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UK VAT Compliance – Rates & Registration

‍If a company not established in the United Kingdom is providing ‘taxable supplies’ of goods or services in The UK, it may have to obtain a non-resident VAT registration. In accordance with the EU VAT Directive, foreign traders are legally obligated to register for VAT in certain circumstances in order to report taxable transactions and declare VAT that must be charged.It is important that all businesses with any commercial activity in The UK assess their compliance obligations and register prior to commencing taxable transactions if applicable.

Have a look at our Brexit Page to learn more about the VAT Implications of a no-deal Brexit.

What you need to know

There are various scenarios that would trigger an obligation to register for VAT in the UK. Some of the most common examples are:

  • Importing goods into the UK from outside the European Union.
  • Buying and selling goods in the UK.
  • Selling goods from The UK which are delivered to customers outside of the UK (business or private customers).
  • Acquiring goods in the UK from another EU country (Intra-community acquisitions).
  • Holding inventory in the UK for sale, distribution or consignment.
  • E-commerce sales of goods to consumers, subject to Distance Selling VAT registration thresholds.
  • Organising events in the UK where attendees or delegates must pay admission.

If you are currently, or plan to conduct any of the above (or similar) transactions in the UK, you should contact us immediately for a complimentary consultation.

UK VAT Rates, Number Formats & Thresholds

VAT Rates VAT Number Format Distance Selling Threshold Intrastat Threshold
20% (Standard) UK123456789 GBP 70,000 € 1,500,000 (Arrivals)
0/5% (Reduced) € 250,000 (Dispatches)
VAT return periods

Monthly or quarterly

Annual returns


EC Sales Lists frequency

Monthly or quarterly

EC purchase lists


Other reporting requirements


Extended reverse charge

Services provided by a non-established to a VAT registered customer in the UK are subject to the reverse charge and the customer accounts for the VAT. Please contact us if you would like details of how the extended reverse charge applies in the UK.

Fiscal Representation

The tax authority may require the appointment of a tax representative where the business is established in a non-EU country with no mutual assistance arrangements with the UK.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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