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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Registration in respect of distance selling from other Member States: background

Distance-selling occurs when a taxable person in one EU Member State (which we refer to as the Member State of origin) supplies and delivers goods to a non-taxable person in another EU Member State (which we refer to as the Member State of destination).

The non-taxable customer may include private individuals, public bodies, charities, and businesses which are too small to register or whose activities are totally exempt.

Distance selling can only occur between Member States, so that mail order sales to the UK from outside the EU - for example, from the Channel Islands - are not distance sales.

These arrangements do not apply to supplies of services.

More information about distance-selling can be found in VATSM. External users can find this manual at

Note: Most businesses making distance-sales into the UK are likely to be non-established taxable persons (NETPs). Detailed guidance about NETPs and VAT registration can be found at VATREG37000.