"File with your tax authorities to claim VAT back" - Anyone done this?


As an owner of a (very small) single person business in Belgium (EU), I’m about to buy a new laptop.
While the price difference with what I had in mind (a mid-range Thinkpad) is huge, I’m willing to pay the extra price to support what Framework stands for and hopefully have a laptop that I’ll be able to huge the next xxx years.

So I started the order process, expecting to get an invoice and somehow get the tax into my bookkeeping. Then I found that “business customers will need to file with their tax authorities to claim VAT back”.

Has anyone done this in the EU (or even Belgium)? Is this reasonably doable? I do my own bookkeeping so don’t have an accountant to ask to do it…


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Is the problem getting an invoice from Framework or getting a tax refund because you bought the laptop for your business? I don’t really have a business myself, but getting VAT back for business-related expenses is no big deal.

The problem (or so I’ve been warned) is not getting the invoice (that shouldn’t be an issue when buying from any reputable brand), but getting the tax return because I paid taxes to the US.

Taxes paid inside my own country are simple to claim.
Taxes inside the EU are simple as well: you don’t need to pay them and the other company can’t even ask for them (normally).
However, paying taxes to a US company and asking that money back isn’t something obvious. At least, that was what I understood. Hence my question if someone has done this…

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Hi and welcome.

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Unfortunately, I’ve already gone over the forum and can’t find an answer.

I have no worries Framework will give me an invoice with the correct VAT number (mine as well as theirs). My question is “where do I get the paid VAT back (if at all)?”

I’ve also looked around on the Belgian government site and here it is stated:

Get in touch with the relevant foreign administration. In principle, you can use the form 803 (link is external).

That sounds like “good luck with that”.

If I can get the VAT back that Framework seems to charge, I’d be happy to pay the price difference between Framework and a laptop from a major brand because I believe in what Framework does. If I can’t, then it just becomes too much of a price difference to justify…

I can’t imagine Framework is really bothered by one person buying one laptop, but there must be more people in this situation, no?

Looking at the form. I read it as that is for purchasers outside Belgium to claim from Belgium if tax was paid there.

While FW collect the tax, they do pay it to your government - this is part of the reason why some countries are unable to order FW machines, FW haven’t (yet) got suitable tax arrangements in place.

You can get a tax invoice from FW (there is at least one thread about this) and it should state their company tax registration with your government, and with that in hand you should be able to claim back the tax.

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Please talk to an accountant in your country. Even though many things in EU are unified and standardized, the local laws are always a bit twisted, there are exceptions and rules that vary country by country, etc.

I am not an accountant, so take my reply with a big grain of salt. I will tell you how things work in Czechia and most likely they are similar in other EU countries. But in the end, you will have to talk to an actual accountant to make sure anyway.

First of all, what matters is whether you (or your business) are VAT registered or not. If you are not VAT registered, then probably there is nothing you can do, you pay the VAT and that’s it. Every year, you may get some fixed % of your yearly incomes counted as your expenses for tax reasons, etc., all depends on your local laws. I am not sure EU has unified laws on that, probably not.

Now, if you are VAT registered, then you most likely have an accountant or an external accounting company dealing with VAT for you. But there are generally 2 cases to consider:

  1. If you make a purchase within your own country, you pay the VAT, but at the end of the month, you can get the VAT (or a part of the VAT) back depending on the overall VAT transactions you made in that month. For example, if you buy products with 200 EUR VAT and sell products worth 50 EUR VAT, you might get 150 EUR back that month. This is being handled by your accountants.

  2. If you make a purchase from abroad, you should always make sure to tell the shop that you are VAT registered in another EU country, the product will be imported to your country, and hence you will pay 0% tax to them and you get an invoice stating a 0% VAT on that purchase abroad. After you receive the item, then you pay the local VAT to your local authorities instead, and then you follow point (1) above. However, the problem is that some foreign companies will not want to give you an invoice with a 0% VAT (which includes Framework), so you might be paying the tax twice in the end (once on the invoice and then the local tax authority will ask for the local tax as well). Asking for getting one of the taxes back is a painful process that involves dealing with tax offices in two countries and they will simply tell you that you should have asked for a 0% VAT invoice in the first place.

All this only matters if you are a business, because as a simple customer, you do not care about any of this, you simply pay the VAT and potential import taxes, but that is all already handled by Framework and FedEx, so the final price is the one you see on the invoice.

As a business, though, if you are VAT registered, what is important is whether your Framework purchase falls under (1) or (2). And this is the tricky part, because Framework is registered in the US, the laptop is shipped from Taiwan, but the invoice already contains the local VAT in the receiving country. Technically, the VAT ID on the invoice is what kind of matters. For my invoice (for a German shipping address), the VAT ID was French, but the tax was 19%, which corresponds to Germany. So a bit confusing. For that reason, I’d believe the purchase might fall under (1), but I am not sure about it. Unless you do freight forwarding to another EU country, which’d fall quite certainly under (2). But you really need to ask an accountant.

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Aren’t things simpler than you think? When ordering from Belgium, you order in EUR from Framework’s legal entity selling things to Belgium - so the VAT you pay should be the Belgian one and the claiming process the same as always…?

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I think that if Dieter_V has a Belgian VAT ID and the seller on the invoice also has a Belgian VAT ID, then it is indeed that simple. But on my invoice, for example, Framework has a French VAT ID, the shipping address was in Germany, and billing address in the Czech Republic. So that should be considered a foreign purchase (hence my long reply above). But it was also more complicated because Czech Republic is not supported, so I had to use EU forwarding. Perhaps Framework uses a French VAT ID if you are in an unsupported EU country?

The real question is what VAT ID will be written on the invoice if you order to Belgium with a Belgian shipping and billing address.

Yes, it is. And also, if they use an EU VAT ID that isn’t in Belgium, they’re not allowed to add VAT. If they do (which I expect they do), it becomes a nightmare to get it back.

@TomsonTom I am aware of how the VAT system works in the EU. I do my own taxes since my “company” is small enough not to warrant having an accountant. But, in any case, thanks for taking the effort write it all out, it will probably help someone else. I am VAT registered, so VAT regulations apply.

Since Framework are very vague about what to expect (and I see similar questions not being answered ánd shipping origin/VAT ID origin seem to vary), I contacted Framework support again. I just got a reply that it will take a while to get back to me. I’ve asked the same question to support a couple of months back and only got an equally vague answer as on the website. Maybe I’m luckier than last time, though my hopes are not very high.

Additionally, with the clarity and level of customer support (in regards to this issue) I’ve experienced so far, I have little confidence that Framework will be there to help me out if things don’t turn out as expected. Bummer, I really like what they are doing!

You can also try contacting Framework for Business. But they also provide rather vague answers. If it is of any help, this is the reply I got from them in February:

Currently, Framework does not offer business tax (or VAT) exemptions but can provide VAT invoicing on request via Framework Support for all countries where Framework is officially registered.

I did not follow up on that because Framework is not officially registered in my country, so I would never get the VAT back anyway.

Yes, that is exactly what I tried to write above in the long reply. Once the VAT is added in another EU country, it is almost impossible to get it back, because you need to deal with tax offices in two countries and they will just tell you that the invoicing was wrong in the first place.

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That is what I did a couple of months ago and did again yesterday. I got the same useless answers.

I can understand that tax-wise doing business in countries around the globe is a serious challenge. What I don’t understand is how being vague helps. Surely there must be a growing number of (small) companies outside of the US that consider buying Framework laptops. Seems like that would be a valid enough market…

Perhaps it’s their way of saying “we don’t know but don’t want to say we don’t know because that looks bad” whilst also not making it sound like “that’s a you problem”.

Could very well be.

I can imagine it’s a subject you could spend weeks trying to understand and still don’t get it exactly right.


  • they are a company
  • selling rather expensive products
  • on an international basis

Surely they should have accountants that have set up the company structures and could answer. It’s not like I’m asking a terribly complicated question I think.

If only you could manage to get your question escalated to the correct people maybe?

This. Here almost certainly isn’t the right place, but hopefully it creates some visibility and gets something escalated, somehow…

Most likely from their perspective only, and they aren’t claiming VAT back, just charging it and passing it to the correct country tax offices.

Officially it’s not allowed to charge VAT on orders from a company within one EU country send to a company in another EU country. If the order does contain VAT, you are not allowed to claim it from the government to get it back.

After I got my FW16 (Batch 1), I asked for a VAT refund by opening a support ticket, since I’m in The Netherlands and the invoice is from France. They responded relatively quickly and within a few days, we received the VAT on the bank account that was used to pay for the order. The invoice was also updated accordingly (0% VAT).

In order to get the VAT back, a VIES verification is needed, so you need to provide support with the details (company name, country and VAT ID), so they can check the details. I assume the company name on the order should match.

I also ordered an extra power supply and some extension modules and the VAT was refunded for that order as well.

I read the information regarding VAT refund here (bottom of the page): How do I obtain an invoice for my fully paid Framework order?.

All in all a fast resolve and they told me that VAT excemption for EU orders is something that will be possible somewhere this year, so no VAT refunding will be needed anymore from that point on.


Wonderful reply! Now if only Framework put these instructions somewhere visible on their website, ideally it should be clearly visible when ordering that if you are a business in EU, you can ask for the VAT return following the instructions above :slight_smile: @Destroya ?

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Thanks for the tag! I believe we have a Framework for Business page, I’m pretty sure this information is being shared as a part of that. However I agree that we can increase the visibility of the knowledgebase articles. Please let me know if you have any feedback about the information in the article.