VAT treatment of intermediaries and agents
Produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd
VAT treatment of intermediaries and agents

The following Tax guidance note Produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • VAT treatment of intermediaries and agents
  • Disputes over agency status
  • Disclosed or undisclosed?
  • Disclosed agents—place of supply rules for intermediary services
  • Disclosed agents—zero-rating exported intermediary services
  • Undisclosed agents
  • Disbursements

Brexit: This Practice Note contains information on subjects impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, and regulations made under that Act, set up a new customs and VAT regime for the UK, to apply once the UK has left the EU. The operative provisions of the Act do not take effect until the implementation period provided for in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 comes to an end. For more information, see News Analyses: Post-Brexit customs regime—the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 and EU Withdrawal Agreement and VAT. For more information on the withdrawal agreement and Brexit see Practice Note: Brexit—introduction to the Withdrawal Agreement and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources. For more on tax and Brexit, see Practice Note: Brexit—UK tax consequences.

For VAT purposes, an intermediary is a person who makes arrangements for, or facilitates, a supply (the main, or underlying, supply) between two other people. An intermediary may also be referred to as an agent, or broker, or (mainly in an EU context) commissionaire.

HMRC describes an agent as someone who arranges supplies of goods or services between the agent's customer (the principal) and a third party by:

  1. obtaining goods or services for the principal (ie as a buying agent), or

  2. finding customers for the