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Why do some airports demand a VAT number to sell you avgas?

From here

In terms of VAT regs, this makes no sense IF they are charging you VAT – which they ARE unless you produce an AOC.

The only time a customer must produce a VAT number if it is an inter-EU supply by a VAT registered supplier, the customer is requesting zero VAT charged, and if the VAT number is (or appears to be) valid, then you can charge zero VAT on the supply.

I have had this VAT number demand in Spain and Italy over the years. I just give them a VAT number which I know is valid… it is irrelevant whose it is since I am paying the VAT in full and not reclaiming it (it being a private flight). Sometimes this leads to farcical situations i.e. at Cagliery LIEE they hassled me for months afterwards asking whether the flight was private or commercial, and demanded proof it was private, etc.

They cannot be actually doing anything (in terms of the European VAT system) with that VAT number. You could easily generate valid VAT numbers because they meet a specific checksum or some such…

I wonder if anyone involved in accounting could guess the motivation behind this? Maybe @howard?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

In Spain there has been a lot of black, grey or “B” money going around that now they want to know the tax number of the customer so that the tax office can crosscheck. In the case of non-spanish people or entities they use the VAT number as they seem to believe that it is your tax number.

You can’t even get a package delivered by the postal service without identifying yourself with your “DNI”. Spanish people get a personal ID number assigned and that number shows up everywhere – more important than the name. Add to that the fact that in Spanish speaking countries there is no family name and the children have different last names from their parents (it’s the combination of their parent’s last names) it gets complicated to know who is who and who lives there and who might be a visitor opening the door. That demand for DNI (documento nacional de identidad) is quite funny given that elsewhere your ID card may have a document number which changes once you get a new ID card.

So it really has nothing to do with VAT but all kinds of taxes and avoidance of tax evasion.

Last Edited by Stephan_Schwab at 18 May 18:27
Frequent travels around Europe

That’s very interesting, Stephan.

Here in the UK (and in some other countries I export to) the VAT number is used by customers (usually a big company) to check the supplier actually exists, and isn’t just a fake supplier created by somebody working in the customer’s Accounts Department, who then generates bogus purchase invoices and gets them paid and banks the money (a very old sort of insider fraud; I recall one case from the 1970s/1980s which netted the guy £100M+ although it is most commonly done by a long-service and trusted book-keeper in a small family business).

But asking a private individual for a VAT # is just nuts; he/she isn’t going to have one. Probably in most cases he/she phones home and obtains their employer’s VAT number just to get the damned avgas.

Also Spain, along with much of southern Europe, is full of dirty money (e.g. house transactions were routinely done in cash) and I don’t see them catching anybody by demanding a VAT #.

So it seems like a misunderstanding of what a VAT number is.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I don’t think it’s a misunderstanding. We’ve been at LEZL last week and talked with the driver of the fuel truck. It seems that it’s the company procedure (CLH) to ask either a NIF (fiscal id number) or a IntraEu VAT number to allow VAT refund for foreign companies. They simply don’t take in count you can own an aircraft privately. He recognised they have only “a few problem yearly” with that…
In LESO (another fuel company), no need of VAT number.

Last Edited by Olivier14 at 18 May 19:51
Caen LFRK, France

I’ve noted this requirement for a DNI in Spain for the most ridiculous things. I subscribed to a magazine in Spain a couple of years ago and despite my foreign address, the web form wouldn’t let me finish without entering a valid DNI! I had to find the check digit algorithm so I could make one up that would validate. I put it down to hangovers from Spain’s totalitarian past.

Andreas IOM

Ok so what do you do to get Avgas in case you land in Spain and dont have one? I dont know anyone here who does.

KHTO, LHTL

Olivier14 wrote:

We’ve been at LEZL last week and talked with the driver of the fuel truck. It seems that it’s the company procedure (CLH)

CLH at LEZL are the worst – by far!! I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, but when I lived in Spain (flying an EC-reg a/c that had a company account with CLH, no less!!) I regularly had issues with them. I’d say – just avoid.

@Peter I have no idea what this is about except as others have commented, some silly over-bureaucratic system somewhere that has lost sight of all the possible outcomes / implications and hasn’t taken account of private owners.

When flying abroad, forewarned by others (and you) I take with me a copy of a UK business’s VAT number. I know a good number of people who do the same as me. We give the refuelers what they want and they are happy. Loonies.

I’m sure there are bureaucratic systems in the UK that have likewise lost sight of their purpose, but which keep people gainfully employed.

Howard

Flying a TB20 out of EGTR
Elstree (EGTR), United Kingdom

I’ve been requested to send a VAT number in planning a flight to Italy.
I will see if I can provide the aero-club’s VAT number.

Last Edited by james16 at 23 Sep 12:14
LFMD

Our aeroclub is a legal non-VAT registered entity. It means we can do stuff companies do but when it comes to VAT we must be treated the same way any other private person is treated, not as a VAT-registered company. So flying to these airports would be “impossible”?

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