Exports

For Value-Added Tax (VAT) purposes, exports are goods directly dispatched to a destination outside the European Union (EU) VAT area.

The term EU VAT area means the EU with the exception of territories that are part of EU Member States but are not regarded as being part of the EU for VAT purposes. Further guidance contains more detailed information on these territories.

What rate of VAT applies to exports?

The zero rate of VAT applies to:

  • all supplies of goods that are transported directly by or on behalf of the supplier to a destination outside the EU VAT area
  • the supply of goods that are to be dispatched or transported directly outside the EU VAT area, by or on behalf of the purchaser of the goods, where that purchaser is established outside the State.

Evidence of export of goods for VAT

The supplier of exported goods must ensure the goods have left the EU.

The following will be regarded as evidence that goods have left the EU:

  • Where you use your own vehicles to transport goods outside the EU, this is regarded as goods exported by you. In this case, the ownership of the goods is transferred to the purchaser there. Evidence that the goods have left the EU would include the export notification message (IE599) that was issued to the exporter.
  • Where goods are exported by sea, by a carrier acting on your behalf, you should obtain evidence from the shipping company. Evidence that goods have left the EU would include a copy bill of lading, or certificate of shipment, or shipping advice.
  • Where goods are exported by air, by a carrier acting on your behalf, you should obtain evidence from the airline concerned. Evidence that goods have left the EU would include a signed copy of the waybill with flight details added.
  • In the case of goods exported by post, you should obtain certificates of posting from the post office of dispatch. If you use a post book you should have it properly stamped by the post office of dispatch.

In all cases the full name and full address of the consignee must be clearly shown.

Exports to international bodies

The supply of goods or services to recognised international bodies are treated as exports.

The supplies must be within limits and conditions prescribed by the international conventions establishing the bodies. Limits and conditions may also be set by the agreements between the headquarters of those bodies, and the host Member State of the headquarters. Further guidance contains more detailed information on these rules within paragraph 3 of Schedule 2.