R. M. Rahim & Co.

Exports and VAT: A Quick Guide

Woman with success the exporting business or online sales.

Exports and VAT: A Quick Guide

Exporting to an EU country to someone who is VAT-registered

You zero-rate VAT on goods exported to VAT-registered people within the EU. (If any VAT is due in the destination country, the recipient pays it there.)

 Keeping records if you’re dispatching to someone VAT-registered in their destination country:

 -You have to show their VAT-registration number (including two letter country code) on your sales invoice.

-Show prices on invoices in the foreign currency and in sterling.

-You have to get the paperwork proving the goods have left the UK, known as ‘evidence of removal’, within three months of the sale.

 Keep any and all of the following:

 -Customer orders

-Sales invoices

-Invoices from the companies who actually did the removal (shipping, couriers, etc)

-List of what was packed

-All correspondence with the customer

-Relevant bank statements

-Paperwork proving the document arrived in the destination country

 Documents should show:

 -your business’ name

-your customer’s name

-what the goods are

-how much they’re worth

-the destination address

-the method of transport (courier, post, etc)

-If you send goods by post: fill out a form C&E 132 or get a certificate of posting (or, if you use Royal Mail Parcel Force, you’ll get a pack with all the documents you need).

-If you send goods by courier: your airways bill number or customer dispatch pack receipts are sufficient as evidence of removal.

 You have to keep all paperwork for six years.

 Reporting your exports to HMRC:

 -You must report your EU sales and the VAT charged to HMRC using:

-Your VAT return (Boxes 6 and 8)

-Your EC Sales List (ESL) – you get sent this automatically after ticking Box 8 of your VAT return

-If you sell more than £260,000 of goods to EU countries in a year, you must also fill out the Intrastat Supplementary Declaration

Exporting to an EU country to someone who is not VAT-registered

This is called distance selling. You need to charge VAT at the same rates as you would if you were selling in the UK. You follow the same process as if you were selling to someone in the UK, including the VAT on the invoice. Put prices on the invoice in sterling and the foreign currency.

 You only need to register for VAT in that country if:

 -You exceed a certain threshold of sales in one country (different for each EU country).

-You are distance selling goods on which excise duty is due (such as alcohol or tobacco) if you are delivering the goods.

-If goods on which excise duty is due are for personal use.

-(If the customer is collecting goods on which excise duty is due, you don’t need to register and you just zero rate them as normal.)

 If you have charged VAT on a sale, you need to report it to HMRC by:

 -Including the sale in Box 1 and Box 6 on your VAT return.

-You do not need to record it on a EC Sales List (ESL).

-If you have sold more than £260,000 of goods to EU countries in a year, you must fill out the Intrastat Supplementary Declaration (find out more in Resources, below)

Exporting to countries outside the EU

HMRC uses the term ‘exports’ to mean exporting goods to countries outside the EU. As VAT is only a Europe-wide thing, you zero-rate goods going outside the EU.

However you have to make sure you have documentation to prove:

-The sale happened

-The shipment happened (if you don’t get this, you’ll have to account for the goods on your VAT return)

-You also have to make sure the goods leave the EU within, in most cases, three months.

-If they’re being transported by road through other EU countries, you need to get documentation proving they have left the EU (or else you can’t zero-rate the sale).

 Recording exports to countries outside the EU:

 -Put sales in Box 6 of your VAT return

-Keep copies of invoices and the documentation listed above proving export

As always if there is anything further that we can help you with or  you want discuss this with us feel free to call us.

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