How do you manage UK VAT on varying sizes of children's clothing?

4 0 2

Hello Community!


I sell school uniform where the different sizes determine what VAT to pay. The schools are a mixture of ages, so the size determines the VAT we pay at our wholesalers. A jumper might be available in sizes 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, XS, S, M... 


It's the same product, but we pay Zero VAT for the ages, and 20% VAT for XS and larger, and need to pass this on to customers.


How do you handle this? Out of the box you can't apply variants to collections to do a Tax Override, I can't find an app to do this, and I'd prefer not to separate the products as it will confuse buyers seeing two of the same product.


Thank you for your help!

New to Shopify
Moving a Magento eCommerce solution for a local business to Shopify to serve the United Kingdom
Replies 3 (3)

Shopify Staff
2535 232 539

Hi @Xaser3,


Thank you for reaching out and outlining your issue. Unfortunately, it is not possible to set a tax override at the variant level within Shopify, and as you mentioned in your post the tax override would apply to the entire product with all variants included. This is something that has been requested by a number of merchants and may be something we change in future, and I will be sure to submit your feedback to our development team.


My recommendation would be to list the larger sized items as seperate products, although I recognize this is not ideal. You can be up front with your customers as to why these larger-sized products cost more to avoid any confusion, either in your product descriptions or on an FAQ page on your website.


You could also try using a bundling app to improve the customer experience of viewing these products, so the regular-sized product with the VAT-exempt variants can be paired with the larger ones where VAT is charged. I'd recommend checking out some of the bundle apps on the Shopify App Store and seeing if this is something that works for you.


Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
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2 0 1

Hi Victor,

We are currently using Veeqo as our stock management & shipping software. This allows you to set the tax rate for each variation, rather than at a parent level.


Within the CSV product download file there is a column for Variation Tax Code, could this not be used to help calculate the UK VAT rate and allow customers to enter the rate of tax. A new field added to the variation rows would help.


Using the 'no tax' option unfortunately does not help with many accounting software tools as it ignores any tax, rather than recording this as 0%.


Hopefully this will be pushed through as a priority given the number of customers already reqesting this feature over the years.

Shopify Partner
190 12 29

Hi Xaser, 


I have to side with Viktor from Shopify staff here (which I do not do often). It is not possible to apply overrides on variant level, We are facing the same issue with our book seller client (many of them use variants for  printed, E-book and audio books). Taxation of these variations are different in EU (in most of the cases electronic and printed books are taxed with reduced rate, but not for all the EU countries). We recalculate taxes on our side for such situations. We do the same with the UK for US books sellers if they use variations for different type of the books (printed and E-books are 0 rated in the UK and audio books are sold with 20 percent VAT). Coupled with price fixing on the Market level we manage to provide proper pricing , but it is way too many workarounds for a single problem. You would be facing the same issue in EU for Luxembourg (reduced rates are applied only on children clothing with regards to specific sizes).     

So the only possible way is to work with your theme and make items separate. Sorry that I could not help. - the best EU and UK VAT compliance solution.