Frequently Asked Questions
We ship goods from the UK to customers based in different EU countries. Do I have to charge UK VAT or the VAT rate of the country I am sending the goods to? Can our sales be VAT zero rated? VAT rules are so complicated…
You are right. European VAT regulations are not easy to understand nor to apply. The correct VAT treatment will actually differ according to whether your clients are VAT registered businesses or private consumers.
Your sales may be VAT zero rated if your clients are registered for VAT in the countries of destination, but the conditions for VAT exemption are very strict. We of course are available to discuss this with you.
- Can I recover the VAT charged by my suppliers?
VAT is supposed to be neutral for businesses. It is more than likely that VAT charged by your suppliers will be refundable. We can study your supplier invoices and confirm with you in a short amount of time whether you will be able to claim a VAT refund.
- How can I recover VAT paid on goods that I have imported?
If your company is based in the UK, import VAT is refundable through HMRC. We can assist you with this if necessary.
- What are the tax returns that need to be filed in each country?
If your company sells goods locally to some EU countries (for example from a local warehouse), you may have to submit local VAT returns as well as possible other specific forms (other local taxes, levies on certain kinds of goods, WEEE, …). It is therefore very important to identify these countries and to analyse your flows of goods in order to fully answer this question.
- Do I have to file Intrastat returns?
Intrastat returns must be filed if your company ships goods from and to countries within the European Union and if local thresholds are exceeded. These thresholds are different in all EU countries. We can assist you should you need help analysing if this is necessary for your company.
- How to be sure that my invoices are compliant with local rules?
The only thing to do is to refer to the local invoice rules of the country. Some countries impose the obligation to indicate very specific statements on invoices. Simply inform us of the countries in which your company has been carryout business transactions and we will indicate which statements must be mentioned on your invoices.
- Which VAT rate to apply?
If your operations are subject to local VAT, it is important to apply the right VAT rate in order to avoid penalties. For some categories of goods, reduced or super reduced rates can apply. The goods concerned by these reduces rates are mainly food, beverages, energy, … It is therefore very important to be sure that your goods may benefit from reduced VAT rates.
- Can I have a stock in Europe?
Of course your company can hold a stock in Europe. Please however note that storing goods in EU Member States obliges you to respect local VAT regulations and possibly a local VAT registration.
- Can I appoint a fiscal representative or a tax agent?
You can appoint a tax agent in the countries where your company has business transactions. Please however ensure that the service provider you choose has the necessary knowledge and experience needed in cross border VAT. Always ask to receive written answers to your questions and check their financial statements.