Business Law & Compliance

Are you ready for new EU VAT rules?

1 min read

16 September 2014

New EU VAT rule changes that will impact how thousands of UK e-tailers do business in the EU are less than four months away, yet the majority of those affected are unprepared and may be at risk of heavy non-compliance penalties.

The changes will require merchants to identify where their end customer is located by collecting two pieces of non-conflicting evidence and then applying the correct VAT rate. There are additional compliance obligations around reporting VAT receipts, storing information on VAT transactions for ten years and ensuring compliance with the various VAT regimes across the EU. 

E-service merchants who do not comply with the new rules are liable for penalty in the jurisdiction of the Member State in which they have infringed on VAT laws.

HMRC has estimated that some 42,000 UK-based online merchants will be affected by the new rules and a sizeable portion of these will be SMEs, many of whom don’t currently have to register to pay VAT in the UK.

However, as there is no minimum threshold applied to the new rules, and given that the existing VAT registration threshold in the UK is £81,000, thousands of small businesses will now be brought into the VAT net.

Related: EU VAT changes – Wake up and smell the coffee