Registration in respect of acquisitions from other Member States: background
Where a business is not registered for VAT in the UK, any goods it purchases from a supplier in another EU Member State will be liable to VAT in that Member State.
However, to avoid distortions of tax, once the value of goods purchased from other EU Member States exceeds the acquisition registration threshold, a UK purchaser who is not already registered will normally be liable to register for VAT so that he can account for tax on the goods in the UK as acquisitions.
These arrangements do not apply to supplies of services.
More information about acquisitions can be found in VATSM. (External readers can find this guidance at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/vatsmanual/index.htm).