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VAT registration and online selling - EU business

When to register for VAT - EU business selling on Amazon UK, shipping directly from China to UK

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Hi All,

I have a client who is based in EU, sells on Amazon UK and ships to non-business customers directly from China. I am not sure when they need to register for VAT.

After looking through the HMRC guidance I could not find the rule which fits their case. E.g if the goods were warehoused in UK before shipping, they will be classifed as overseas seller and immidiate VAT registration will be required. If the goods were stored in EU before shipping, they will be a distance seller with 70k registration threshold. Does the threshold apply though if the goods are shipped direclty from outside EU (i.e China).

I called HMRC and not too confident advisor thought that it should fall under distance selling as the business is established in the EU. My interpretation is that the business does not need to register for VAT in UK irrespective of turnover and the Revenue will collect the VAT directly from customers as import vat when the goods are released from customs.

Is VAT registration needed and when?

Your input is much appreciated.

Nikolay

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