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Splitting a business for vat on an Ecommerce store

Is it possible to make a new business for each e commerce store

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I have a VAT registered LTD company that I run with my business partner (we are both directors).  Our business runs ecommerce stores based on the dropshipping business model. Our company has 4 stores, 3 of them are inactive now, but one is performing well and has £85k+ turnover.  Our inital plan was to have all the stores registered under the same company.

A big part of dropshipping is testing stores with a small ad budget in order to find a product that looks promising and then scaling that store.  We are currently looking to start testing new products in different stores, however because we are now VAT registered, we must charge VAT straight away on any new stores, which makes the testing phase a lot more challenging.

Would it be possible for each store to be registered under their own ltd company, so that each store would only charge customers VAT once they hit the turnover threshold? The only links in the company would be the same 2 directors.

Or, would it be possible to have one non VAT registered company, where we would test new stores, and then sell or transfer the store to its own separate ltd company once it shows scaling promise and the ability to do 85k+ turnover?

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By lionofludesch
08th Apr 2020 06:27

Too big a risk for me. Highly aggressive tax planning and a potential huge VAT bill a couple of years down the line.

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By paul.benny
08th Apr 2020 09:30

1) The compliance and other costs of additional entities may well outweigh savings you make from not having to account for VAT on the goods you're selling as a trial.

2) If the trial stores are successful, you'll have to account for VAT - so selling at VAT-inclusive prices should be part of the trial.

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28th May 2020 10:32

HMRC has rules on business splitting to stay under the VAT threshold, it has thought of that one before you were born.

The only way it can be done legitimately, is where are there separate businesses. That means: different website, separate advertising, separate assets, separate databases, separate logics, seperate expenses etc etc. There is no way it would work if you had one website for them all, or used the same systems.

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