should i charge vat or not?

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    my uk company sold a work of art (physically in germany) to an uk based customer who plans to import it to the uk and pay the 5% art import vat.

    customer already paid. work is still in germany.

    do i need to charge vat on the invoice?

    Trevor S

    I’m assuming that:

    • your company was the owner of the work of art, rather than being an agent/marketplace arranging the sale on behalf of the actual owner, and
    • ownership has transferred to the buyer while the item was in Germany, and
    • the value exceeds £135.

    If so, I think the first question is whether you should charge German VAT – if you’re either already registered for German VAT, or should be as a result of this and/or other transactions. With the goods being sold in Germany, you would expect the transaction to be subject to German VAT unless you hold whatever evidence of export their tax authorities require.

    I don’t see that you would be required to charge UK VAT – unless ownership of the item doesn’t pass to the buyer until it arrives in the UK.

    Regarding any amount of VAT/duty payable by the buyer on import, this would be between them and HMRC.


    Just to add that if you require more detailed paid advice, please do not hesitate to contact me here – simply PM on messages.

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