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HMRC internal manual

VAT Single Market

Supply and acquisition: distance selling: background

The term ‘distance selling’ describes transactions in which the VAT registered supplier is responsible for delivery of goods to a non-taxable person in another Member State. Mail order and internet sales are good examples of this. The non-taxable customer may be a private individual, public body, charity or any business which is too small to register or whose activities are totally exempt. It is important to note that distance selling can only occur between Member States. So mail order sales to the UK from outside the VAT territory, for instance from the Channel Islands, are not distance sales.