UK Where to pay tax for digital goods?

Jul 24, 2022
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Hi everyone!

I have a UK company, which sells a mobile phone travel application available to download from Google Play Store and Apple Store - free to download, but content needs to be subsequently unlocked with an access code. 95% of our customers are holidaymakers who are in Spain at the time of purchase (some of them could purchase it before they get to Spain, but that's explained further down), who are residents in other countries - mainly European countries, like Germany, UK, Norway, Austria etc., but in reality they can be residents in any country in the world, some of them also in Spain. They purchase the app directly from my company's website whilst they're on holiday in Spain either by having come across a leaflet or some other advertising or by being approached by a self-employed person who tells them about the app and effectively sells it to them by either directing them to my company's website to purchase it there directly or by accepting cash for it and providing the user with a code to unlock the app, and that cash is then subsequently passed on to my company (and my company declares it all in the UK) and commission is paid out from that money to that self-employed sales person who lives in Spain (he/she does their own taxes in Spain, so that bit seems irrelevant).

The question: in what country do I have to pay corporate tax?

From my understanding, I must pay corporate tax in the UK, because that's where my company is registered. However, if let's say one day Spanish authorities contact my company (perhaps by questioning a self-employed sales rep over there in Spain or by finding a leaflet for my app), could they legally require me to pay tax in Spain, taking into account that's it's a UK company and also that 90% of my company's customers are NOT residents in Spain and are merely there on holidays and they could be residents in any other country in the world. The payment is always paid directly to my UK company (via the website with an unlocking code send directly to the user after they paid via PayPal) or in cash to the sales rep over there in Spain (this second option doesn't seem as direct, as they're effectively giving the money to a sales rep who is NOT an employee of my company). Google Play Store and Apple Store do NOT handle any payments in the form of in-app purchases, as we simply don't use that option.

Last thing to add would be that when a user purchases the access code via our website a) the invoice that we receive from the shopping card software (for example Shopify; basically the service that links our website to PayPal) always includes the customer's physical home address (for example Germany, Norway etc.) as well as their I.P. (often the I.P. from their country even if they're in Spain at the time of purchase if they're using their country's mobile data in the form of roaming) and b) I have absolutely no way of knowing whether the person who has just purchased the access code via my website was actually in Spain at the time of purchase (local leaflet or banner, for example) or they saw our advert on Facebook or were recommended to purchase my app by their friend for example, whilst they were still in their home country (Germany, for example) before they ever set foot in Spain.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance!

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member

Latest Threads