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International and cross-border transactions

We are experienced in advising not only on UK indirect tax, but issues in other EC Member States and matters outside the EC.

Do you know whether you have indirect tax responsibilities in other countries?  Do you know whether you are taking advantage of all available reliefs?

There are often complex and conflicting issues concerning VAT when dealing with customers or suppliers outside these shores.  Although the EC-wide VAT system is supposed to be harmonised, not unsurprisingly, there are significant differences in domestic law and the application of EC legislation.  It is easy to get caught out or not even consider VAT issues outside the UK.  There are special rules for a lot of activities, with the rules for International Services particularly complex.

Experience insists that overseas tax authorities do not mitigate any assessments and penalties simply because your business is based outside their country.  Another twist is that HMRC are simply not interested in any transactions outside the UK so will not assist with taxpayers’ queries.

A final point may appear simple, but language is often a barrier to dealing with tax issues.  We are able to assist with this issue.

When should I be considering VAT?

  • Exporting goods – Do they properly qualify for zero rating?
  • Dispatching goods to other EC Member States – Are they UK VAT free?
  • Distance Selling (usually online/mail order) – There are special rules for this.
  • Selling goods in the UK which are to be removed from the UK.
  • Retail sales to visiting customers.
  • Electronically supplied services – MOSS
  • Imports – what value? Recovery of import VAT. Customs Duties. Procedures. Reliefs.
  • Acquisitions from other Member States – what are the rules? Self-supplies. Procedures.
  • Provision of services – What is the Place Of Supply (POS)?
  • Provision of services – UK VAT, no VAT, overseas VAT chargeable?
  • Working abroad – What are the rules?
  • Property owned overseas.
  • Overseas businesses owning UK property
  • Purchasing services overseas – VAT free?  Self-supplies
  • Purchasing/hiring transport/vehicles cross-border; aeroplanes, yachts, road vehicles etc.
  • Organising trade fairs, exhibitions seminars or training etc– There are special rules.
  • Performances eg; cultural, artistic, sporting – There are special rules.
  • Supplies of electronically supplied services – There are special rules.  MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop) issues.
  • Place of belonging issues.  Where do you belong for VAT purposes?
  • Intercompany charges/management charges/recharges – Require careful consideration.
  • Filing overseas returns and dealing with overseas authorities.
  • When negotiating contracts or pricing transactions/projects. You need to know the VAT position first otherwise you cannot budget correctly.

How we can help

We can assist whether you have an ad-hoc query or you require a full service in an overseas country.  We can:

  • Deal with overseas authorities on your behalf
  • Resolve disputes with overseas clients/suppliers
  • Analyse cross-border/international positions
  • Advise on international structures
  • Resolve complex international technical problems
  • File overseas declarations/returns and registrations
  • Deal with HMRC on complex POS matters
  • Assist with classification and valuation matters
  • Deal with documentation (which can be complex and demanding)
  • Review and advise on contracts and tenders
  • Liaise with local domestic legal/accountancy advisers in overseas countries
  • Advise overseas businesses making supplies into the UK
  • Assist with e-services matters including MOSS
  • Resolve disputes with HMRC
  • Handle claims for VAT incurred overseas for a UK business and UK VAT claims for overseas businesses.


Due to a new strategic alliance, we are now able to offer a true, comprehensive worldwide tax, Customs Duty and Excise service from high-level consultancy to compliance in other countries.

Gone are the days when you, or your clients, had to deal individually with representatives in different countries, or pay extremely high fees and receive less than immediate service from the big 4. We now act as a one-stop shop for every country in the world.  Whether it be;

  • a sales tax issue in Texas
  • a dispute with the authorities in Romania
  • a Customs Duty problem with entering goods into Mumbai
  • appointing a tax representative in Hong Kong
  • a disagreement over tax with a customer in Switzerland, or
  • a requirement to file documents in Russia,

we can do this on your behalf.

Of course, we cover every EC Member State – which may be increasing important after Brexit.

We offer a comprehensive, immediate and very reasonably priced service with total transparency on cost and quick response times.  We can handle all matters including; advice, structuring, support and compliance while dealing with language issues, understanding domestic legislation and dealing with the relevant authorities in each country.  All advice is provided by our very experienced and highly qualified staff with a comprehensive network of contacts.  We understand local practices and customs as well as the precise technical requirements.  Our advice aims to remove uncertainty and provides a definitive view, rather than a business having to rely on hearsay, incomplete or outdated online information, or advice from a customer/supplier which may not be accurate  – all of which we have seen in the past and which can lead to very expensive surprises.

Our service covers the ambit from a small business’ first time cross-border or overseas transaction to the largest multi-national.

Please contact me should you, or your clients have any international issues, or if you, or they, are dissatisfied with current advice in this respect.  We can also act on behalf of other VAT consultancies which do not have worldwide coverage.


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  1. Pingback: VAT – Where do I belong?! Marcus Ward Consultancy

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