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HMRC internal manual

VAT Single Market

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Supply and acquisition: acquisition: main UK primary law provisions

Section 1 VAT Act 1994

(1) Value added tax shall be charged, in accordance with the provisions of this Act—

(a) ……

(b)on the acquisition in the United Kingdom from other member States of any goods, and

(c) ……

(2) ……

(3) VAT on any acquisition of goods from another member State is a liability of the person who acquires the goods and (subject to provisions about accounting and payment) becomes due at the time of acquisition.

Section 10 VAT Act 1994

(1) VAT shall be charged on any acquisition from another member State of any goods where—

(a)the acquisition is a taxable acquisition and takes place in the United Kingdom;

(b)the acquisition is otherwise than in pursuance of a taxable supply; and

(c)the person who makes the acquisition is a taxable person or the goods are subject to a duty of excise or consist in a new means of transport.

(2) An acquisition of goods from another member State is a taxable acquisition if—

(a)it falls within subsection (3) below or the goods consist in a new means of transport; and

(b)it is not an exempt acquisition.

(3) An acquisition of goods from another member State falls within this subsection if—

(a)the goods are acquired in the course or furtherance of—

(i) any business carried on by any person; or  


(ii) any activities carried on otherwise than by way of business by any body corporate or by any club, association, organisation or other unincorporated body;  

(b)it is the person who carries on that business or, as the case may be, those activities who acquires the goods; and

(c)the supplier—

(i) is taxable in another member State at the time of the transaction in pursuance of which the goods are acquired; and  


(ii) in participating in that transaction, acts in the course or furtherance of a business carried on by him.  

Section 11(1)and (2) VAT Act 1994

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, references in this Act to the acquisition of goods from another member State shall be construed as references to any acquisition of goods in pursuance of a transaction in relation to which the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—

(a)the transaction is a supply of goods (including anything treated for the purposes of this Act as a supply of goods); and

(b)the transaction involves the removal of the goods from another member State;

and references in this Act, in relation to such an acquisition, to the supplier shall be construed accordingly.

(2) It shall be immaterial for the purposes of subsection (1) above whether the removal of the goods from the other member State is by or under the directions of the supplier or by or under the directions of the person who acquires them or any other person.

Section 12 VAT Act 1994

(1) Subject to sections 18 and 18B and any regulations under subsection (3) below, where goods are acquired from another member State, the acquisition shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as taking place on whichever is the earlier of—

(a)the 15th day of the month following that in which the event occurs which, in relation to that acquisition, is the first relevant event for the purposes of taxing the acquisition; and

(b)the day of the issue, in respect of the transaction in pursuance of which the goods are acquired, of an invoice of such a description as the Commissioners may by regulations prescribe.

(2) For the purposes of this Act the event which, in relation to any acquisition of goods from another member State, is the first relevant event for the purposes of taxing the acquisition is the first removal of the goods which is involved in the transaction in pursuance of which they are acquired.

(3) The Commissioners may by regulations make provision with respect to the time at which an acquisition is to be treated as taking place in prescribed cases where the whole or part of any consideration comprised in the transaction in pursuance of which the goods are acquired is determined or payable periodically, or from time to time, or at the end of a period; and any such regulations may provide, in relation to any case to which they apply, for goods to be treated as separately and successively acquired at prescribed times or intervals.

Section 13 VAT Act 1994

(1) This section shall apply (subject to sections 18 and 18B) for determining for the purposes of this Act whether goods acquired from another member State are acquired in the United Kingdom.

(2) The goods shall be treated as acquired in the United Kingdom if they are acquired in pursuance of a transaction which involves their removal to the United Kingdom and does not involve their removal from the United Kingdom, and (subject to the following provisions of this section) shall otherwise be treated as acquired outside the United Kingdom.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) below, the goods shall be treated as acquired in the United Kingdom if they are acquired by a person who, for the purposes of their acquisition, makes use of a number assigned to him for the purposes of VAT in the United Kingdom.

(4) Subsection (3) above shall not require any goods to be treated as acquired in the United Kingdom where it is established, in accordance with regulations made by the Commissioners for the purposes of this section that VAT—

(a)has been paid in another member State on the acquisition of those goods; and

(b)fell to be paid by virtue of provisions of the law of that member State corresponding, in relation to that member State, to the provision made by subsection (2) above.

(5) The Commissioners may by regulations make provision for the purposes of this section—

(a)for the circumstances in which a person is to be treated as having been assigned a number for the purposes of VAT in the United Kingdom;

(b)for the circumstances in which a person is to be treated as having made use of such a number for the purposes of the acquisition of any goods; and

(c)for the refund, in prescribed circumstances, of VAT paid in the United Kingdom on acquisitions of goods in relation to which the conditions specified in subsection (4)(a) and (b) above are satisfied.