1 July 2021 was the implementation date for the changes coming in under the EU’s scheme for Modernising VAT for Cross-Border E-Commerce. The changes are designed to simplify VAT obligations for businesses making cross-border supplies of goods and services.
The measures being implemented affect supplies of goods and services to EU consumers and these are summarised below. The measures concerning goods affects supplies of goods from stocks held by businesses within Great Britain and stocks held within Northern Ireland differently, as supplies of goods (but not services) fall within the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Low value consignment relief has ceased
The VAT exemption for goods in small consignments with a value of up to €22 has been abolished. Unless falling within import VAT relief schemes, such as temporary importation relief, VAT will be due at the applicable local rate on all imports into the EU. This means that when you send goods into Europe your customer will be responsible for import VAT, regardless of the value of the consignment. Your terms and conditions should be clear for customers to ensure that they know they will be responsible for paying the VAT before the courier will release the goods to them.
If you want to take responsibility for paying the import VAT you will need to register in the destination country. For low value deliveries there is a new measure available where you will only need to register in one country: the IOSS.
The non-mandatory Import One Stop Shop scheme (IOSS) begins.
This is a simplification open to non-EU established businesses supplying goods to non-VAT registered EU consumers with a consignment value of €150 or less. Businesses using the scheme must VAT register in one Member State (MS), using a local intermediary, and submit a local VAT return for that MS and a one stop shop return for all other MSs, declaring and paying over VAT at the applicable local rate. Where the goods are supplied via an online marketplace, the marketplace is responsible for accounting for the local VAT via their own one stop shop registration. Goods on which VAT is accounted for under IOSS benefit from a VAT exemption upon importation, allowing faster customs processing.
The IOSS scheme is not mandatory, it is a simplification. As mentioned above for sales outside the scheme, there are two options: –
The Non-Union OSS Scheme
This applies to non-EU established businesses supplying services to EU consumers and has been extended to cover all B2C services where the place of supply is the EU (previously only certain telecoms and electronic services were covered). The rules do not apply to services supplied to businesses.
When you sell a service to a consumer the default rule is that the place of supply (and the liability to VAT) is where the you as the supplier belong, but there are a few types of service where this is reversed to where the customer belongs.
This simplification allows a Non-Union OSS registration to be used to account for VAT on supplies such as those listed below without the need to VAT register in each member state.
Other Things to Remember
The above points are changes recently made by the EU, but it is also useful to remember the following:
Sales of Goods outside the UK
When you are selling goods that are physically located in the UK to an overseas customer then UK VAT is chargeable, unless you have the relevant evidence of removal of those goods from the UK. Where you have that evidence then you can charge 0% VAT on the sale - this is an export. The rules on exports apply to EU countries as well as non-EU. The rules also apply regardless of whether the customer is a consumer or a business.
Sales of Services to Businesses
Unless modified by the special rules (as detailed above) when a service is sold to a business then the place where VAT is charged is where the customer belongs. The customer will then account for the VAT in their local VAT return. Remember that this applies in the UK where you buy a service from a non-UK business.
Comprehensive guidance can be found on the European Commission Website at -
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