EU Sales of Goods

I have just picked up an order for a customer based in Germany. Do I need to do anything differently with the VAT invoice I issue them?  

1st June 2012

There are a number of differences, such as:

  • You must show the VAT and net values (for each rate of VAT) of the invoice in sterling; even if you are also showing the native currency as well
  • You must ask the customer if they are registered for VAT in their country, and if they are, obtain their VAT number
  • If they are VAT registered, then you may zero-rate the sale; i.e. the VAT rate you show on the invoice is 0%, provided that:
    • The goods are sent outside of the UK to another EU country
    • You can prove the goods have been sent outside of the UK to another EU country with supporting documents
    • You have dispatched the goods (and have evidence of this) within a specified time frame- which is normally three months
  • If they are not VAT registered, then raise the invoice as if it were to any normal UK-based customer

Please note, the above list is merely a brief summary and is not exhaustive. Dealing with foreign sales and purchases can be a complex area and I would encourage you to seek the advice of your local TaxAssist Accountant.

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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