VAT Fundamentals

Webinar posted by Josh Banks, on behalf of Open to Export

Liz Maher (from the award winning Centurion VAT specialists team) presented the VAT fundamentals of exporting.

Centurion have been providing a wide range of businesses and public sector bodies with VAT support since 1998. Liz started her career in VAT in HM Customs and Excise before moving to Ernst & Young where she became the first female Director of Corporate VAT services in the UK before joining Centurion in 2002.

You can watch the video of the webinar below, and check out our Recent Webinars page to access all the Open to Export webinars giving practical guidance and answers to all your exporting concerns.


Here are some of the key points:

Potential impact of Brexit will be – Following the recent referendum a VAT system should remain in place regardless of what happens and nothing will change immediately to affect the current system in place. But it’s not yet known how the negotiations for our trading arrangement with the EU will affect VAT when dealing with European customers or clients.

Many exports attract a zero rate of VAT – However they can still be taxable and in order to secure the zero rate you must provide evidence. This proof of evidence includes three conditions that allow you ensure that you get a zero rate; obtaining commercial evidence, the customer’s EU VAT registration number and ensure the goods are removed from the UK into an EU member state.

Triangulation means you may not need to be VAT registered in the country of export – should there be a chain of supplies of goods involving three parties from three countries, you may not need to be VAT registered in the country where the goods are being received.

Exports and Dispatches

Throughout the webinar Liz explained the differences between exports and dispatches mentioning conditions that you need to fulfil to sell at a zero rate – including time limits, EU VAT registration numbers and indirect dispatches.

Following on from this she went on to demonstrate what happens if you don’t meet the zero rating conditions, again outlying why it is so important to provide evidence to match those conditions.

It is important to note that, in terms of the conditions to be fulfilled, there are a few contrasts between dispatches and exports, notably the time of supply for exports is the date you receive full payments or the date you send the goods to your customer