Frequently Asked Questions
General VAT FAQs
VAT (Value Added Tax) is a type of consumption tax charged on goods and services supplied for consumption in the EU. The idea is that VAT is always ultimately paid by end consumers rather than businesses that merely collect and remit the tax to the authorities.
All 27 EU member states have VAT. And many other countries around the world have adopted a similar system. Each country has a different name for it. In France, it’s known as TVA. Spain calls it IVA. And in Germany, it’s Mwst. Each country also applies its own VAT rates. VAT collected on supplies is a key source of revenue for any government.
For more information on VAT numbers across the EU, take a look at our EU VAT Numbers 101.
Being an indirect tax, VAT is collected as a percentage of the price paid by customers to sellers who then remit the VAT amount to the tax authorities when filing their VAT returns.
As soon as you are making a taxable supply in a member state where you are not established, you will need to register for VAT in that country. Taxable supplies include distance sales to consumers, supply of services, intra-community acquisitions, moving goods into a country for onward supply and more.
It is important to note, that you need to charge the local VAT rate where your customer is based. VAT rates vary from country to country in the EU so be sure to check these first.
There are standard, reduced and zero VAT rates which vary from country to country. To make things easier, we’ve collated the various VAT rates into a downloadable EU VAT Rates PDF.
If you’re unsure which VAT rate is applicable to your goods or services, get in touch and we can help you to determine the correct VAT rates to apply.
This depends on which country you are registered in. Some countries will ask for VAT returns each month, others – quarterly or even bi-monthly. At SimplyVAT.com, we will ensure you never miss a deadline through our timely email reminders.
Yes, penalties and interest charges can be issued for both late submissions and late payments including backdated VAT returns. The amount of penalty and interest charges differ from each tax authority.
In order to facilitate trade between EU countries, the EU created the Reverse Charge mechanism. The Reverse Charge moves the responsibility for the recording of a VAT transaction from the supplier to the buyer for the good or service sold between 2 businesses. This removes the burden of paying VAT upfront for the business customer and eliminates the need for the seller to VAT register in the business customer’s country.
The European Commission maintains a website that can be used to check the validity of VAT numbers, including Northern Irish VAT registration numbers.
If you need to find out if a customer’s VAT number is valid – please visit the EC VIES Website.
Some EU tax authorities require a non-EU business to appoint a Fiscal Representative to represent them for VAT purposes. A Fiscal Representative is jointly and severally liable for any VAT owed by the business it represents.
At SimplyVAT.com, we work with trusted fiscal representatives when needed to keep all VAT communication in one spot for our clients.
When importing into certain countries, import documents will be completed and issued on the import of the goods. Within the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia, there is one standard import document called the SAD (Single Administration Document) used for customs declarations. In the UK, the equivalent document is known as a C88.
OSS & IOSS FAQs
No, under the new EU VAT rules for ecommerce, the distance selling thresholds have been abolished.
For EU-based businesses, an intra-EU threshold is set at EUR10,000.
There is no threshold for non-EU sellers (e.g. UK or USA-based ecommerce businesses). As such, you will need to register from your first sale or first importation.
If you are an EU-based business, you will need to register for the OSS scheme in your member state of establishment.
If you use Amazon’s Pan-EU Fulfilment Service, you will need to VAT register locally in the countries where you hold your stock. You will also need to file EC Sales Lists to account for any cross-border stock transfers.
If you sell your goods which are valued below EUR150 and imported in the EU via a marketplace eg. Amazon or eBay, the marketplaces will now be responsible for the collection and payment of the VAT to the relevant tax authority.
If you as the seller are based outside the EU and sell goods of any value which are already in free circulation in the EU via a marketplace, the marketplace will now be responsible for the collection and payment of the VAT to the relevant tax authority.
The Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) scheme is an optional simplification, working in parallel to the One Stop Shop, that allows online businesses to report distance sales of imported goods with a value below EUR 150.
IOSS covers the distance sales of goods below EUR 150 from any country outside the EU.
This means that if you’re selling goods based outside the EU, to EU customers, in packages below EUR 150 in value, you can report all of these EU sales in one return, rather than multiple local registrations & returns.
For goods imported in consignments with a value above EUR 150, normal customs and import tax procedures apply.
The intrinsic value of a consignment is the price your customers pay for the goods at the point of sale, excluding transport, insurance, and any other charges unless these are already included in the price rather than indicated separately. Please note that VAT is still applied to the total value of the sale.
If you are an EU-based business, you should register for IOSS in the country where you are established.
If you are a non-EU business, you will normally need to appoint an EU-established intermediary who will be jointly and severally liable for any import VAT owed.
You can do this either directly with the tax authorities, or via an intermediary such as SimplyVAT.com. If you would like to register for IOSS, please contact the team.
No, this was abolished on 1 July 2021, meaning that from that date VAT is due on all goods sold into the EU regardless of the value.
New Customer FAQs
Depending on the country, you might need to provide different documents. Your VAT registration application may require documents such as photo id, proof of company incorporation or even evidence of trade within the country.
Once we have all the paperwork, the registration process can take anywhere between 3 – 10 weeks to receive a VAT registration number, depending on the country. It’s best to plan ahead and make sure you return the documents as soon as possible so we can get the registration sent to the tax authorities.
Ready to get started? Let’s get your business registered!
Yes, we do and we would love the opportunity to work with you. We pay a commission for every client signed up who was introduced by you. Visit our partnership page to find out more.
Existing Customer FAQs
We will need you to send data on your sales, imports and purchases.
The format in which we will need this data to be in will be explained to you by your Client Manager.
You can also use our integrations to automatically pull data straight from your sales channel!
If you are selling on Amazon, eBay, Shopify or WooCommerce, you can automatically import your data using our APIs.
Instructions on how to connect your API will be given to you by your Client Manager after completing the registration process.
If you’re VAT registered in a country, but don’t make any sales, nil returns still need to be completed and filed. These nil returns do take time to complete, hence why you may still need to pay even when you’re not making sales into a particular country.
We can liaise with the relevant Tax Authorities for you. However, there may be an additional fee for this, depending on your contract with us.
If you need to deregister for whatever reason, it’s important to bear in mind that there is often a cost for doing so. This cost will vary from country to country.
In cases where we have access to your portal, it is sometimes possible. However, not all Tax Authorities supply this information on their portals.