Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world. This is delivered through various “projects and chapters” within the not-for-profit Wikimedia foundation. The most well-known of these is Wikipedia, the free access, free content Internet encyclopaedia.


Providing VAT advice to the world's information provider

During 2014, the foundation hosted Wikimania in London. Wikimania is an annual conference attended by over 1,500 people and spread over five days. The conference (considered part festival, meet up, workshop, hackathon and celebration) was based at the Barbican Centre and welcomed experts and enthusiasts in the Wiki movement.

In hosting such an event there were obligations on the foundation to register for VAT. Being a US based not-for-profit organisation, VAT is not something that the team at Wikimedia were familiar with. As such, they approached Blick Rothenberg to assist them with the registration, compliance and subsequent deregistration process that was required. This allowed both VAT to be charged as appropriate to attendees and for VAT on costs to be reclaimed. Most importantly, it allowed the foundation to remain compliant with local UK regulations.

Ellie Young, conference co-ordinator for the Wikimedia foundation, commented that “Being able to rely on a company with such international experience alongside their clear technical expertise was invaluable. Blick Rothenberg guided us through the whole process, minimising the time that we had to spend and allowing us to focus on running an event that was appreciated by so many attendees. I’m not sure how we would have made it through the process without them.”

Working with the likes of the Wikimedia foundation builds upon Blick Rothenberg’s long experience of assisting overseas owned entities with VAT compliance and advisory matters. We have specialist staff at partner, senior manager and manager level dedicated to assisting with VAT matters such as UK compliance, co-ordinating European VAT registrations or assisting in cross border VAT reclaims.

It is important that VAT advice is not only technically correct but is provided with commercial considerations in mind and, importantly, is timely. Errors, or indeed oversights, when caused by the unknown, can lead to both increased penalties and, often more significantly, increased professional and management time being required.

Blick Rothenberg aim to reduce this burden on management time in particular in order that clients can focus on their business.

For more information, please contact partner Simon Gleeson at