Knowledge Base: E-commerce Accounting and VAT Compliance

EU Vat


Cross-Border VAT Guidance

If your business is selling goods or services cross-border, and wants to trade successfully, it requires to meticulously understand the VAT implications of its transactions.

amavat® using our experience and expertise can provide the necessary advice to ensure that any VAT obligations are identified, before activities start in a particular EU country. This is vital if your company is to be fully compliant with its obligations in the country where it is doing business. amavat® will be required to consider registration for VAT where applicable, and more generally validate that VAT is being accounted for in the correct way.

Although all Member States have to base their domestic VAT legislation on the EU VAT Directive, there are many areas where discretion can be applied. This means that the same transaction can be treated in different ways by different Member States – it is crucial that this is fully recognised and that detailed advice is taken for each country.

If VAT registration is required, amavat® delivers a one-stop-shop for VAT registrations and VAT returns in all EU Member States. Our consultant-led method means that detailed advice can be given to ensure that the correct registrations are applied for at the right time. Our compliance teams around Europe will then be able to offer updates that relate to the registration as and when they occur, as well as being on hand to deal with any questions you might have. All of this will be delivered within a clear, transparent fee structure to help you avoid any unforeseen surprises.


Online retailing is growing rapidly right around the world.

Companies big and small are taking advantage of the potential of the internet to reach into new markets, and reach out to new sales territories beyond the country in which they are established. e-Commerce (along with electronic downloads and mail-order selling) is empowering businesses to reach millions of new international customers.

You should understand the VAT obligations of Distance Selling

The growth in online retail is great news for companies; but, it’s enormously important to make sure that VAT registration and reporting obligations are achieved as part of the process of making sales. If your business sells goods cross-border to non-business customers via the internet, or by mail order then you could be making ‘distance sales’ for VAT purposes and may have to register for, and report, VAT in a number of EU Member States.

Fulfilling your VAT Registrations, Reporting and Compliance requirements

It’s vital that VAT registration and reporting duties are fulfilled as part of the process of making sales.

It is possible to do voluntary VAT Registration

The ‘Distance Selling’ rules only call for a seller to register for VAT in countries where their customers are based once the threshold has been reached in a certain Member State. Nevertheless, it is at times possible to register voluntarily before the threshold is breached to benefit from local VAT rates:

Reduced VAT Rates

If different Member States have dissimilar VAT rates on the same supplies, i.e. an EU supplier outside the UK selling children’s clothes to customers in the UK, businesses might be able to benefit from reduced VAT rates that apply in the UK making their goods more competitively priced.

Lower Standard VAT Rates

If your business is based in a country with a higher standard rate of VAT than the country where your customers are established, you may be at a disadvantage when compared with your competitors. For example, a Swedish supplier selling goods taxable at the standard rate throughout the EU will charge 25% on all sales into each Member State, until thresholds are reached – registering voluntarily in Member States with lower VAT rates will straightaway decrease the cost of the goods.

The obligations for ‘Distance Sellers’ regarding VAT and Reporting

  • EU Member States apply fluctuating and varying thresholds for registration. It’s vital to regularly monitor volumes of sales and thresholds across all 28 EU Member States
  • The full value of distance sales made into an EU Member State each year decides whether or not a business has to register for VAT in that country as a distance seller
  • When you are registered, distance sellers must submit regular VAT returns (quarterly or monthly) to the Member State in question
  • It will be necessary for many distance sellers to submit a monthly dispatch Intrastat declaration to record their intra-EU movements of goods; and some businesses will also need to make Intrastat arrivals declarations in the countries into which they are selling

Do you want to know more?

amavat® provides a one-stop-shop solution for VAT Compliance within Europe. We assist clients with a single point of contact that speaks their language and handles all VAT related issues with a standard and cost efficient approach.
If you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to contact amavat®.

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International Sales Manager
Customer Relations Consultant for Online Sellers