Exporting goods to non-EU countries (until 31 December 2020)

Produced by Tolley
Exporting goods to non-EU countries (until 31 December 2020)

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Exporting goods to non-EU countries (until 31 December 2020)
  • What are exports?
  • Types of exports
  • Direct exports
  • Indirect exports
  • Supplies to overseas customers with UK establishments
  • Conditions that need to be satisfied to zero rate exported goods
  • Proof of export
  • Official evidence
  • Commercial transport evidence
  • More...

It is important for businesses selling goods to overseas customers to determine whether the goods will be transported to an EU or non-EU country at the time of the sale. See the EU member states ― VAT compliance information (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance note for a full list of the relevant EU member states. This guidance note deals with goods that are exported to non-EU countries. Please see the Supplies of goods within the EU (until 31 December 2020) guidance note for information on the VAT treatment of transactions within the EU.

What are exports?

Exports are deliveries of goods to non-EU countries and, providing certain conditions are met, the export will be zero-rated for VAT purposes. As a result, no UK VAT will be due on the exported goods.

An ‘exporter’ can zero rate the physical export of goods to a non-EU country providing the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. the exporter supplies or owns goods and exports, or arranges for them to be exported to a destination outside the EU (direct export)

  2. the exporter supplies goods to an overseas person who arranges for the goods to be exported to a destination outside the EU (indirect export). An overseas person or company who is not resident in the UK or has no business establishment in the UK from which taxable supplies are made, or is an overseas authority

The business can sell to a customer located in another EU member state and this will be treated as an export if the goods are delivered to a non-EU country. The UK business must obtain acceptable documentary evidence that the goods were exported to a destination outside of the EU.

It is very important for businesses to understand that if they do not meet the conditions outlined above the sale cannot be zero-rated and UK VAT should be charged on the sale.

See Example 1, Example 2 and Example 3.

In order to determine whether the sale can

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