Skip to main content
Practical Handbook VAT 2021

Deliveries of goods and provision of services

As a general rule, taxable person is the entrepreneur or professional, natural or legal person, who supplies goods or services. This status as a taxable person implies compliance with both material and formal tax obligations.

In addition, for the purposes of the VAT, , the following are considered to be taxable persons, provided that they carry out transactions subject to the tax: inherited estates, communities of property and other entities that do not have legal personality but constitute an economic unit or a separate estate liable to taxation.

Examples:

Taxable persons of VAT are:

  • A community of owners that promotes the construction of a building for the different members of the community.

  • Two or more persons jointly exercising a professional activity and sharing the income.Two or more persons owning jointly and severally immovable property which they rent out constitute a community of property for VAT purposes and are liable to pay VAT.

For to determine who is liable for the tax, the Tax Law establishes a general rule and two special rules:

General rule

The taxable person is the entrepreneur or professional who carries out the supply of goods or services subject to the tax.

Special rules

  1. The so-called reverse charge rule, according to which the taxable person is the entrepreneur or professional who receives the goods or services, i.e. the recipient.

    This rule applies in the following cases:

    1. When who carries out the transactions is not established in the territory of application VAT Spanish, except in the following cases:

      • In the case of distance sales subject to Spanish VAT.

      • In the case of supplies of services in which the recipient is not established in the territory where the tax applies, except in the case of supplies of services covered by Article 69.1.1 of the Law.

      • In the case of intra-Community supplies of goods or supplies of goods for export, both of which are exempt from VAT, as well as intra-Community supplies of goods that are subject to and not exempt from VAT (amendment introduced by Article 214 of Royal Decree-Law 3/2020 of 4 February (BOE of 5 February), applicable from 1 March 2020.

      Established in the territory

      Taxable persons are deemed to be established in the territory in which Spanish VAT applies if they have their place of business, their tax domicile or a fixed establishment there which is involved in the supply of goods and services subject to the tax.

      Such a permanent establishment shall be deemed to be involved in the supply of goods or services when it arranges its material and human factors of production or one of them for the purpose of carrying out each of them.In other words, it requires a qualified intervention of the establishment in which there is an effective performance of the material and human resources of that permanent establishment in the production of the goods and services, without the performance of merely administrative tasks such as the simple issuing of invoices or other similar tasks being considered sufficient.

      Example:

      Services provided to a Spanish company by a Belgian lawyer not established in Spain will be subject to VAT in Spain and the Spanish company is a taxable person, by inversion.

      Example:

      There is no reverse charge in the lease of a property located in Spain whose owner resides abroad since, in this case, the foreigner is considered to be established in the territory of application of the tax, the permanent establishment being the building itself which is the object of the lease;Therefore, the taxable person is the owner of the property, even if he does not reside in the territory.

      Example:

      A French businessman not established on the Spanish mainland or in the Balearic Islands contracts with a German company for the organisation by the latter of an exhibition in Madrid of the products manufactured by the French company.

      It also contracts with a Portuguese company to provide the ticket sales service for access to the exhibition.

      The service of organising the exhibition is localised in accordance with the general rule of Article 69.1.1 of LIVA and, therefore, is not considered to be carried out in the territory of application of the tax.

      As for the ticket sales service, it is located in accordance with the provisions of the special rule of Article 70.1.3 of the VAT Law at the place where the service is physically provided.Consequently, as this is a case where the provider and the recipient are not established in the TAI the taxable person is the provider of the access service.

      Example:

      German businessman not established in Spain, who has various goods of his property stored in an industrial warehouse located in Teruel.These goods are sent to French entrepreneurs and the German entrepreneur takes care of the transport of the goods from Spain to France.French entrepreneurs communicate their French VAT/VAT number to German.

      Intra-Community supplies of goods carried out by the German entrepreneur are subject to and exempt from Spanish VAT.The taxable person for that tax is the German entrepreneur (as there is no inversion), so that he is obliged to comply with the formal obligations relating to that supply:issuing of invoice, recapitulative declaration, etc.

      It should be clarified that the industrial building in Teruel referred to in the case does not constitute a permanent establishment for the German entrepreneur.For this to be the case, he or she would have to be the owner, lessee or usufructuary of it, or of a certain and determined part of it.

    2. In the case of deliveries of unprocessed gold or semi-finished gold products of a fineness equal to or greater than 325 thousandths.

    3. In the case of deliveries of certain recovery materials, as well as certain services (sorting, cutting, shredding and pressing) on these recovery materials.

    4. In the case of the supply of gas and electricity or the supply of heat or refrigeration through heating or cooling networks which is deemed to take place in the territory where the tax is charged, if the supplier is not established and the recipient is a trader or professional or a legal person not acting as such and is identified in that territory.

    5. In the case of the supply of services involving greenhouse gas emission allowances.

    6. In the case of the following supplies of immovable property:

      • Supplies made as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.

      • The exempt supplies referred to in sections 20 and 22 of Article 20.1 of the LIVA in which the taxable person has waived the exemption.

      • Deliveries made in execution of the security lodged for immovable property.It is also understood that the guarantee is executed when the property is transferred in exchange for the total or partial extinguishment of the guaranteed debt or of the obligation to extinguish the aforementioned debt by the acquirer ( DGT V1415-13).

    7. In the case of the execution of works, with or without the provision of materials, for the development of land or the construction or renovation of buildings, as well as the assignment of personnel for their execution, as a consequence of contracts directly formalised between the developer and the contractor.It also applies when the recipients of the operations are subcontractors ( DGT V2583-12).

      Example:

      A town council contracts the construction of a public library for free use by the residents of the municipality.

      In this case there is no reverse charge, as the municipality is not acting as a businessman or professional.

      Otherwise, it would be necessary for the municipality to expressly and reliably inform the main contractor that it is intervening in the operation as a businessman or professional, and the reversal of the taxable person would take place.

      Example:

      Company A contracts with company B for the construction of a building where it will install its head office, for an amount of 500,000 euros.For this construction B subcontracts the installation of doors and windows to company C for a value of 40,000 euros.

      The execution of the work as a whole is considered as construction.Therefore, A becomes a taxable person for the supply of goods by B and must charge and pay the VAT corresponding to this transaction in the amount of 105,000 euros.On the other hand, company B becomes a taxable person for the work carried out by C and must charge and pay the VAT corresponding to the operation in the amount of 8,400 euros (without prejudice to the possibility of deducting this amount, if applicable).

    8. In the case of supplies of the following products as defined in paragraph 10 of the Annex to the VAT Act:

      • Silver, platinum and palladium, unwrought, powdered or semi-manufactured;supplies of such metals resulting from the carrying out of processing activities by the acquiring trader or professional shall be treated in the same way as supplies of such metals.In any case, the products must not fall within the scope of the special arrangements applicable to second-hand goods, works of art, antiques and collectors' items.

      • Mobile phones.

      • Video game consoles, laptops and digital tablets ( DGT V1037-15 and V0720-16).

      The provisions of these last two indents shall only apply where the addressee is:

      • A trader or professional reseller of such goods, irrespective of the amount of the supply.

        For these purposes he shall be considered as a reseller:

        The entrepreneur or professional who regularly engages in the resale of mobile phones, video game consoles, laptops and digital tablets.These entrepreneurs or professionals must notify their status as resellers by means of a census declaration (form 036) at the start of the activity or during the month of November prior to the start of the calendar year in which it is to take effect.

      • A trader or professional other than those referred to in the previous indent, when the total amount of the supplies of such goods made to him, documented in the same invoice, exceeds 10,000 euros, excluding value added tax.In order to calculate this limit, the total amount of the supplies made must be taken into account when, documented in more than one invoice, it is proven that it is a single transaction and that there has been an artificial breakdown of the transaction for the sole purpose of avoiding the application of this rule.

        Proof of both conditions must be expressly and reliably communicated to the trader or professional making the supply prior to or at the same time as the purchase.

        In order to facilitate this accreditation, it is possible, once the reseller status has been duly communicated, to apply for a specific tax certificate to accredit the reseller status of mobile phones, video game consoles, laptops and digital tablets.

  2. Legal persons not acting as entrepreneurs or professionals in the following two cases:

    1. When they are the recipients of the supplies subsequent to the intra-Community acquisitions exempted by triangular operation, provided that they have communicated to the supplier a VAT number attributed by the Spanish Administration.

    2. When they are recipients of services provided by entrepreneurs or professionals not established in the territory of application of the tax referred to in Articles 69 and 70 of the LIVA, for which purpose they must have a VAT registration number issued by the Spanish Administration.

      Example:

      A municipality, which makes an intra-Community acquisition of goods subject to Spanish VAT, contracts with a non-established French businessman for the transport of the goods from France to Spain, communicating to him its Spanish VAT number (NIF-IVA).

      The service of intra-Community transport of goods is subject to Spanish VAT, the taxable person being the municipality.