Tool

VAT rules when selling internationally (tool)

When selling internationally there are different VAT rules depending on whether you are buying or selling goods or services within or outside the EU.

These rules also apply to businesses selling online. It is important to note that in addition to a UK VAT charge you may also have a VAT obligation in the country of sale.

Our simple tool enables you to determine the VAT rules depending on your circumstances:


Selling goods outside the EU

You can zero-rate most goods you sell to non-EU countries, but you must:

  • get evidence that the goods have left the EU
  • keep a record of the export in your VAT account

Further guidance on exporting goods outside the EU and VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Selling goods to businesses (B2B) within the EU

If you sell goods to another business and these goods are sent to another EU country, you do not charge VAT - if the customer has a valid VAT number. Check if your customer has a VAT number. You may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

Example: If you sell goods to a company in Spain who provide you with a VAT number under which it is identified in the UK, you do not charge VAT on those goods.

If the customer does not have a valid VAT number, you must normally charge VAT on the sale at the rate applicable in your country.

Example: If you sell goods to a company in Spain who do not provide you with a VAT number, you will have to charge VAT on the goods at the rate applicable in your country.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Selling goods outside the EU

You can zero-rate most goods you sell to non-EU countries, but you must:

  • get evidence that the goods have left the EU
  • keep a record of the export in your VAT account

Further guidance on exporting goods outside the EU and VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Selling goods to businesses (B2C) within the EU

If you sell goods and send them to consumers in another EU country, you need to register there and charge VAT at the rate applicable in that country - unless the total value of your sales to that country in the year falls below the threshold set by the country.

Example 1 – threshold exceeded: A UK company is selling CDs via the internet to private customers throughout the EU. When CDs are sold to customers in Denmark, Danish VAT must be charged when the Danish threshold is exceeded while Dutch VAT must be charged to customers in the Netherlands when the Dutch threshold is exceeded.

Example 2 – below threshold: If the annual sales by the UK company (above) to customers in Belgium do not exceed the Belgian threshold, the CDs will be taxed in the UK.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Selling services outside the EU

If you provide services to customers outside the EU, you normally do not charge VAT (but if the service is used in another EU country, that country can decide to levy the VAT), though you may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

For further information see 'services' section on cross-border VAT


Selling services to businesses (B2B) within the EU

The supply of services between businesses (B2B services) is in principle taxed at the customer’s place of establishment.

Example: For accountancy services supplied by a UK company to a business customer with his place of business in Austria, Austrian VAT must be charged. If the UK supplier is not established in Austria, the Austrian customer will account for VAT under the reverse charge mechanism.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Selling services outside the EU

If you provide services to customers outside the EU, you normally do not charge VAT (but if the service is used in another EU country, that country can decide to levy the VAT), though you may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

For further information see 'services' section on cross-border VAT


Selling services to consumers (B2C) within the EU

You must normally charge your customers VAT at the rate that applies in your country.

Example: For consultancy services provided by a supplier established in the UK to a private customer who resides in Denmark, UK VAT must be charged.

The exception to this is when telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services are supplied, which are always taxed in the country where the customer belongs (where a private person has a permanent address or usually resides or where a non-taxable person is established).

Example: A French private customer with a UK telecoms operator using his mobile phone in France will be charged French VAT. When using his mobile phone during his holidays in Greece, Greek VAT will be charged for the calls made from Greece.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying goods outside the EU

If you buy goods for the purpose of your business from a supplier outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the point of import (and may deduct this in your next VAT return if you make taxed sales).

For further information see cross-border VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying goods within the EU

If you buy and receive goods for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the goods yourself, at the applicable rate in your country. Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying goods outside the EU

If you buy goods for the purpose of your business from a supplier outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the point of import (and may deduct this in your next VAT return if you make taxed sales).

For further information see cross-border VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying goods within the EU

If you buy and receive goods for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the goods yourself, at the applicable rate in your country. Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying services outside the EU

If you receive services for the purposes of your business from a supplier based outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the rate that applies in your country, as if you had supplied the service yourself (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment). Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

For further information see 'services' section on cross-border VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying services within the EU

If you buy and receive services for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the services yourself, at the applicable rate in your country (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment). Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying services outside the EU

If you receive services for the purposes of your business from a supplier based outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the rate that applies in your country, as if you had supplied the service yourself (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment). Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

For further information see 'services' section on cross-border VAT

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.


Buying services within the EU

If you buy and receive services for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the services yourself, at the applicable rate in your country (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment). Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

Please note: there are several important exceptions to these basic rules.