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Community Insights: Now and the Path Ahead – International Selling & Tax

Give us a quick over view in your words of Simply VAT and what you do? 

SimplyVAT.com specialises in international VAT for e-commerce businesses. We help businesses of any size comply with their international tax obligations throughout Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan.  

And how have the past months been for you? 

Although a challenging time worldwide, the e-commerce industry has seen relative success. Consumer buying behaviour has changed to compliment and accommodate the new lifestyle we’ve all had to adapt to. Whether that is working from home, exercising at home, grocery shopping online, or tackling DIY projects around the house, e-commerce has facilitated the transition.  

With this being said, we have seen businesses increase their sales and therefore, crossing distance selling thresholds that trigger a VAT obligation. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are taking this time to start their business or even scale it. For us that has meant a consistent amount of businesses have been needing to VAT register and comply with their tax obligations and that is what we do best! 

What services are you operating now and how’s that working? 

As always, SimplyVAT.com helps e-commerce businesses get VAT registered and then comply with their ongoing VAT compliance by calculating and filing their VAT returns and other tax reporting documents such as EC Sales Lists.  

As COVID-19 has disrupted cash-flow for some businesses, there are tax authorities that have allowed VAT payment deferments. We have helped consult businesses on their options as well as apply for the deferments where applicable. For medical supplies related to the pandemic, there have been import VAT relief schemes as well as reduced or zero-rated VAT on the onward sale of some items. Our team has been tracking these changes and updating our blog to share news as it arrives for businesses to use as an informative tool.  

What would be your advice for those in eCommerce to build their business in a COVID-19 world?  

If you’re starting an e-commerce business now, or, even moving your physical store into an e-commerce store – this is the perfect opportunity!  

  1. The first thing I would recommend is do your research. Research products that will be useful going forward with the new ‘normal’. Some product categories have really taken off throughout the lockdown and understanding what consumers are buying as we progress through lockdown may give you great insight into the future.   
  2. If you are buying wholesale and are placing your items in a warehouse – you may have triggered a VAT obligation. If the warehouse or fulfilment centre is based outside the country where your business is based, this can trigger a VAT/ GST obligation as your stock becomes a taxable supply for onward sale.  
  3. Don’t leave VAT registration until the end of your business set-up. During COVID-19, tax authorities across the European Union have been shut, working from home, or have limited staff at the moment. This can delay your VAT registration and therefore your sales. Plan ahead and start your registration early. Whilst your application is being processed, you’ll have time to align the rest of your business.  

What details should people use to contact you?  

The best way to contact us is to email our team at [email protected] or schedule a call to talk through your e-commerce expansion and where a VAT obligation is required. We love VAT so you don’t have to! www.simplyvat.com

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