VAT: businesses that sell goods in the UK using online marketplaces

eBay-VAT
Learn what you must do to meet your UK VAT responsibilities if you sell goods in the UK on an online marketplace and are either:
  • a UK seller selling goods already in the UK at the point of sale to UK consumers
  • an overseas seller, or their UK VAT representative, who either:
    • sells goods already in the UK at the point of sale to UK consumers
    • is based outside the EU and sells goods to a UK consumer, and then imports them into the UK
    • sells goods located in another EU member state to UK consumers
There are different VAT rules for overseas sellers based in the EU who sell goods in the UK, that are not in the UK at the point of sale.

Overseas sellers

HMRC defines you as an overseas seller if you sell goods stored in the UK to UK consumers and do not have a business establishment in the UK.
You’ll be established in the country where the functions of your business’s central administration take place.
To work out where that is you should consider where:
  • essential management decisions are made
  • your registered office is located
  • management meetings take place
You’re also an overseas seller if you’re based outside the EU and sell goods to a UK consumer, then import them into the UK.

Online marketplaces

HMRC defines an online marketplace as a website (or any other means by which information is made available over the internet) that anyone (including the online marketplace operator) can use to offer goods for sale.
This applies even if the online marketplace:
  • is not established in the UK
  • sells its own goods over the internet
An online marketplace operator can be held liable:
  • for an online seller’s unpaid VAT
  • if an online seller does not meet its VAT requirements
You operate an online marketplace if you control access to it, or its contents.

VAT registration

You must register for VAT in the UK if you’re:
  • a UK seller selling goods as a business activity in the UK, and your business’s VAT taxable turnover is more than £85,000 a year
  • selling goods in the UK that are in another EU member state (known as ‘distance selling’) and your sales to UK consumers are more than £70,000 a year
  • an overseas seller selling goods as a business activity in the UK (there is no threshold)
Source: GOV.UK
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