HMRC issues guidance on online sales to UK customers
The UK tax authorities continue to increase control over online businesses.
UK tax authorities strict on online businesses
Under the new guidance, VAT liabilities of foreign taxpayers are extended to online marketplaces (eg. Ebay, Amazon and others) and to fiscal representatives of foreign businesses in the UK. Representatives and online platforms will be jointly and severally liable for the VAT obligations of the seller.
As a general rule, every business selling goods to registered businesses in the UK must charge VAT on these supplies. VAT should also be charged where the goods are stored in a UK warehouse and the customers are private individuals. For more information about distance sales, you can read our article VAT on drop-shipping.
Why are online sellers targeted by the tax authorities?
Online sales by non-EU business concentrate a large amount of unpaid VAT by non-compliant businesses. The UK tax authorities announced last April an increasing control on these activities. Besides this Guidance, we expect additional penalties and increased controls in the online industry following the consultation recently started by the UK authorities.
The new guidance was published last 16 September 2016 and is available in the website of HMRC.