Exporting and VAT
Frequently Asked Questions - Exporting and VAT
Are you a member of the VAT Retail Export Scheme?
Sorry we aren't a member of the VAT Retail Export Scheme because we are a mail-order company. So we cannot issue a VAT 407 form for a customer to claim back VAT. The only way to avoid VAT is outlined below
I want you to deliver my order to a UK address whereupon I will export it outside the EU. How can I avoid paying VAT?
The way that we deal with zero-rated exports when shipping to a UK address is as follows: We always charge VAT when shipping to a UK address except in the case of a US Military base. However, we refund this as soon as the recipient supplies documentary commercial evidence that the goods were dispatched to the overseas address (see the question below for more info on this).
Also we would advise that someone checks the goods upon arrival in the UK because if the goods turn out to be damaged upon arrival in your country, we will not be able to offer any refund.
I want you to deliver my order to an EU address whereupon I will export it outside the EU. How can I avoid paying VAT?
This can be achieved with an Export Accompanying Document (EAD). We organise this to be raised and it gets sent with the shipment. The EAD must be stamped by customs in the last state it was in before departing the EU and then a copy must be sent to us for our records.
I am placing an order for an Embassy, Consulate, NATO force or similar international organisation within the EU (but outside the UK). How can I avoid paying VAT?
In order for you to not be charged VAT, we need 2 things:
- Documentation from your host country for claiming exemption under article 15 of the Council directive 77/388/EEC.
- Documentary commercial evidence that the goods were dispatched to the overseas address (see question below for more info on this).
Obviously, if we are responsible for exporting the goods, then we already have the second part of this. Therefore, if you initially supply the first part, we will not need to charge VAT when you place your order.
However, if you collect, or if we send it to a UK freight forwarder for onward shipping, you will need to supply both things and we will have to charge you VAT when you order and then refund it at a later date when we received the requisite documentation.
I am placing an order for a US Military Base the UK. How can I avoid paying VAT?
There is a bilateral agreement for this situation which is quite straightforward. We will omit VAT from the order as long as one of the following applies:
- you have a written contract or purchase order from an authorised US visiting forces contracting officer
- payment is made with a Government Purchase Card (GPC)
- payment is made with a Procurement (PRO) card
- you are supplying goods from a Customs or excise warehouse
- or the goods have been imported and processed under the Inward Processing Relief (IPR) regime - see Notice 221 Inward Processing Relief
What documents are sufficient evidence for proof of export?
There are 3 acceptable forms of documentary commercial evidence viz:
- C88 customs form with a customs stamp on it that shows a description of the goods + the name and address of the customer.
- Authenticated seaway bill that shows a description of the goods + the name and address of the customer.
- Authenticated Bill of Lading that shows a description of the goods + the name and address of the customer.
Sales invoices, courier invoices and any other forms of documentation will not be sufficient for us to zero-rate the payment and refund the VAT.