United KingdomManual

The UK has a standard VAT rate and one reduced VAT rate. In addition, a number of items are zero rated

UK Reverse Charge

UK reverse charge for non-established companies

We refer to domestic reverse charge for non-established companies when we speak about supplies made by a foreign non-established company of goods that are located in the UK at the moment of the sale. We also refer to this reverse charge in case of a supply of services made by a foreign business when such supply is located in the UK according to special place of supply rules (e.g. services related to immoveable property, catering, or others).  

The UK has only introduced a domestic this reverse charge on supplies of services located in the UK.

Where a non-established supplier provides services to a UK business, it is not relevant if the supplier is registered or not.

  • Supplier requirements

    Not established in the UK

    (irrelevant if the supplier is registered or not for VAT)

  • Customer requirements
    VAT registered in the UK
  • Scope
    Supplies of services located in the UK

More information about the scope and VAT treatment of this reverse charge can be found in the online materials published by HMRC.

In case the services supplied by a non-established supplier fall within the scope of construction services as defined by HMRC, you should look at reverse charge on construction services. Special rules apply for this type of reverse charge.

Reverse charge on B2B services in UK

UK businesses receiving services from a non-UK supplier will normally account for VAT under the reverse charge mechanism.

As long as a) the place of supply is the UK, b) the supplier is established outside the UK, c) the client is a UK VAT registered company and the supply is not exempt, reverse charge will apply on these purchases of services.

Among these exceptions, a) place of supply in the UK is often the most controversial.

There are however scenarios in which the place of supply will not be the UK even if a non-UK supplier is supplying services to a UK business client. We refer to these scenarios as exceptions to the general B2B rule, and they include:

  • Services connected to immoveable property are located where the property is located.
  • Passenger transport services will be located where the transport takes places (apportioned if necessary).
  • Catering services are located where the catering takes place.
  • Short term leasing of means of transport are located where the vehicle put at the disposal of the customer.
  • Access to conferences, fairs and exhibitions is located where the event takes place.

More information on the general B2B rule is available in the online information published by HMRC.

You can find more information about reverse charge on services from abroad in this notice published by HMRC.

UK reverse charge on specific goods

Domestic reverse charge may also apply on certain goods and services in the UK. The conditions and scope change for each type of goods. This regime is often introduced on products that are likely to be used for carousel fraud purposes.

This type of reverse charge applies to mobile phones, computer chips, gas and electricity and emission allowances. In all cases, the customer must be VAT registered in the UK. It does not matter if the supplier is VAT registered or not. There are further conditions about the scope for each kind of supply:

  • Mobile phones: This includes accessories sold as a package and any device used as a mobile phone. For more information about the definition, please see notice 735. There is a de minimis threshold of £5,000 for reverse charge on mobile phones to apply. This limit is calculated on an invoice basis and once exceeded, the reverse charge amount is the full invoice amount (the first £5,000 are not excluded).
  • Computer chips: This includes all computer chips falling in the commodity code: 8542 3190 00. This excludes laptops, desktops, servers and similar units.
  • Gas and electricity: This applies to wholesale supplies of gas and electricity between counterparties based in the UK. More information about the scope is available in section 3.4. of Notice 735.
  • Emission allowances: This refers to those compliance market credits which can be used to meet obligations under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS).
  • Telecommunications services: reverse charge applies to domestic supplies of telecommunications services, including satellite services between counterparties established in the UK.
  • Construction services: reverse charge applies on most supplies of construction services in the UK. The conditions, scope, and way of accounting for VAT are explained in the notice published by HMRC about reverse charge in construction services. Reverse charge on construction services does not apply if the client is considered an end user. A business is considered an end user when it receives construction services but does not make an onward supply of such services. Non-established entities should evaluate if they fall within the category of end users.

Reverse charge on construction services in the UK is linked to Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), a type of withholding tax applicable in the UK. Businesses receiving and providing construction services should evaluate their CIS obligations in addition to the scope of reverse charge for VAT purposes.

Regarding your invoices, they should comply with all UK invoice requirements. VAT will not be charged on the invoice. Instead, a reference to reverse charge should be stated. The following legend is suggested by HMRC:

Customer to account to HMRC for the reverse charge output tax on the VAT exclusive price of items marked reverse charge.

UK use and enjoyment rules

Use and enjoyment rules can deviate the place of supply rules according to the country where the service is effectively consumed. This article explains the meaning and scenarios on which use and enjoyment rules apply.

The UK introduced positive and negative use and enjoyment. That is, when certain services are delivered by a UK business but consumed outside of the UK, the place of supply would be deemed to be outside the UK (positive use and enjoyment). Similarly, when services are supplied by a UK business and consumed in the UK, those services are deemed to be located in the UK (negative use and enjoyment). 

The following services are in scope: telecommunication services, broadcasting services, electronically supplied services (to business customers), hired goods and hired means of transport (both B2B and B2C), and repairs to goods under an insurance claim (B2B).

Reverse Charge Sales Listing (RCSL) in the UK

With effect from 1 July 2022, if you make supplies of mobile phones or computer chips, you are no longer required to notify HMRC and submit a regular Reverse Charge Sales List (RCSL) using the RCSL system.

Up until 30 June 2022, the UK authorities required a specific return to be filed by businesses supplying mobile phones or computer chips that are subject to domestic reverse charge on specific goods. In consequence, June 2022 is the last reporting period that needs to be reported under Reverse Charge Sales Listing.

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