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New VAT Rules for sending merchandise to the UK started 1/1/21

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by R. Totale, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason Thread Starter

    The authoritative announcement is here

    Changes to VAT treatment of overseas goods sold to customers from 1 January 2021

    The TLDR version from an email I got on a bookselling LISTSERV

    <<The new arrangements will also involve the abolition of Low Value Consignment Relief, which relieves import VAT on consignments of goods valued at £15 or less.

    Online marketplaces (OMPs), where they are involved in facilitating the sale, will be responsible for collecting and accounting for the VAT.

    For goods sent from overseas and sold directly to UK consumers without OMP involvement, the overseas seller will be required to register and account for the VAT to HMRC.


    For most consignments not exceeding £135 in value, instead of VAT being collected at importation or delivery to the customer, VAT will be accounted for at the point of sale.

    For VAT purposes the supply will be treated as follows:

    • if an OMP is not involved in facilitating the sale, there will be a supply direct from the seller to the consumer, which will be deemed to take place in the UK and so liable to UK VAT
    • if an OMP is involved in facilitating the sale, they will be deemed, for VAT purposes, to be making the supply to the UK consumer, which will be deemed to take place in the UK with UK VAT chargeable accordingly
    In both instances the value of the goods for VAT purposes will be based on the price at which they are sold to the consumer rather than any valuation calculated at the point of importation.

    For goods that are located overseas at the point of sale, the new arrangements will apply irrespective of where the OMP or the business selling the goods is established.>>

    The upshot seems to be that if you sell a record from the US to the UK without the assistance of an online marketplace (eBay, Discogs, etc.) which handles taxation for you, you must calculate and collect the appropriate UK Value Added Tax at the point of sale - this will no longer be handled at Customs. You must then open an account with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) in the UK and file tax returns there to arrange to pay them the money. One US sole proprietor who inquired about this was told he would then need to file a yearly income tax return in the UK.

    The easy way out if you have an eBay or Discogs account is to make a special listing and refer the buyer to it, which of course entails paying them a commission which negates any possible price savings which may be passed on in a private sale.

    Gifts apparently are not subject to VAT.

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