Last checked : 25/04/2018

Cross-border VAT

UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information

As of 30 March 2019, all EU law will cease to apply to the UK, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, or the European Council and the UK decide unanimously to extend the two-year negotiation period. For more information about the legal repercussions for businesses:

Special rules apply if you buy or sell goods/services from or to other countries. 

Goods

Countries within the EU

Selling to businesses

If you sell goods to another business and these goods are sent to another EU country, you do not charge VAT - if the customer has a valid VAT number.

You may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

If the customer does not have a valid VAT number, you must normally charge VAT on the sale at the rate applicable in your country.

Selling to consumers

If you sell goods and send them to consumers in another EU country, you need to register there and charge VAT at the rate applicable in that country - unless the total value of your sales to that country in the year falls below the limit set by the country (EUR 35 000 or EUR 100 000).

Choose country
  • Greecegr
  • Hungaryhu
  • Icelandis
  • Irelandieen
  • Italyitenit
  • Latvialv
  • Liechtensteinli
  • Lithuanialtenlt
  • Luxembourgludeenfr
  • Maltamtenmt
  • Netherlandsnlennl

* Information not yet provided by national authorities

If you are selling excise products or new means of transport (car, boat or aircraft), there are special rules.

Buying

If you buy and receive goods for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the goods yourself, at the applicable rate in your country.

Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

There are several important exceptions to these basic rules.

Countries outside the EU

Selling

If you sell goods to customers outside the EU, you do not charge VAT, though you may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

Buying

If you buy goods for the purposes of your business from a supplier based outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the point of import (and may deduct this in your next VAT return if you make taxed sales).

Services

Countries within the EU

Selling to businesses

You do not normally charge your customers VAT. Your customers will pay VAT on the services received at the applicable rate in their country (using the reverse charge procedure).

You may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to supply that service).

Selling to consumers

You must normally charge your customers VAT at the rate that applies in your country, except for telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services, which are always taxed in the country where the customer belongs (where a private person has a permanent address or usually resides or where a non-taxable person is established).

Buying

If you buy and receive services for business purposes from another EU country, you must account for the VAT on the transaction as if you had sold the services yourself, at the applicable rate in your country (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment).

Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

There are several important exceptions to these basic rules.

The VAT rules must be applied throughout the EU, although there are some territories belonging to or linked with member countries where, because of specific circumstances, the rules do not apply:

Special territories

  • The Åland Islands
  • The French Overseas Departmentsfr
  • The territory of Büsingen
  • The island of Heligoland
  • Mount Athos
  • Campione d'Italia
  • The Italian waters of Lake Lugano
  • Livigno
  • The Canary Islands
  • Ceuta
  • Melilla
  • The Channel Islands
  • Gibraltar

There are also places outside the EU where the EU VAT rules apply:

  • Monaco
  • Isle of Man
  • UK bases in Cyprus

Countries outside the EU

Selling

If you provide services to customers outside the EU, you normally do not charge VAT (but if the service is used in another EU country, that country can decide to levy the VAT), though you may still deduct the VAT you yourself have paid on your related expenses (goods/services bought in specifically to make those sales).

Buying for businesses

If you receive services for the purposes of your business from a supplier based outside the EU, you must generally pay VAT at the rate that applies in your country, as if you had supplied the service yourself (using the reverse charge procedure, a system of self-assessment).

Normally, you will later be able to deduct this amount.

Upcoming EU regulations

Public consultations

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

Local business support - Do you have questions on operating a business cross-border, for example exporting or expanding to another EU country? If so, the Enterprise Europe Network can give you free advice.

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