Place of supply of goods

Produced by Tolley
Place of supply of goods

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

  • Place of supply of goods
  • Why does the place of supply of goods matter?
  • What is the place of supply of goods?
  • Goods never leaving the UK
  • Goods leaving the UK but re-entering in the course of transport
  • Goods never entering the UK
  • Goods leaving the UK
  • Goods arriving in the UK
  • What are installed and assembled goods?
  • How do the rules impact complex chain transactions?
  • More...

This guidance note looks at the place of supply of goods for VAT purposes.

For importing goods from outside the UK generally, see the Imports ― overview (rules from 1 January 2021) guidance note and for an overview of selling goods outside the UK, see the Exporting goods from 1 January 2021 ― overview guidance note. For Northern Ireland, see the Northern Ireland ― overview guidance note.

In-depth commentary on the legislation and case law on the place of supply of goods can be found in De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.170.

Why does the place of supply of goods matter?

One of the conditions that must be met in order for a supply of goods to come within the scope of UK VAT is that it is made in the UK. This makes it really important to establish where goods that move internationally are to be treated as supplied for VAT purposes.

Where it is established that the place of supply of goods is the UK, a business can then consider what the VAT liability of that supply is. The default position for domestic supplies is that they will be chargeable to VAT at the standard rate, but there are exceptions to this and certain types of supply will be relieved from VAT. In the context of international supplies, exports are a key example. The place of supply of exports may be the UK, but they are broadly zero-rated for VAT purposes, which means that VAT will not generally be chargeable. The zero-rating of exports is covered generally in the Exporting goods from 1 January 2021 ― overview guidance note.

What is the place of supply of goods?

Supplies of goods can be conveniently divided into the following broad categories:

  1. goods never leaving the UK

  2. goods leaving the UK but re-enteri

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