Local VAT expert, Alexis Tsielepis, is joined by world-renowned VAT expert, Prof. Ben Terra, to present a full day seminar on ‘VAT in the World of Financial Services’.

The world of VAT does not impose tax on financial transactions. This is because it does not want to increase the cost of borrowing for businesses and also because it is too difficult to assess the taxable base on which VAT could be levied. The downside is that any related VAT paid for services and goods purchased by businesses in the financial world is not deductible and remains a cost, and quite a substantial one at that.

At the same time, the industry has seen a growth in the number of non-financial businesses (such as Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google) offering financial services, working with, but really competing directly, with the financial institutions.

Yet there are several problems.

Financial transactions very often involve a chain of transactions with different suppliers, including intermediaries.

  • Does the exemption apply to the entire chain or are some transactions along the chain taxable?

Financial institutions very often offer a variety of supporting services as part of an exempt service.

  • Should each service be looked at differently for VAT or should it be considered as one supply? And if so, does that single supply fall within the exemption or not?


  • Does a financial service have to be supplied to the end-customer for it to be exempt?
  • How do you treat mere technical aspects of a financial transaction for VAT purposes?
  • How does automation affect the VAT treatment of financial transactions supplied electronically? ​
  • How can businesses offering financial services deduct VAT on goods and services purchased?
  • How does the European Court of Justice (ECJ) react in cases where VAT Authorities try to limit a financial business’s right to deduct VAT?
  • How do you treat collective investments for VAT purposes?
  • How should the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Payment Service Directive (PSD2) impact the transactions that non-financial businesses offer end-users, when in practice they often work directly with the financial institutions?

These questions and many more will be addressed in this full day seminar where the VAT treatment on financial transactions will be defined, explained and analysed, particularly with reference to case-law of the EC, which are binding for the Cyprus Department of Taxation and the Cyprus courts.

This seminar is a must for professionals dealing with VAT-related matters in and for the forex industry, the banking sector, credit institutions, fund management companies, financing companies and other CySEC regulated entities.

Download the seminar brochure in EN


8:30am – 9:00am Registration & Coffee
9:00am – 9.15am Welcome Address
Alexis Tsielepis – Co-Instructor
9:15am – 11.10am
  • Explanation of general principles of exemptions
  • Explanation of deduction rules for input VAT
  • Review of selected European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law relating to VAT authorities trying to limit right to deduct over exempt financial transactions
  • Explanation of composite supplies within financial services
  • Explanation of how the term ‘negotiation’ and how intermediation should be viewed in the context of financial transactions
11:10am – 11:30am Coffee Break
11:30am – 1:00pm
  • Explanation of the importance of the identity of the supplier of financial transactions for VAT purposes and their legal relationship with the end customer, including outsourcing
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment in the granting and management of credit, including credit cards
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment concerning credit guarantees and other securities for money, including underwriting guarantees
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of transactions concerning deposits, current accounts and payments
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of mere technical aspects in financial transactions (e.g. SWIFTS, data-handling systems)
1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Break
2:00pm – 3:15pm
  • Explanation of the difference between deriving interest from bonds compared to deriving interest from financing activities
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of factoring
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of currency transactions including cryptocurrency
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of transactions relating to securities, including management / safekeeping in shares
3:15pm – 3:45pm Coffee Break
3:45pm – 5:45pm
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment when financial services are supplied electronically and the impact of automation
  • Explanation of the VAT treatment of management of special investment funds including collective investment schemes
  • Discussion of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the Payment Service Directive (PSD2) and the impact of non-financial and non-insurance businesses (such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google) offering users finance-related services
  • Brief update on the future ‘Definitive VAT scheme’ and how this will affect financial transactions
5:45pm – 6:00pm Questions and Discussion


Prof. Dr. Ben J. M. Terra
University of Lund, Sweden and Católica Global School of Law, Portugal


Ben studied international law at the University of Amsterdam and indirect taxation at the University of Leiden.

Previous positions held include Head of Post-Graduate Training in VAT, Customs and Excises at the Ministry of Finance in The Hague, Professor of Law at the University of Leiden and Head of the Global Indirect Tax Practice of Ernst & Young.

He has published numerous articles and books on indirect taxation and is also a consultant of the OECD, the European Commission and IMF. At present Ben is an indirect tax and European tax law lecturer at the Católica Global School of Law in Portugal and at the Lund University in Sweden.

Alexis Tsielepis, BSc, FCA
Managing Director
Chelco VAT Ltd


Alexis is widely considered as the foremost expert on VAT in Cyprus. With 18 years of experience in VAT strategic consulting, he advises businesses on international VAT matters and lectures at local and international VAT conferences and schools.

Alexis possesses an extensive vocational and educational experience in European VAT and a detailed comprehension of EU VAT matters and decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). He teaches at various VAT International Schools and sits on various committees charged with VAT matters. His work includes liaising with the Cyprus tax authorities and government on policy making.

He has written a number of tax syllabuses, chapters, articles and a book on matters pertaining to Cyprus and EU VAT.

Alexis is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and holds the Expert in European Value Added Tax Degree, which he earned with the highest grade ever awarded in the history of the coveted diploma.


Professionals dealing with VAT-related matters in the forex industry, the banking sector, credit institutions, fund management companies, financing companies and other CySEC regulated entities.

  • CEOs
  • CFOs & FCs
  • Chief Accountants
  • Accountants
  • Analysts
  • Consultants


VAT in the World of Financial Services

Date & Venue Limassol
Tuesday, 20 November 2018, Richard Ballroom, Carob Mill
Time 9:00am – 6:00pm (registration at 8.30am)
8 CPD Units (certificates of attendance will be provided)
Cost €300 + VAT (including light lunch)
Group Discount (for 3 persons or more): 15%
Seats are limited!
Language English