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UK VAT Split Payments consultation

  • EU VAT
  • 1 April 2018 | Richard Asquith

UK VAT Split Payments consultation

The UK has announced in the March 2018 Spring Statement a further public consultation on adopting anti-VAT fraud Split Payments on e-commerce. The mechanism would require the VAT-element of online sales to be paid directly to the UK tax authorities at the time of purchase.

Split Payments are already used to a limited extent in Italy and Austria to tackle VAT fraud. Romania has introduced it this year on companies in financial difficulties. Poland is planning to introduce it on some transactions from 1 July 2018.

UK extends Split Payments debate.

The UK first called for public views on Spilt Payments in the 2017 Spring Budget. This builds on other anti-VAT fraud measures introduced in 2016 and 2017. HMRC has estimated that fraud by non-resident online retailers may be costing £1.5billion in unreported VAT. It believes that by requiring VAT to be paid directly to it at the time of the online sale this could significantly reduce missing revenues.

Issues for Split Payment consultation

The questions to be reviewed in the latest consultation includes:

  • Which party in the transaction is best placed to identify and pay the VAT element directly to the tax authorities. At present, the UK believes it is either: for UK transactions, the merchant; and for non-UK residents, the credit card payments companies.
  • The role of online marketplaces in determining the VAT and Split Payment calculations
  • How to calculate the VAT due
  • Timetable to build the optimum IT by all parties
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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He is part of the European leadership team which this year won International Tax Review's Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.