So you have a business / company in an EU country different than Spain, and you wonder why VAT has been charged to you? Here's why.
The organiser of the conference, FIFTY FIFTY INNOVATIONS UG, is a company founded and based in Germany. However, based on some legal stuff (read more below), as the conference is held in Spain, we are required to charge 21% Spanish VAT instead.
This is an exception from a regular VAT rules and as such we aren't allowed to apply reversed VAT rule. In other words, VAT must be charged on all invoices, including when issued to VAT registered EU businesses.
As a rule, a company is required to charge VAT in the country where the services are deemed to have a place of supply.
For majority of the services charged in EU the place of supply of services is usually deemed to be the place where the supplier has established his business. However, where the customer of the services supplied by the intermediary is identified for VAT purposes in a Member State other than that within the territory of which that transaction is carried out, the place of the supply of services by the intermediary is deemed to be within the territory of the Member State which issued the customer with the VAT identification number under which the service was rendered to him. That's also known as "reverse VAT rule".
Unfortunately, the reverse VAT rule does not apply when charging for services of an admission to a conference.
The EU VAT Directive establishes an exception that the "place of supply" of services of educational, entertainment or similar activities shall be the place where the services are physically carried out. This, as an exception, applies to both regular customers, but also to VAT registered business.
As a rule, we are required to charge VAT in the country where the services are deemed to have a place of supply. In our case, that's Spain.