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HMRC internal manual

VAT Single Market

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Supply and acquisition: intra-EC supplies

Basic principles

For the most part intra-EC supplies follow normal supply principles. So, anything that would amount to a domestic supply of goods in the UK for VAT purposes, becomes an intra-EC supply where there is a movement of the goods between the UK and another Member State.

Equally something that would not be treated as a supply of goods in the UK, for example a supply of services such as a lease of equipment, does not become an intra-EC supply of goods even if the lessee is in another Member State to which the equipment has to be delivered.

Place of supply

The basic rule is that the supply takes place in the Member State of removal. But you can find out more about this in the manual covering the place of supply of goods (VATPOSG).

Time of supply

Intra-EC supplies from the UK to non-VAT registered persons are subject to the normal UK domestic time of supply rules. However, special rules apply to supplies made to VAT registered customers in another Member State. For further information see the manual covering time of supply (VATTOS).

Liability

A supply of goods by a UK supplier to a VAT registered customer in another Member State may be zero-rated, subject to various conditions. You can find out more about this in the manual covering exports and removals of goods from the UK (VEXP).

Goods supplied to unregistered persons in another Member State are liable to UK VAT at the rate applicable to a domestic supply. So a supply, say, of stationery is liable at the standard rate, but a supply of books would be zero-rated. But, if the supplier is responsible for delivery and the level of supplies made to unregistered persons in a particular Member State exceeds certain thresholds, the supplier may be required to register for VAT in the Member State concerned under the distance selling rules (see VATSM3700).

See also VATSM6500 for details of the special rules that apply to excise goods.