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VAT: Would you register an overseas business?

VAT Overseas business

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Received an enquiry via a really good client (probably top client) from an overseas (outside EU) person asking me to register them for VAT.

They sell on Amazon and this is an area HMRC are rightly clamping down on so there is no threshold for registration. Guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-overseas-businesses-using-an-online-mark...

What I didn't realise was the clause:

"If you’re the UK VAT representative of an overseas seller failing to meet their UK VAT requirements, HMRC can hold you jointly and severally liable for the VAT they owe from the date you become their representative."

So I'm obviously grabbing the nearest pole from a passing barge, but my question is how can HMRC insist on this - imagine if this extended to all VAT clients?

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Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
06th Feb 2018 13:48

You can register them for VAT without being their UK VAT representative. Of course, if they do not have a business establishment in the UK, they will probably need a UK VAT representative, which could be a limited company.

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By gerrysims
06th Feb 2018 13:48

But it doesn't extend to all VAT clients does it ? You would not only be registering them but effectively becoming their agent in UK.
Personally I couldn't have a long enough pole.

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Replying to gerrysims:
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
06th Feb 2018 13:54

Being their agent is not the same thing as being their nominated VAT representative.

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
RedFive
By RedFive
06th Feb 2018 13:59

And that's the crux of the issue for me.

I take what you say to be gospel but even as a PNL acolyte I'm struggling to read that in the descrition given - can you point me to legislation that defines the difference between acting as an agent and being a VAT representative?

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Replying to RedFive:
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
06th Feb 2018 14:07

VATA 1994, s 48

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
RedFive
By RedFive
06th Feb 2018 14:13

Thank you that is perfect bedtime reading for me. Every day is a school day.

I may not agree with your language at times, but boy do you know your onions.

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