VAT guidance for overseas sellers

New simplified VAT guidance for overseas sellers has been published by HMRC. The guidance also includes a new translation into simplified Mandarin to help support Chinese retailers that sell goods online into the United Kingdom.

The guidance provides further information about the rules and obligations for overseas sellers that using online marketplaces and selling goods directly to UK consumers. This includes details of when and how VAT and import duties must be charged to customers by international sellers.

In 2022, the UK imported £83.3 billion in goods and services from China and Hong Kong. Online shopping accounted for 26.5% of all UK retail sales in 2022, with a substantial number of goods being bought from international sellers via online marketplaces.

Commenting on the publication of the simplified guidance, HMRC’s Director for Individuals and Small Business Compliance, said:

'We have acted on feedback from businesses to simplify and compile this online guidance into one, easily accessible place on GOV.UK. We have also recently published a simplified Mandarin translation of our guidance following research conducted with Chinese businesses.

By making our VAT and import duty rules easier to understand, we will be able to increase tax compliance levels for online sellers. We are asking UK freight, customs and shipping agents to help us reduce the tax gap by sharing this simplified guidance with their customers. By working together, we can help everyone pay the right amount of tax at the right time.'

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 02-04-2023