What is a SUCOE?

For the last few years there has been a new billing system in regard to VAT that affects specialist travel agencies in B2B. In this article we are going to concentrate on the MICE sector, because it is the one that has undergone the most changes and whose objective is to benefit the client contracting the service of a DMC.


What exactly is it all about?

It is a change in the billing system whose objective is to favour commerce with Spain as destination for business trips undertaken by other countries. Both inside and outside the EU there are new formulae for the client to obtain a considerable saving when holding their meetings in Spain, providing the event is organised with the assistance of a DMC.


Let’s talk about your needs to organize your events and meetings in Spain.

Vat in the organization of events and MICE Tourism in Spain

What type of saving in the billing are we talking about?

In the particular case we are talking about we are dealing with the full range of services required by the organization of a business trip.

If we speak of clients who come from outside of Spain, in that case, the saving would be the full amount of VAT, meaning  the bill would be exempt from VAT. We are not speaking about intercommunal VAT, which has its own requisites when ordered by companies. (Intercommunal VAT is separate and is a purely administrative issue which your Administration department will be fully cognisant with). This is different. Here we are speaking about the VAT that disappears, the client does not have to pay it, so we are looking at a considerable saving of between 10 & 21%.

If the clients have their headquarters in Spain and are governed by Spanish law, the procedure would be somewhat different but with a similar result. In this case, 21% would be added to the bill for VAT (without distinguishing between the various types of VAT). This amount would be totally deductible, which means that although it has to be paid, the procedure is made quicker when rounded up in one sole bill. A saving of money and time.


But there is a trick to this, right?

Well, yes, it is focussed entirely on one kind of event. We have said we are speaking about the MICE sector but, for example, an Incentive could not benefit from this billing system. Neither those who accompany the delegates attending meetings. We shall clearly explain to what kind of events the Spanish Tax Agency is referring.

The type of event that can benefit from this system has been called SUCOE or Servicio Único Complejo de Organización de Eventos. It can be translated as A Single Bill that carries with it in this Unique Agreement all the complexities derived from the  organization of a business event which comprises mainly holding meetings plus all the complementary events entailed.  

Vat in the organization of events and MICE Tourism in Spain

SUCOE: one single invoice

We´ll explain a little more what can be considered a SUCOE in order to understand it better. When we hold a business event, whether meetings, congresses, product launches, we normally engage a wide number of services that together give rise to One Single Event. This means that  the bill, in spite of comprising various concepts has, as its principal concept the Total Organization of said meeting or presentation of a specific product or whatever. There are many services that we cannot separate or break down, they form part of the whole. The bill is for one sole complex concept composed of various items that make up the principal concept. 

For example, for a company from outside of Spain to hold a meeting in Spain, as well as the meeting room, they will require transfers, hotel, audiovisual services, restaurants, coffee breaks, hostesses.. to which can be added myriad complements depending on the needs of the company (translation, gifts to the delegates, communication, internet..). This whole service that is made up of many composite services is to be billed as One Principal Service. It does not matter what we call it providing we base it on the SUCOE concept. On the invoice we can mention everything that is included, but it is not compulsory and neither do the items have to be broken down. All these multiple services have to be clearly defined in the contract as part of that complete organization service used to provide the principal event. 

Which is why both the figure of the DMC is so important, without this figure there is no Single Bill, and the contract that reflects the objective of the trip and what it entails.


How do we benefit, then?

To summarise, to benefit from this system, as well as being crystal clear on the concept of the SUCOE, we have to take into consideration certain basic requisites:

  • There must be a series of services included in the bill that are specific to the organization of a business trip: hotels, restaurants, transfers, meeting room, audiovisual material, attendance….. It is not enough just to include, for example, a transfer and a show. This is not considered a basic service package for a business trip.
  • It is however a change to the model of the bill issued by the DMCs, which means it does not work at all if contact is made directly with the suppliers who offer the service. Everything has to go into one Single Bill.
  • It is based on a B2B relationship, which means, between companies. It does not work if the client being billed is a private person.
  • There must be a signed contract in which all the services are specified, as indicated above. This step is fundamental for the Spanish Tax Agency to accept billing under this special regime.


We hope you have found this article useful. You can also take a look at this other article about taxes in the organization of events that may interest you as well. If you would like further information please contact us, we shall be delighted to help you and advise you.

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