Register for VAT in the United Kingdom

Are you supplying, or looking to supply goods to the UK? If your business was not established in the country, you will likely be affected by the EU VAT (Value Added Tax) directive. Whether you are inside or outside the EU, you are likely to have to register for non-resident VAT.

Note that while the Brexit process is still underway, the UK remains a member of the EU. This means it will still retain all obligations to the EU, including its rules on VAT and Intrastat.

Do I need to register for VAT in the UK?

The circumstances in which you will have to register for UK VAT include:

  • Buying and selling goods or services in the UK
  • Selling and shipping goods contained in the UK to buyers outside of the UK
  • Importing goods to the UK from inside the EU
  • Storing goods or other physical property in the UK
  • Selling online goods or services to buyers in the UK*
  • Holding events in the UK with paid admission

* when exceeding Distance Selling thresholds

If your business is currently or potentially affected by any of these factors, you are legally required to appoint a tax representative to register for VAT on your behalf. Contact us for a free consultation on your business’s unique VAT requirements.

What are the VAT rates in the UK?

The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%. A 0% or 5% rate of reduced VAT applies to certain products based on specific criteria.

What are the VAT return periods in the UK?

VAT returns must be submitted monthly, quarterly or yearly, depending on certain conditions. Returns must be submitted before the 7th day of the second month following the tax period.

The UK does not require that you submit an annual summarising return.

What is the Distance Selling threshold in the UK?

The distance selling threshold, which determines whether you need to pay VAT for sales to UK customers, is GBP 70,000.

What is the Intrastat threshold in the UK?

The Intrastat threshold, which affects the movement of goods between the UK and another EU state, is GBP 1,500,00 for arrivals and GBP 250,000 for dispatches.

What if I sell goods on Amazon?

Many online sellers who are trading via Amazon make use of their Fulilment By Amazon (FBA) service. In order to trade faster and easier across Europe, companies use Amazon to store, pick, pack and deliver your products to the buyer’s local address.

Even though you may think that you’re making sales from you’re home country, Amazon holds the goods locally and the product would therefore be considered as a local sale, and subsequently liable for VAT.

VAT is the responsibility of the seller, not Amazon, and you can face heavy fines for not registering and/or paying VAT.