Understanding VAT

11 0 1

Hi all,

I am a seller based in the United States and occasionally ship to customers located in the UK. For reference, I shipped roughly 25 packages to the United Kingdom last year generating ~$1.5k in revenue. This year will be similar.  I'm not sure the level of action I'm required to take with the Brexit deadline approaching.

I received an email that I needed to "Register for UK VAT: You will need to register for UK VAT and collect VAT on orders below £135." However, according to the gov.uk thresholds, I would not have to do this as the threshold is more than £85,000. For now, I started collecting VAT in the United Kingdom without entering a VAT number. Is this enough to comply? Do I need to enter a VAT number?

I will apply for EORI. This seems necessary as it relates to information that will get displayed on the shipping label.


I think that's it for now. Any input?

11 0 1

Update to anyone in the same situation:


When to register Businesses outside the UK

There’s no threshold if neither you nor your business is based in the UK. You must register as soon as you supply any goods and services to the UK (or if you expect to in the next 30 days).


New Member
1 0 1

Thank you for the information about the threshold. That was not clear that it doesn't apply if you're outside the UK.

I have a further question about actually obtaining a VAT number. 

We are in the same position as the OP. Business based in the USA with roughly 50 UK orders per year and about $5000 in sales.   

The registration website tax.service.gov.uk forwards to another website for registration. We believe this was due to the question "Will the business do any of the following activities in the next 12 months?" and we had to answer YES to "have its head office outside the UK".

Once forwarded to HMRC Revenue and Customs website, we can check the box to apply for VAT, then the box for corporate body, then the next question says to indicate the reason for the application and this is the dead end.  The reason for obtaining a new VAT number is not listed.  None of the following choices would be accurate:

  • Taking over a VAT registered business as a Transfer of a Going Concern
  • Changing the legal entity of a VAT registered business (eg from sole proprietor to Limited Company)
  • Setting up a VAT group
  • Making or intending to make taxable supplies
  • Is established or has a fixed establishment in the UK and makes or intends to make taxable supplies only outside the UK
  • Wants to apply for exemption from VAT registration

 For anyone who has successfully obtained a VAT number, how did you answer that question?


20 0 26

Bumping this as I have this question too.  None of the options apply and this is incredibly frustrating.

New Member
1 0 0

Did anyone find a way to register? I have the same problem, can't find the correct option to choose