Overseas business ― registering for VAT in the UK

Produced by Tolley

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

  • Overseas business ― registering for VAT in the UK
  • Overseas trader definition
  • Business establishment
  • Abolition of UK VAT registration threshold
  • Overseas trader registering
  • Compulsory registration
  • Voluntary registration
  • Representative office
  • Registering for the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) (until 1 January 2021)
  • VAT registering
  • More...

Overseas business ― registering for VAT in the UK

Overseas trader definition

An overseas trader, also known as a non-established taxable person (NETP), may be considered to be any person who:

  1. is not normally resident in the UK

  2. does not have a ‘business establishment’ in the UK

  3. a company which is not incorporated in the UK

HMRC Notice 700/1; VATREG37000; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V2.157

Business establishment

Please see the Place of supply of services ― the general rule, relevant business persons and belongingguidance note for details on what constitutes an establishment for VAT purposes.

Abolition of UK VAT registration threshold

There is noVAT registration threshold for non-UK established businesses and they are required to VAT register as soon as they start to make supplies within the UK that are liable to UK VAT.

Overseas trader registering

The following section provides an overview of the types of situations where an overseas trader can VAT register in the UK.

Compulsory registration

An overseas trader must be registered for VAT in the UK in the following circumstances:

  1. they make any or expects to make any taxable supplies of goods and services in the UK in the course of business. This does not include supplies of goods or services where the customer is required to account for any VAT due or exempt supplies as these do not result in a requirement to register for UK VAT.

    Overseas businesses that supply services to UK customers who are private / non-business (B2C) may need to be registered if the place of supply of those services is the UK. This would include services directly related to land situated in the UK, admission to events and entertainment / performance services undertaken in the UK. Please see the Place of supply of services ― hiring goods and means of transport, Place of supply of services ― services supplied where performed and Services relating to land and property (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance notes for more information.

  2. Prior to 1

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