Skip to main content
VAT practical manual 2022.

A) General concepts

In the scope of VAT the terms "import" and "export" are used only when it comes to acquisitions or deliveries of goods to non-EU countries, that is, as entries and exits of the Community, and intra-community acquisitions and intra-community deliveries of goods when it comes to acquisitions and deliveries of goods to community countries, that is, purchases and sales to member countries of the Community.

explanatory scheme

Two new taxable events appear here: importation, to refer to the entry into the territory of the Community of goods from third countries and the intra-community acquisition as entry into the Spanish territory of VAT (from which the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla are excluded) of goods that come from another State member of the European Union.

The taxation of imports and intra-community acquisitions is carried out differently: While the former must be settled at Customs (without prejudice to the possibility of deferring payment in certain cases), the latter are settled as part of the self-assessment that is periodically submitted for all operations.

In intra-community traffic there is a different treatment depending on whether it is acquisitions made by individuals or by businessmen:

  1. Deliveries of goods to individuals are taxed as a general rule in the country of origin, that is, in the country of the businessman who makes the delivery.

  2. Deliveries of goods to businessmen or professionals, subject to VAT, are taxed in the country of destination, that is, in the country of the businessman who acquires them, as an intra-community acquisition of goods.

On the other hand, the general regime for intra-Community acquisitions does not apply to acquisitions made in a Member State that are taxed under the special regime for used goods, art objects, antiques and collectibles. This is because the operation of this special regime requires that taxation be located in the State of origin.

For intra-community imports and acquisitions to be subject to the tax, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The operation must be configured as an intra-community acquisition or import.

  2. It must be carried out in the territory of application of Spanish VAT.

  3. The operation must not be included among the cases of non-submission provided for in the Law.

  4. The operation must not be included among the exemption cases provided for in the Law.