT reclaim,” said Guillaume Leclerc, director of product planning for BCD. “Just mention VAT reclaim to travel and procurement managers—or even accountants—who’ve dealt with manual VAT processes, and you’re likely to get a groan.”
Adding up VAT
A company spending €5 million per year on foreign travel could be losing €300,000 by failing to go after value-added tax. Here’s a look at VAT rates in top European Union business destinations.
- Belgium 21%
- Denmark 25%
- France 20%, up from 19.6%
- Germany 19%
- Italy 22%, up from 21%
- Netherlands 21%
- Spain 21%
- Poland 23%
- Sweden 25%
- U.K. 20%
Source: European Commission, January 2014
But Taxeo’s automated process simplifies VAT reclaim at every step—from recovering expense records to segmenting travel by country to receiving payment. The best way for companies to understand this, Leclerc advised, is to do a strategic VAT test drive.
“Companies should go for the low-hanging fruit first. Review your opportunities to quickly get the most out of VAT recovery by focusing on travel patterns. For example, think about where your offices are. Do you have a lot of global meetings in your London office? If so, you’re paying 20% VAT on hotels and rental cars every time your non-U.K. travelers go there. That means you’ve got a high-frequency destination with a high VAT rate. Make recouping VAT paid in the U.K. your test drive for seeing what Taxeo’s automated reclaim services can do for you.”
Want to know more? Check out this video about VAT reclaim opportunities and download BCD Travel’s paper and infographic: VAT Reclaim: Don’t Leave Money on the Table. Then ask your account manager how BCD Travel and Taxeo can help your company recoup VAT.