VAT fraud: HMRC raid warehouses

A recent Guardian newspaper investigation uncovered huge numbers of VAT fraudsters are selling VAT-free goods to UK shoppers via online sites including Amazon and e-Bay.  The UK government is trying to counter this by mounting raids on warehouses and seizing goods belonging to such rogue sellers.

If customer orders are shipped from a UK warehouse then VAT rules require that tax should be accounted for on that sale.  Many overseas sellers are charging the same price as genuine VAT-registered sellers, but are deliberately pocketing the VAT instead of accounting for it to HMRC.  Many ignore or evade requests to provide a VAT receipt.

Some overseas sellers are under the misconception that sales under the registration threshold are exempt from VAT. The exemption does not apply to overseas sellers.  Overseas sellers need to charge and account for VAT from the very first £1 of sales.  They need to VAT register in the UK before they start shipping orders.

If you are an overseas seller it is in your own long term interests to VAT register in the UK.  Otherwise, reputable websites will not host your business and nor will warehouses stock your goods, quite apart from the fact that adverse reviews will destroy your business.  It takes just a few clicks to VAT register and become compliant.  We will be pleased to help you.