Distance selling

My VAT registered business is selling goods by mail order and I have just dispatched some goods to an individual in France who is not VAT registered. Should I be charging VAT on these goods?

1st February 2011

When you sell to non VAT registered individuals in EU countries this is known as distance selling and the sale is treated as if it has taken place in the UK.  Therefore you must charge VAT at the applicable UK VAT rate and enter the details in Box 1 and Box 6 of your return as normal. 

If however the level of your sales to any one EU country exceeds a certain limit then you must register for VAT in that country.  This limit is known as the distance selling threshold.  Each EU country sets its own threshold which can be €35,000 or €100,000 per year (or the country’s currency equivalent if not using Euro’s).  Once a UK business registers for VAT in an EU country then all the sales made to individuals there will be subject to the VAT rate applicable in that country instead of the UK.  

If you are unsure of whether you have exceeded the distance selling threshold, please speak to your local TaxAssist Accountant for more information.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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