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HMRC internal manual

VAT Single Market

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Supply and acquisition: time of supply and acquisition: UK acquisitions

Under Articles 68 and 69 of the Principal VAT Directive (see VATSM3310) the rules for determining the time of acquisition mirror those for intra-EC supplies (see the manual covering time of supply (VATTOS)). Consequently an acquisition is treated as taking place at the same time as the corresponding supply of the goods in the Member State of dispatch. This is implemented in the UK by section 12 of the VAT Act 1994 (see VATSM3315).

The tax point for an acquisition is therefore the earlier of either

  • the 15th day of the month following the one in which the goods were dispatched, or
  • the date the supplier issues an invoice (including an invoice issued before the goods are sent).

Payment for the goods does not create a tax point for acquisitions. But an invoice issued in response to a payment might create the time of acquisition for the amount involved.

Regulations 83 and 87 of the VAT Regulations 1995 also apply to the time of acquisition (see VATSM3320). The former defines the meaning of invoice for the purposes of section 12. The latter recognises the difficulty in identifying the date of dispatch for the various categories of goods that are likely to be supplied on a continuous basis and so restricts the time of acquisition to the issue of an invoice.