Can you sell on Amazon without VAT Registration?

If you are about to embark on your e-commerce business journey, Amazon FBA is likely to be one of the first places you research as a possible home for your business and you’ll need to know if you can sell on Amazon without VAT registration. Its sheer scale makes it a promising site for new e-commerce businesses, but it can be difficult to navigate all the rules.

Setting up any new business involves ensuring that you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, but the rules for e-commerce businesses are both more plentiful and more complex than those for traditional retail businesses. It needn’t be a headache, however. We’re happy to help you navigate the accounting specifics at every stage of your entrepreneurial journey.

Can you sell on Amazon without a VAT registration?

The short answer is yes, you can sell on Amazon without a VAT registration, but there are many caveats.

If you are based in the UK and all your products are sold in the UK then it is a simple matter of whether you have crossed the UK VAT threshold, which stands at £85,000 for the 19/20 tax year.

You can also choose to register for VAT voluntarily.

Selling internationally on Amazon and VAT registration

One of the many benefits of Amazon FBA is its ability to get your products to a worldwide audience with limited additional work for you. It’s an easy step to sell your product across Europe, Australia or even the U.S. but you need to stay sharp to avoid a VAT misstep.

While Amazon may aid you in selling across the globe, they are not responsible for aiding you financially, so it is always prudent to enlist an e-commerce specialist accountant to avoid costly mistakes and penalties.

The potential room for error

You must register for VAT if you are storing goods and/or selling goods and have reached the threshold, but every country’s rules are different.

You could be selling to customers in the UK and under the UK threshold, but storing items in Germany. Under German VAT rules, you must register for VAT immediately (their threshold is zero for foreign businesses) if these goods are sold to Germans or if you are using the Fulfilled by Amazon option in Germany. There are many other specifics, and that is for Germany alone.

VAT registration for Amazon FBA
Seyi Ariyo

Penalties and business cessation

As you can see, it is imperative for all e-commerce entrepreneurs to be on top of their VAT registration, even if you are only selling goods through Amazon FBA. If you fail to register for VAT in any country in which you have crossed the threshold, you can expect penalties (again, the specifics vary depending on the locale). Most countries have an immediate requirement for foreign businesses.  Failure to keep up with your VAT requirements will result in your e-commerce business to be delisted by Amazon bringing your e-commerce business to a crashing halt.

The bottom line

You can sell on Amazon without VAT registration, and if your e-commerce business is new, that is likely the case. If you are only selling in the UK, keep an eye on your turnover to ensure your business has not hit the threshold. If you are even considering selling internationally, consult an accountant with specific e-commerce experience in one or more regions to which you are selling your products.

Next steps

If you would like our team to talk you through your e-commerce business’ VAT liabilities now, or as you plan for growth, get in touch today.

The best time to act is now.