Understand taxes

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I am starting my shop, dropshipping from China to the USA using my registered LTD in the UK.

My questions are the following: 

  • Do I have to charge selling taxes? if yes how to do it?
  • Should I pay the selling taxes or the customer does?
  • Do I have other taxes I need to consider? 

@Victor Please help, many referred me to you 😳


Reply 1 (1)
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
2084 199 447


Thank you for getting in touch. Please be aware that I am not a tax expert, nor can I or other Shopify employees inform you of what your tax obligations are. It is your responsibility as a business owner to understand your own tax liabilities and we would always recommend speaking with a tax professional if you are unsure about when and what to charge in terms of VAT, and how to remit sales tax to the relevant tax authorities. I am happy to give you some general advice below but I would also encourage you to do your own research.

Tax laws in the US are generally determined by tax nexuses, and on a state-by-state basis. If you have a physical presence in a state—such as a warehouse or office, or employees based there—then you will likely need to register for tax in that state before then charging and remitting sales taxes when you receive orders from customers in that state. If you are solely based in the UK, and are shipping all of your products from outside the US, then you likely will not be deemed to have a nexus in any state and will not need to charge sales tax on your orders into the USA. Please be aware that tax nexuses can also be defined by economic factors, such as earning over a revenue threshold from orders into a state, that mean you will be obligated to register for sales tax there. Shopify does provide a tax liabilities feature that should notify you when you become liable to pay sales tax in a state, but this should be relied on solely as the method in which you find out if you are required to register for sales tax.

In terms of taxes you may be liable to pay in the UK, my general understanding is that you will not need to charge VAT to your US-based customers and will therefore not be required to pay VAT to HMRC for orders received from the US. There may be other business taxes you are liable to pay, and you will also want to be aware of customs and duties fees you may be required to pay and/ or collect as you are selling internationally. Again, I would encourage you to do your own research to learn more and to speak to a tax professional if you are unsure of what is required.

I hope this has helped but please let me know if you have further questions.

Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
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