VAT—Northern Ireland—distance selling rules [Archived]
Produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd

The following Tax practice note produced in partnership with John Fuszard of Sagars Accountants Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • VAT—Northern Ireland—distance selling rules [Archived]
  • Application from 1 January 2021
  • EU businesses selling goods in NI
  • Cancellation of registration
  • Goods that are excluded from the distance selling rules
  • Dutiable goods
  • NI businesses selling goods to EU Member States
  • Dutiable goods
  • Avoiding VAT registration for distance sales
  • Delivery arranged by customer

VAT—Northern Ireland—distance selling rules [Archived]

ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained.

This Practice Note is concerned with VAT as it applies to the movement of goods between Northern Ireland (NI) and the EU from 1 January 2021 (and as it applied to all VAT-registered businesses in the UK on and before 31 December 2020).

Distance selling occurs when a VAT registered EU supplier sells and delivers goods to a non-VAT registered customer in another EU country. The customer could be a private individual, or an organisation that is not required to register for VAT such as a charity or public body, or a business that is too small to register or only makes exempt supplies. It is important to note that distance selling can only occur between Member States so mail order sales to customers in countries outside the EU VAT territory, for instance to Great Britain, are not distance sales.

Under the distance selling rules, the supplier is required to VAT register in the EU delivery country once its sales in that country exceed a specified threshold. The distance selling threshold can only be set by Member States at either €35,000 or €100,000 (or local currency equivalent). Once the threshold is exceeded the place of supply becomes the customer's country, rather than the supplier's country. So for example a German business selling

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