How to pay VAT when exporting to EU countries

Under EU law, indirect taxes such as VAT, are broadly harmonised at EU level.

However, there may be different VAT regulations across the 27 EU member states as they are able to apply VAT rules within the parameters of the EU VAT directive (Council Directive 2006/112/EC). ​

Businesses exporting to the EU from GB should ensure they are aware of the importing requirements, as these may differ across individual EU member states.

Do I need to register for VAT?

As a GB business, you may be required to register for VAT in the EU, if you're:​

  • making taxable supplies from and/or to an EU member state
  • importing goods into an EU member state
  • holding goods in warehouses or consignment stock in EU member states for customers
  • supplying and installing equipment in an EU member state

Find out more information from the EU website

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How much VAT is due on goods?

Check if you are responsible for paying import VAT. You may need to check the contractual arrangements between yourself and your customer or agent.

The amount of import VAT due will depend on the rate of VAT applied in the relevant member state.​ Import VAT is calculated on the customs value, which includes any duty, as well as the transportation and insurance costs.​

Find out more information from the EU website

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Can I claim VAT refunds from the EU?

You may be able to claim a VAT refund from the EU member state in which you paid the VAT if you are not established in the EU and have been charged VAT on business activities in that country. ​VAT can only be reclaimed by the party that paid the VAT. ​

Find out more information from the EU website

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Paying VAT when selling through e-commerce

Prior to the 1st July 2021, goods under the value of EUR 22 we're exempt from VAT in some EU member states. This was known as Low Value Consignment Relief.

To simplify VAT rules across member states this relief has now been removed and businesses are required to pay VAT on all consignments.

The EU’s One Stop Shop simplifies the declaration and payment of VAT for goods under 150€, when imported into EU member states.

Find out more information from the EU website

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How to claim returned goods relief

Returned goods relief is available to businesses and individuals, and applies to exported goods that are re-imported into GB.

To claim return goods relief, the goods must:  ​

  • be re-imported in an unaltered state
  • have been in free circulation in GB when they were exported, unless they were originally declared to inward processing or end-use
  • not have been exported to be repaired or processed
  • be re-imported within 3 years of their export or by 30 June 2022 under a special grace period agreed
  • be re-imported by the same individual or business that exported them

Find out more information from the EU website

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Appointing a fiscal representative

Fiscal representatives are a special type of tax agent required in some EU member states. They are responsible for the registration, reporting and correct calculation of VAT for non-EU businesses. They must be a taxable person liable for VAT and established in the relevant EU member state. ​

Some EU member states require fiscal representatives for non-EU businesses to have joint and several liability for the VAT due.​​

However, some EU member states have legislation which disapplies this requirement, where agreed with the non-EU country of businesses. 

​As this requirement varies across EU member states, you should check the rules of the countries you trade with.

Find out more information from the EU website

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Find the correct rate of VAT for your product

Use our Check how to export goods tool to find the all the taxes and tariffs applicable to your product in your destination market, including the latest rate of VAT.

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