General 107: Amazon Business Accounts – Purchases From International Sellers

Thank you to all schools who have been sending in their Amazon-related paperwork for our compliance review, which is now complete.

Please note the following new guidance, which relates to purchases from Amazon International Sellers outside the European Union (e.g. America, India, China etc).

If your purchase is from a non-EU supplier, they should be VAT-registered and provide a VAT invoice to cover the transaction.  You can check who your supplier is and whether they are VAT registered by clicking on the Seller’s Name and viewing their ‘Detailed Information’.

Purchases from non-VAT-registered international suppliers risk seizure by HMRC, with additional charges imposed on your school for VAT, Import Duty and administration fees, before they are released. The Council could potentially face further financial penalties and enquiries from HMRC.

To avoid compliance issues, and for the correct recovery of VAT, we strongly suggest:

  • the Amazon account is established in the name of the school; and
  • the Amazon settings are updated to only show sellers who are VAT registered and able to provide the school with a VAT invoice.

You can also check the validity of the seller’s advertised VAT registration number at the VIES website as you would ordinarily do.

Where your school makes a purchase from any overseas seller (EU or non-EU) and no VAT is charged, please continue to send the paperwork immediately to the VAT team so that they may consider the VAT treatment of the transaction within the same calendar month.

Where the school receives a valid VAT invoice addressed to the school then this can be processed through the school finance system (FMS) in the usual way, observing the usual VAT rules.  Where VAT is charged but no GB VAT number identified on the invoice then the VAT cannot be reclaimed and the invoice would need to be processed as code 9 (outside the scope of VAT).

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah in the VAT team on 01392 382842 / email vat@devon.gov.uk

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