eCommerce is the fastest developing area of retail selling globally. If you sell goods online from your own website, or via an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay, it is very important that you understand the VAT obligations and liabilities of selling to customers in Europe that operate a VAT regime.
If you sell your products or goods directly to customers in other EU Member States, or use fulfilment centres in other EU countries, such as Amazon FBA, you will perhaps face a requirement to charge and collect local VAT. The European Union has shaped a distinct regime, known as ‘Distance Selling’, to make simpler the administration and liability, as far as possible to inspire free trade in the EU zone.
If your sales surpass certain ‘VAT Registration Thresholds’ in each EU country, you will have to VAT register in those countries. Each EU Member State has formed a revenue threshold (usually around €35,000 per annum) – if your online business exceeds this sales threshold, you will be lawfully obliged to register as a non-resident VAT trader in the country.
For foreign businesses selling goods or products to consumers in EU countries, most probably will face a responsibility to charge and collect local sales taxes. If you are exporting your goods to Europe for direct sale, distribution or sale via Amazon - you will require to register for the VAT tax in at least one European country.
Once your goods or products are in the EU, there are revenue thresholds which must be monitored, this will then govern your tax obligations in other countries. It is very important that you understand these rules prior to setting up your website or marketplace to ensure VAT compliance with European Union tax law.