Exporting and importing services

Overseas regulations and taxes when supplying services internationally


If you supply a service in a foreign country, you must comply with local regulations. For example, it might be illegal for you to provide legal or financial advice unless you have certain professional qualifications.

Before selling your service overseas, you may want to take action to protect your intellectual property there. Read more about international services and intellectual property.

Overseas travel

If self-employed individuals or employees are travelling overseas to work, they may need a visa and work permit. While they are in the country, they will be subject to local laws and taxes. To find out more, contact the embassy of the country concerned.

Overseas presence

Your business is more likely to be subject to local regulations if you have a permanent presence, such as a representative office.

Local employment regulations apply to any employees you have working overseas. Local regulations also apply to any agents or other local partners you work with.

You may be liable to overseas taxes on income from service exports if you receive the income in that country or have a presence there. Some countries also restrict your ability to repatriate income to the UK.

Overseas regulations and taxes can be a very complex area. Market research is a good starting point. If you are in any doubt, you should take advice from an accountant, lawyer or professional adviser with local expertise before committing yourself.