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It can be difficult to know where you stand regarding EU VAT changes and European tax laws. There have been sweeping changes implemented in recent years.

This blog breaks down the major updates, including the EU VAT reform, to help ensure your business is on the right path. Additionally, you can speak with our team of experts for personalised assistance with VAT compliance or have a look at our solutions for VAT compliance for e-commerce.

What is EU VAT reform?

To keep up with the digital age, the EU changed how its VAT system works in July 2021. The EU e-Commerce VAT Package was part of this. So was the One Stop Shop (OSS), which intends to make cross-border trade less of a headache.

With OSS, companies can declare and remit the VAT due on certain sales in a single language and within just one Member State tax administration.

OSS introduced three schemes:

What are the latest EU tax laws and changes?

Prior to the EU VAT reform, e-commerce sellers of goods needed to have a VAT registration for each of the EU Member States that they traded in – providing they had a turnover above a particular threshold. The threshold was dependent on the country.

With the changes that arrived on 1 July 2021, these thresholds were replaced by a single, universal threshold of €10,000 for EU businesses. If turnover exceeds that figure, VAT must be paid in the Member State where the goods are delivered. Non-EU businesses have no threshold.

What is the current EU VAT rate?

While the EU’s lowest agreed standard rate is 15% as per the VAT Directive. Luxembourg has the lowest standard rate at 17%, whereas Hungary has the highest at 27%. Other countries fall within that range.

What has changed since July 2021?

On 8 December 2022, the European Commission proposed changes in relation to the VAT in the Digital Age initiative.

While nothing was been implemented at the time of publishing, the proposal offers up significant changes and is one of the more prominent developments in the history of VAT in Europe.

The Commission proposes changes to the VAT Directive, specifically affecting:

Again, the regulatory change is yet to come into effect. It requires formal adoption by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, as well as a unanimous positive vote by the Member States but if approved these will include significant changes.

Do I now have to pay VAT on EU goods?

If your company is based in the EU then VAT is likely to be chargeable on both purchases and sales of goods within the region. Exceptions do exist, however.

Where VAT is charged depends on the type of supply and is determined by the EU’s place of supply rules which determine where VAT is due, i.e., country of supplier or country of delivery.

What is OSS and does it come with new tax regulations?

The One Stop Shop abolished distance selling thresholds that were in place and created a centralised electronic platform for VAT. The change means that where intra-EU supplies exceed the €10,000 EU threshold (no threshold for non-EU companies), VAT is due in the Member State of the delivery – regardless of the level of sales in that country.

European businesses can take care of all their VAT obligations for sales across the entirety of the EU through the OSS. The scheme allows for any VAT due to be accounted for in a single VAT return, making life easier for businesses that trade across the EU. Companies trading in the EU are eligible to utilise OSS, and there is also a non-union OSS scheme for businesses outside the EU for digital supplies.

Visit our OSS guide for more in-depth knowledge of the scheme.

Get in touch today to understand how ever-changing VAT e-commerce rules in the EU affect your business.


Still have questions? Maybe we have answered them already below:

Will VAT change when we leave the EU?

The most recent country to leave the EU was the United Kingdom. The UK hasn’t changed its VAT system however businesses selling into Europe have needed to change their business practices.

Is the UK still in the EU for VAT purposes?

No, the UK maintains its own VAT rate and tax system. Different rules apply for businesses in Northern Ireland.

Can EU countries change VAT?

Yes, an EU country can change its VAT rate within the guidelines set by the EU VAT Reform.

The EU VAT E-Commerce package has been in place since 1 July 2021. This applies to intra-EU B2C supplies of goods and imports of low value goods. Three schemes make up the package. These are based on the value of goods and the location of the sale of goods.

All OSS schemes are currently optional. The schemes mean taxpayers can register in a single EU Member State and account for the VAT due in other Member States.

For companies outside of the EU, the package schemes that apply are:

Want to understand how OSS and IOSS work? Keep reading!

Have IOSS specific questions? Our tax experts answer common questions in our IOSS guide. Or learn more about VAT compliance for eCommerce here.

How to ship to Europe

Exporting products to the EU is challenging. Couriers often have a bewildering number of services. Prices differ from service to service.

There’s no easy way to find fast, cost-effective shipping services, but here are tips to help:

  1. Look for couriers that have information about IOSS and OSS on their websites already
  2. Familiarise yourself with customs forms for the country of import
  3. Ask your courier how they support the schemes and can support your business
  4. Confirm if your carrier can act as an indirect customs representative if you do not have an EU establishment

Does my company need a VAT number?

Businesses with a certain turnover must register for VAT. This varies from country to country. For example, the UK’s VAT threshold is £85,000 for established businesses. If you are interested in a business solution, please get in touch with our sales team.

How do I get a VAT number?

Registering for VAT takes time. Each Member State has its own process for obtaining a VAT number. VAT compliance differs from Member State to Member State.

For non-EU companies, appointing a Fiscal Representative might be necessary. A Fiscal Representative acts on behalf of companies in a local VAT jurisdiction, managing VAT reporting and other requirements. For IOSS, most non-EU businesses will need an IOSS intermediary.

We know registering for VAT is difficult and involves understanding place of supply rules, fiscal representation and many other elements.

The EU VAT E-Commerce package enables taxpayers to register in one Member State to account for VAT in all Member States.

Benefits of applying for a VAT number as a non-EU business

In most cases, a VAT number will be mandatory because of your business’ activity; in some cases, it will be voluntary. There are many benefits to applying for a VAT number.

These include preventing financial penalties and receiving EU VAT refunds. EU VAT refunds depend on certain circumstances, such as on VAT exempt items.

How to register for OSS

The OSS scheme is currently optional. Before registering businesses should consider the benefits and impact on their supply chain.

When a supplier obtains either an the Member State that grants the VAT number becomes known as the Member State of Identification.

Registering for OSS in the UK

As the UK is no longer part of the EU, registering for OSS as a UK business means using the Non-Union OSS, Union OSS or IOSS schemes. There is no need to have a normal VAT registration in the EU to apply for IOSS or a non-Union OSS VAT registration, however, a local EU registration is required before obtaining the OSS registration.

The first step is to understand if an needs appointing. The intermediary, usually an agent or broker, submits the IOSS returns on behalf of the company.

The UK business will need to choose the Member State it wants to register with for the non-Union OSS scheme.

If the UK business has warehouses in the EU, then the company will still need local in each Member State with a warehouse, but they can choose one Member State for OSS registration.

The Northern Ireland Protocol adds even more complexity to cross-border trade. Stop browsing the internet for unhelpful answers; contact our experts for advice instead.

Our team of experts can help you understand OSS and IOSS further. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today, especially about the Northern Ireland Protocol’s effect on trade.


FAQ for non-EU countries

What is VAT number called in USA?

The USA doesn’t have VAT. The equivalent is Sales Tax, with its own permit and tax ID.

DO US companies have a VAT number?

If a US company wants to sell goods into Europe it can register for a VAT number with the relevant Member State tax authority. The business’ supply chain will determine if / where a VAT registration is required.

Do US companies have to pay UK VAT?

This depends on the product or service and whether the US company has activity in the UK that requires it to become VAT registered such as selling low value goods or importing in its own name into the UK.

How much is international shipping to Europe?

The cost of international shipping to Europe varies, depending on where you send goods from and how quick delivery is.

How much does it cost to ship from USA to Europe?

Costs for shipping from the USA to Europe vary, depending on if they are express or standard shipping times. Different couriers charge different prices too.

What is the cheapest way to ship a package from USA to Europe?

This depends on package size, insurance and delivery speed.

How long is shipping from EU to US?

Shipping from the EU to the US can take anywhere from four days to four weeks, depending on customs and import requirements.


You want to sell and trade within the EU with ease?

Speak to our experts. They will navigate you through the complexities of the EU VAT landscape.