Amazon UK calls for all sellers to provide VAT numbers by March 5th

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Eagle-eyed Amazon merchants might have noticed an Amazon UK announcement in Seller Central on Thursday this week. It was a simple and short update but it’s rather significant: It reads:

Action required: your account may be interrupted
The UK Finance Bill 2018 is expected to become law in 2018. The Bill will require Amazon Marketplace to block non-UK sellers who store goods in the UK from selling through Amazon.co.uk if the seller doesn’t not comply with its UK VAT registration requirements.

We recommend that you upload your UK VAT number in Seller Central before March 5th 2018 to ensure smooth functioning of your account. To learn more about VAT, please visit our VAT resources page. More details about the legislation can be found on the HMRC website.
– Amazon UK Seller Central update

It’s good to see that Amazon UK is being so clear and proactive, after all this time, about the need for sellers to provide valid VAT numbers to them. The UK government has passed several new laws to help HMRC get to grips with the problem of overseas sellers, very often from China, not paying their fair share of VAT when they are selling in the UK. We’ve written about this before.

This is a proactive and creditable step from Amazon. eBay announced some measures too last month, and said, with immediate effect, that they would automatically display your VAT number, if you have provided it, in all of your listings. Up until now sellers could manually choose whether to display their VAT number by specifying it in their Business Seller Information in their eBay Site Preferences. But now it’s compulsory.

Both eBay and Amazon are finding their way towards means of ensuring that companies outside of the EU are not dodging their VAT obligations. And the reason is obvious: if they don’t then HMRC could well get the companies to collect VAT from sellers on their behalf and they surely don’t want that responsibility.

British VAT compliant marketplace merchants have nothing to fear.

14 Responses

  1. All sellers to enter a VAT number would ensure their site only had legitimate businesses and stop those who are evading tax as well.

  2. surely this only applies to overseas sellers with FBA stock in the UK centres or similar – but does not stop the 1000’s of sellers from overseas as long as they say they are overseas ? or have I missed something

  3. People please read the notice properly if uk registered business no need to be vat registered unless you hit the threshold of£83000 turnover.
    However this will change drastically in 2019/20 when vat threshold will comedown to maybe as low £24000 because of brexit

  4. Amazing Paul that you know government policy before they’ve made it up themselves.

  5. I searched for pauls figures and could not find them.
    All I found was that anything could happen from reducing it to increasing it.
    As vat registered we lose out so lowering it would help me as other would then increas their prices to make the same amount of profit which might help us.
    The best thing to make it fair would be to make it the same for everyone. either make everyone join or get rid of it altogether.

  6. Most chinese will just ignore hmrc and start up as a new company and get the old one struck off.

    While some action is better than nothing, vat dodgers are now dominating amazon and ebay and there are now so many, its hard to believe anyone from the UK is still in business. The tax burden on UK sellers is pretty huge and saving it for just a couple years could increase buying power by 2 at least. Some chinese seller have been at it over 10.

  7. Just be prepared for about 100 thousand sole traders appear called mr_jonny_uk12345, mr_jonny_uk12346, mr_jonny_uk12347 etc etc etc. All under the tax threshold by £100 ?

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