Check how to report and pay VAT on distance sales of goods from Northern Ireland to the EU
Last updated 25 March 2022
If you sell goods from Northern Ireland to consumers in the EU and go above the distance selling threshold, you’ll need to pay VAT on these sales in the country the goods are sent to. This could mean you’ll have to register for VAT in up to 27 EU countries.
Distance selling is when a business in Northern Ireland or an EU country, supplies and delivers (or facilitates the delivery of) goods across an EU border, to a customer who is not registered for VAT.
You can choose to use the One Stop Shop (OSS) Union scheme to manage the VAT on your distance sales of goods from Northern Ireland to the EU all in one place.
If you do not choose to use the OSS Union scheme, you’ll have to register for VAT in each EU country you make distance sales of goods.
If you sell goods from Northern Ireland to VAT registered businesses in the EU, find out about trading and moving goods in and out of Northern Ireland.
The OSS scheme
To use the scheme, you should:
- Check you can apply for the scheme.
- Find out what records you need to keep.
- Register for the scheme.
- Complete your return.
- Find out how you will submit your return and make a payment.
Who can apply
To apply to use this scheme your business must:
- sell goods from Northern Ireland to consumers in the EU under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol
- be registered for UK VAT
- sell goods worth more than £8,818 (10,000 euros) a year to consumers in the EU
If your business turnover is below the UK VAT registration threshold
If you’re in business but your taxable turnover is below the UK VAT registration threshold, you’ll need to:
- register for UK VAT before you can register for the OSS Union scheme
- choose ‘63990 Distance sales of goods (below UK VAT threshold) for OSS purposes’ to select your business activity when registering for VAT
If you register for UK VAT so that you can use the OSS Union scheme, you will not need to account for VAT on domestic sales until you become liable under the normal rules.
If you supply digital services to consumers in the EU
Find out the VAT rules for supplies of digital services to consumers.
The records you must keep
For each sale, you must keep records of:
- the EU country where you made the sales — known as the EU country of consumption
- the date you supplied the goods
- the taxable amount, including the currency used
- any increase or decrease of the taxable amount
- the VAT rate you applied
- the amount of VAT due and the currency used
- payments your business received — the dates and amounts
- any payments on account your business received for goods before you supplied them
- the information shown on any invoices you issued
- your consumers’ names — where known
- the information you used to work out where a consumer is based
You must keep records of all eligible OSS sales for 10 years and be able to send these records to HMRC electronically if asked using the OSS Standard Audit File (SAF-OSS).
OSS quick reference guide
The Department for the Economy has produced a quick reference guide for Northern Ireland business on the OSS scheme. You can download the information in two formats: