VAT special scheme (One Stop Shop)

The VAT special scheme Mini One Stop Shop expands into One Stop Shop on 1 July 2021. The current VAT special schemes can be used in the sales of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services to consumers in the EU. In future, the special schemes will cover all the services sold to consumers in the EU and the distance sales of goods to consumers in the EU.

These instructions describe the situations where a special scheme can be used and explain how you can register for special schemes starting 1 April. The instructions will be supplemented later with changes regarding filing and payment. Read more about changes taking place on 1 July

When can special schemes be used?

Companies can use VAT special schemes in international consumer sales. When you use the special scheme, you can manage your company’s VAT obligations in a centralised manner in a single EU Member State, i.e. you do not need to report and pay VAT separately to every country where you have buyers.

The special schemes cover all the services sold to consumers in the EU and the distance sales of goods to consumers in the EU. The services sold may include passenger transport services, sales of tickets to events, and restaurant and meal services.

In future, the VAT special scheme consists of three different schemes: the Union scheme, the non-Union scheme and the import scheme.

Union scheme

The Union scheme covers all the services sold to consumers in the EU and the distance sales of goods to consumers in the EU.

You can use the Union scheme to report and pay VAT in the following situations:

1) Your company has a domicile or a permanent establishment within the EU, and you sell services to consumers in EU Member States. However, you can use the special scheme only when the buyer is in an EU Member State where your company does not have a domicile or a permanent establishment.

Example: A company is domiciled in Finland and sells services to consumers within the EU. The company can register for the Union scheme and use it to file and pay VAT on the services it has sold in EU countries other than Finland.

2) You company carries out distance sales of goods to consumers within the EU. In this case, the company does not need to have a domicile or a permanent establishment in the EU.

Example: A company is domiciled in Finland and carries out distance sales of goods to consumers within the EU. The company dispatches goods only from Finland. The company can register for the Union scheme and use it to file and pay VAT on the goods it has sold to consumers and dispatched to EU countries other than Finland. If the company sells goods to consumers in Finland, it reports the sales on a tax return for self-assessed taxes.

Non-Union scheme

The non-Union scheme covers all the services sold to consumers within the EU. You can use the non-Union scheme if your company does not have a domicile or a permanent establishment in the EU VAT territory.

Example: A US company that is not established in the EU VAT territory sells services to consumers within the EU. The company can register for the non-Union scheme and use it to file and pay VAT.

Import scheme

The new import scheme covers distance sales of goods imported from outside the EU to consumers when the value of a goods consignment is no more than €150 and the products are not subject to excise duty.

You can use the import scheme if your company has a domicile or a permanent establishment in the EU VAT territory.

Example: A company domiciled in Finland sells goods to consumers in the EU. The goods are sent to buyers from China. The company can register for the import scheme and use it to file and pay VAT on the distance sales of goods imported from non-EU countries.

The import scheme can also be used by a company that is not established in the EU. In that case, the company usually has to designate an intermediary that has a domicile or a permanent establishment in the EU VAT territory. The intermediary attends to the obligations under the import scheme in the name of and on behalf of the company it represents. For example, the intermediary is separately liable for filing tax returns and paying taxes on behalf of each company it represents.

Example: A company is domiciled in China. It sells goods from China to consumers in the EU. Because the company has no permanent establishment in the EU, it designates an intermediary that is domiciled in Finland. The intermediary uses the special scheme to file and pay VAT on the seller’s behalf on distance sales of goods imported from a non-EU country.

When and how can you register for special schemes?

Your company can file a registration notice for the expanded special schemes in the Member State of identification starting 1 April 2021. However, the registration does not enter into force until the use of the special schemes begins, i.e. on 1 July 2021.

Note: If your company has registered for the current Union scheme or non-Union scheme, it will be automatically transferred to the corresponding new scheme. You do not need to file a new registration notice, unless you want to register your company for the import scheme.

If you are an intermediary representing a company in the import scheme, first file a registration notice about your intermediary position in the Member State of identification. When your registration notice has been approved, you can submit a registration notice about all the companies you represent to the Member State of identification. Enclose the following documents with the registration notice:

  • a power of attorney or an agreement specifying your right to act as the company’s intermediary
  • a foreign equivalent of a trade register extract showing the name, domicile, line of business and accounting period of the company you represent, and the authority to sign for the company.

If the enclosures are not in Finnish or Swedish, a Finnish or Swedish translation must be provided.

When the Member State of identification is Finland, both the company and the intermediary can file a registration notice in MyTax. Select “All activities” on the home page, and then “Registration for VAT special scheme”.

The Member State of identification is the EU Member State where the company registers for the special scheme, files VAT returns and pays VAT.

The Member State of identification is determined differently in different special schemes. Finland is the Member State of identification in the following situations:

Union scheme

  • the company has a domicile or a permanent establishment in Finland
  • the company does not have a domicile or a permanent establishment in Finland or in another EU Member State but the dispatch or transport of the goods begins in Finland

Non-Union scheme

  • the company does not have a domicile or a permanent establishment in the EU VAT territory
  • the company has selected Finland as its Member State of identification
    • the company can select any EU country as its Member State of identification

Import scheme

Company liable for tax:

  • the company has a domicile or a permanent establishment in Finland
  • an intermediary designated by the company has registered for the import scheme in Finland

Intermediary representing a company:

  • the intermediary has a domicile or a permanent establishment in Finland

The Tax Administration issues a decision on the approval or rejection of the registration notice. The decision is shown in MyTax. The decision can be appealed.

Why should you register for the special scheme?

Using the special scheme is voluntary. If the seller does not register for the VAT special scheme, it will have to register for VAT in all the countries where consumers have purchased the seller’s goods or services covered by the special scheme.

  • If the distance seller does not use the import scheme, the transport company can report and pay the VAT on the buyer’s behalf in line with the new Customs special procedure.
  • If the import scheme or Customs special procedure is not used, Customs will collect VAT on goods imported by other than VAT-registered parties, for example goods imported by private individuals. Companies that have registered for VAT will report and pay VAT on their imports to the Tax Administration as a self-assessed tax.

Read more on the Customs website.

A company can have only one Member State of identification in a special scheme at any one time. If the company wants to register for more than one special scheme, however, the Member State of identification can be a different EU Member State in different special schemes.

If the company registers for a special scheme, it must use the scheme for all the sales transactions covered by the scheme.

What preconditions are there for registration?

A company or an intermediary can register for a special scheme if the following conditions are met:

  • The company meets the conditions of the special scheme regarding a domicile and a permanent establishment.
  • The company conducts business that is covered by the special scheme.
  • The company has not registered for the same special scheme in another Member State.

A company cannot be registered for a special scheme if it has been removed from the scheme on account of repeated reporting or payment negligence and if a waiting period has been imposed. During the waiting period, the company cannot use any of the special schemes in any Member State.

A further condition for the registration of an intermediary is that the prospective intermediary has not significantly failed to comply – and is not expected to fail to comply – with its tax-related obligations.

Special scheme identification numbers

In order to use the special scheme, the company needs a unique VAT identification number. The VAT number indicates the country in which the taxpayer or the intermediary has registered and the scheme for which it has registered. An example of a VAT number when Finland is the Member State of identification is given in brackets.

Union scheme

  • national VAT identification number (FInnnnnnnn)

Non-Union scheme

  • EU-prefixed VAT identification number (EU246yyyyyz)

In the Union and the non-Union scheme, the VAT number remains the same if you register again in the same country.

Import scheme

  • taxpayer has an IM-prefixed VAT identification number (IM246yyyyyz)
  • intermediary has an IN-prefixed identification number for acting as an intermediary (IN246yyyyyz)

In the import scheme, the VAT number changes if the taxpayer or the intermediary registers again in the same country.

EU-, IM- and IN-prefixed identification numbers are used only in the special schemes.

Instructions