I am an overseas seller selling directly to UK customers – do I need to register for VAT?

Lamont Pridmore - Accountants

Are you selling goods directly to UK customers after 1 January 2021? Follow this handy guide to help decide whether you need to register for VAT in the UK.

For further information, please get in touch with our expert team.

If you are selling to an individual

  • If the consignment is valued at more than £135, the UK customer must pay VAT and any customs duty. This means an EU-based seller can zero-rate the supply.
  • If the consignment is valued at less than £135, the seller must be registered for VAT in the UK and pay supply VAT to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This means the seller will collect UK VAT from the individual.

If you are selling to a business, charity, or partnership that is not registered for VAT

  • If the consignment is valued at more than £135, the non-registered business, charity, or partnership must pay VAT and any customs duty. This means an EU-based seller can zero-rate the supply.
  • If the consignment is valued at less than £135, the seller must be registered for VAT in the UK and pay supply VAT to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This means the seller will collect UK VAT from the business, charity, or partnership that is not registered for VAT.

If you are selling to a VAT-registered business

  • If the consignment is valued at more than £135 and the VAT-registered business is the importer, the VAT will be accounted for through a UK VAT return. Customs duty may also be payable by the importer.
  • If the consignment is valued at less than £135, the UK buyer must account for VAT through a UK VAT return. This means the seller can zero-rate the supply.

Exceptions

This guide excludes goods liable to excise VAT – such as beer, wine, spirits, cigarettes, and other tobacco products – as import VAT is due on these types of goods at any value. Consignments from Jersey and Guernsey may also be excluded if they are covered by the Import VAT Accounting Scheme.

Get expert help today

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our team today.

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