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Adding Overseas Purchases to Sales

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Newsletter issue - February 2010.

If your business is not VAT registered you need to keep a 12-month rolling total of your sales ('taxable supplies' in VAT-speak), to check this total does not exceed the VAT registration threshold (currently £68,000). Taxable supplies are those sales which would be subject to VAT (at 0%, 5% or 17.5%), if your business was VAT registered. Once your 12-month taxable supplies total exceeds the VAT registration threshold you must register your business for VAT within 30 days.

Unfortunately you now also need to keep track of the value of the services you purchase from any overseas businesses. Since 1 January 2010 most overseas services supplied to a business from another business (B2B) are subject to the reverse charge. This means you as the customer need to act as both the supplier and customer for the transaction for VAT purposes.

You must add the value of the overseas services acquired to your total purchases, and add the same value to your taxable supplies total, for VAT purposes only. The addition of the overseas services to your taxable supplies total may push this figure over the compulsory VAT registration threshold, in which case you must register your business for VAT in the UK.

It doesn't matter whether the business you are purchasing the service from is registered for VAT or not. You still have to apply the reverse charge treatment to the value of the service acquired. There are some exceptions for services relating to land and transport. Please ask us if you are uncertain about when you should apply the reverse charge or register for VAT.