UK VAT Registration for EU Companies


Companies from EU countries are able to register for a UK VAT number.

The application for a UK VAT number would be relevant to companies who are distance selling. For example, a company in Spain may sell goods to consumers resident in the UK.

The UK consumer, as an individual, will not be VAT registered.

Other individuals or entities who may not be registered for VAT include, small businesses with a low annual turnover, business with exempt activities, public entities and registered charities.

What is distance selling?

Distance selling is classed as when a company based in one EU country sells a product to an non-VAT registered individual or entity who are based in another EU country.

It only applies to products. It does not apply to services.

Distance selling does not apply to companies from outside the EU.

When do I need to register for UK VAT?

The threshold for mandatory registration for UK VAT is if your annual distance sales reach 85,000 GBP.

This applies to EU and non EU companies.

Applications need to be made within 30 days.

If sales of sales of alcohol or tobacco are made, then it is also mandatory to register.

Can I register for UK VAT before commencing sales?

If distance selling has not yet commenced, it is a requirement to provide evidence of the intention to commence sales.

You can choose the date in which you wish your UK VAT registration to commence.

How long does registration take?

Registration for UK VAT can take a few weeks.

Formal UK VAT invoices won´t be able to be raised until you have received your VAT number.

What are the current rates of VAT in the UK?

As of January 2017, the current rates of UK VAT are as follows:

  • Standard Rate: 20% – the majority of goods and services
  • Reduced Rate: 5% – energy and certain goods
  • Zero Rate: 0% – the majority of food and childrens´clothes

What are the ongoing obligations?

Once registered for UK VAT, it is mandatory to keep detailed records of each transaction. UK VAT returns need to be submitted.

An accountant or agent can be appointed to facilitate this.

Is it possible to de-register for UK VAT?

If you are registered for UK VAT and have ceased distance sales, or did not commence distance sales, then it is possible to de-register.

In all cases an application must be made to UK HM Revenue & Customs.

How can GB Abogados help?

GB Abogados benefit from an experienced team of accountants who specialise in assisting companies and individuals who trade with the UK.

If you have specific requirements, please contact us today for a consultation.

Related Services

Accountants Department

Company tax services