Guide to Reclaiming VAT for Business Trip Expenses

The Blue dot Team

As the Covid pandemic passes, business travel is back on the rise. Business travel involves paying VAT that can be potentially reclaimed. Unfortunately, the complexity involved in VAT reclaim makes it difficult for businesses to maximize their reclaim.


One barrier to VAT reclaim is invoices submitted with incomplete or incorrect information. The company may choose to reimburse the employee for such expenses, but the company will be unable to reclaim VAT that is submitted with a faulty invoice.


Here at Blue dot, we came up with a few guidelines to help companies streamline their business trip VAT reclaim.


Six Business Trip VAT Reclaim Guidelines

1.  Original Invoice Only

Make it a company rule to accept original invoices only. An invoice should have the word “invoice” clearly displayed on the top. Do not accept proforma invoices, copies, or credit card slips. Employees know to always request an original invoice and a VAT invoice.

2. Correct Legal Names on Invoices

Make it a company policy to correctly display the legal name and address of the company. Often, companies have an improper name on their invoices – such as the name of a sub-group or department. These are not valid for VAT reclaim. 

3. Additional Invoice Requirements

  • For business trip expenses under EUR 150 for items such as public transportation, taxis, and restaurant bills, a simplified invoice with a VAT breakdown is acceptable. The threshold for simplified invoices in Germany is EUR 250 (per Jan 1, 2017).
  • In cases of a multi-page invoice, ensure ALL pages are submitted.
  • Check that all the vendor details are included on the invoice, including the invoice number and invoice date.
  • Confirm that there is a VAT indication mentioned on the invoice.

4. Special Requirements Per Country

  • Switzerland and Belgium – The company name is required on each invoice – even on an invoice from fast food eateries or public transportation. Ask the cashier to include it.
  • Portugal and Spain – The company name and VAT number are required on each invoice – even on an invoice from fast food eateries or public transportation. Ask the cashier to include it. The only exception is Portugal, where a company name is not required on invoices for parking and tolls.
  • Italy – The invoice must include the word “Fattura” and NOT “Recivuta” and must contain both the company name and the employee name. You must have proof of payment i.e. a credit card slip or an indication on the invoice that it was paid.
  • Germany – When charging items in a hotel bar to your room, please keep (and submit) the bar voucher as well.
  • Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary – The invoice should be issued in the local currency. Amounts in Euros may also appear on the invoice for your convenience.

5. Communicate Your Business Expense Policies

Now that you’ve gathered information and can formulate a solid business trip expenses policy for your company, create a file with those policies and meet with the department heads whose teams incur the most business trip expenses (often sales and customer success).

A good policy that no one knows about cannot be enforced. Communicate the rules of the game and set standards for an increase in compliance. Expect to speak one-on-one with people in order to change bad invoice habits.


How Blue dot Enables Businesses to Increase VAT Reclaim

If you are looking to increase VAT reclaim while maintaining effortless compliance, Blue dot VATBox can help. VATBox has helped Michelin recover over €3,000,000. VATBox streamlines the global VAT recovery process, adding a layer of visibility, compliance, and data integrity.

Get a head start on 2023 by automating your taxable employee benefits with Blue dot!

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