HMRC reports increase in online seller registrations
Following changes brought in with the last UK Finance Act, HMRC have reported that 7185 online sellers based outside of the UK have registered for VAT this year, up to ten times more than in the previous year.
In order to level the playing field, new legislation was brought in this year which permits HMRC to direct overseas sellers to appoint local representatives or provide financial guarantees with the idea of ensuring compliance. Furthermore, HMRC now have the power to hold online platforms jointly liable for any unpaid VAT if overseas suppliers do not register for UK VAT.
It appears that the changes are having the desired effect, and this ensures that overseas sellers do not have an advantage over UK sellers by failing to register for, and charge, UK VAT.