VATLive > Blog > Europe > Union vs non-Union OSS: what’s the difference?

Union vs non-Union OSS: what’s the difference?

  • Aug 17, 2021 | Avalara

The Union One-Stop Shop (OSS) is a single EU VAT return designed to simplify the VAT return process for EU sellers. Extending the scope of the current MOSS scheme, OSS is split into two categories; Union OSS and Non-Union OSS.

You would be forgiven for assuming that the point of difference between the two categories is whether the seller is based in or out of the EU. To some extent it is, but the definitions are largely split between the types of transactions and businesses eligible to use each return. 

Union OSS is designed for:

  • EU and non-EU registered businesses who sell goods to consumers where the origin and destination of the shipment is within the EU.

  •  EU businesses are also allowed to include the following services in their OSS filings: 

  • Accommodation services carried out by non-established taxable persons:

    • Admission to cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment or similar events; such as fairs and exhibitions
    • Supplies of services by intermediaries
    • Passenger transport services
    • Services of valuation and work on movable tangible property
    • Ancillary transport activities such as loading, unloading, handling or similar activities
    • Services connected to immovable property
    • Hiring of means of transport
    • Supply of telecommunication, broadcasting or electronic services
    • Supply of restaurant and catering services for consumption onboard ships, aircraft or trains etc.

Non-Union OSS is designed for:

  • Non-EU businesses who are providing the same services as above.

EU Businesses are required to register in their home country for OSS. Non-EU businesses may choose the country they file their Union OSS but this must correlate with the location they hold stock. Therefore, if a UK business holds stock in a Belgium warehouse they must register for OSS in Belgium. For non-union OSS the non-EU business has the ability to choose the country they wish to register in. 

Many businesses offer both goods and services, when non-EU businesses sell goods and one of the services listed above within the EU, they would be required to register for both Union-OSS and Non-Union OSS if they wish to take advantage of the simplification. 

We know it can feel confusing or overwhelming trying to understand the tax obligations for your business so if you are still unsure after reading this article, please feel free to contact us so one of our specialists can help you.

Insider’s tip: For businesses whose services might be covered within Non-Union OSS, it might not be the best solution for you. Contact Avalara today to find out more.

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Avalara Author
Avalara Author Avalara
Avalara helps businesses of all sizes get tax compliance right. In partnership with leading ERP, accounting, ecommerce, and other financial management system providers, Avalara delivers cloud-based compliance solutions for various transaction taxes, including sales and use, VAT, excise, communications, and other indirect tax types. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and around the world in the U.K., Belgium, Brazil, and India.
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