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Taxes and import charges

When you sell on eBay, you're responsible for complying with all applicable tax laws. If you ship a package internationally, you should inform them about the potential import charges they'll need to pay when they receive their item. The import charges are usually due once the package arrives in the destination country. In certain countries, and in line with local legislation, eBay will collect import taxes from buyers. In these cases, eBay will display the taxes to the buyer at checkout.

Sellers' tax responsibilities

You are responsible for paying all fees and taxes associated with using eBay as an eBay seller. For more information on eBay's tax policy and your obligations, see our Tax policy and User Agreement.

Your tax-related responsibilities may include:

  • Paying VAT on eBay selling fees
  • Paying VAT on eBay sales
  • Paying income tax on eBay sales
  • Informing overseas buyers about import charges

Charging VAT on eBay sales

If you're based in the the United Kingdom or in the European Union (EU), you may have to collect VAT on items you sell on eBay. If you're not sure whether this applies to your sales, visit one the following sites, or seek professional tax advice.

If you're required to charge VAT on your items, here's what you need to do:

  • When you list items on eBay, include VAT in the price. You may not add VAT to the final price after a buyer has won or bought an item
  • Pay the VAT to the relevant tax authority

Visit our Your VAT obligations in the UK & EU - opens in new window or tab article to learn more about VAT for international selling.

In 2021, there will be significant changes to the collection of VAT on items imported into the UK and EU, as well as certain shipments within the EU and UK. We've outlined below how these will affect eBay sellers.

Sales into and within the UK

From 1 January 2021, the UK introduced legislation which shifts the responsibility for collecting VAT for online purchases from sellers to marketplaces such as eBay in certain circumstances.

  1. eBay is obliged to collect UK VAT on goods sold through eBay to UK customers in the following circumstances:
    • Goods imported into the UK, with a parcel value of up to £135. Note that there is no longer a VAT exemption for small consignments up to £15
    • Goods of any value sold by a non-UK seller, and shipped from inventory stored in the UK. Sellers may still have UK VAT obligations, and should consult their tax advisors for further information
    If an order fits either of these criteria, neither sellers nor carriers should collect VAT from UK buyers. eBay will collect the VAT from the buyer and remit it to HMRC.
  2. If a buyer requires a refund – cancellation, full refund, less than full refund, or partial refund – eBay will refund the VAT to the buyer in cases where eBay collected the VAT on the original transaction.
  3. eBay is obligated to collect UK VAT on the full value of the transaction including shipping costs, as the shipping costs are considered part of the total purchase. The VAT on the shipping charges apply at the same rate as the item(s) in the shipment.
  4. eBay will not collect UK VAT if:
    • Consignment values are above £135. In practice, the recipient pays import VAT to the shipping agent as part of clearing the package through customs
    • The buyer is UK VAT-registered and provides their valid UK VAT registration number. In these cases, eBay will not collect UK VAT and instead the responsibility to account for VAT will switch to the UK VAT-registered customer
    • Consignments of goods containing excise goods such as alcohol and tobacco are imported into the UK. More information: Importing excise goods to the UK from the EU

Sales into and within the EU

From 1 July 2021, the EU will implement legislation which shifts the responsibility for collecting VAT for online purchases from sellers to marketplaces such as eBay in certain circumstances.

  1. eBay is obliged to collect VAT on goods sold through eBay to EU customers in the following circumstances:
    • Goods imported into the EU, with a parcel value of up to EUR 150. Note that there is no longer a VAT exemption for small consignments up to EUR 22
    • Goods of any value sold by a non-EU seller, and shipped from inventory stored in the EU. Sellers may still have EU VAT obligations, and should consult their tax advisors for further information
    If an order fits either of these criteria, neither sellers nor carriers should collect VAT from buyers in the EU. eBay will collect the VAT from the buyer based on the country of delivery and remit it to the responsible tax authorities.
  2. If a buyer requires a refund – cancellation, full refund, less than full refund, or partial refund – eBay will refund the VAT to the buyer in cases where eBay collected the VAT on the original transaction.
  3. eBay is obligated to collect VAT on the full value of the transaction including shipping costs, as the shipping costs are considered part of the total purchase. The VAT on the shipping charges apply at the same rate as the item(s) in the shipment.
  4. eBay will not collect VAT if:
    • Consignment values are above EUR 150. In practice, the recipient pays import VAT to the shipping agent as part of clearing the package through customs
    • The buyer is VAT-registered and provides their valid VAT registration number. In these cases, eBay will not collect VAT and instead the responsibility to account for VAT will switch to the VAT-registered customer
    • Consignments of goods containing excise goods such as alcohol and tobacco are imported into the EU
    • For imports where the buyer is EU VAT-registered and provides their valid EU VAT identification number. In these cases, eBay will not collect EU VAT and instead the respective Customs Authority/carrier will collect upon importation

Other changes in EU VAT

Effective 1 July 2021, the current distance selling VAT registration thresholds for intra-EU cross-border supplies will be abolished and will be replaced with the EU-wide threshold of EUR 10,000. If your intra-EU distance sales are above the threshold of EUR 10,000, you will have to charge VAT based on the delivery country either through:

  1. A direct VAT registration for each Member State you are selling to, or
  2. Using the One Stop Shop (OSS).

From 1 April 2021, you will be able to register for VAT in one Member State and declare and pay VAT due in other Member States using the One Stop Shop (OSS).

If your intra-EU sales remain below EUR 10,000, you can continue to declare and pay VAT to the EU countries in line with your existing VAT obligations.

If you are uncertain about how the new rules apply to your business, you should consult your tax advisor.

Paying income tax on eBay sales

By law, sellers have to declare and pay taxes on income earned from eBay sales. We recommend checking with a tax advisor to understand your responsibilities.

Informing overseas buyers about import charges

When you sell to buyers outside the UK or EU, import fees – including taxes and customs charges – will apply for the country you're sending the item to.

Some countries and jurisdictions require eBay to collect import tax from the buyer when they pay for their order. Consignments where eBay does not collect taxes will require buyers to pay additional import fees (e.g. VAT and duties).

The fees are usually based on the item's price, postage weight, dimensions and country of origin, plus any taxes, duties, and fees from the country you're sending the item to.

Buyers are responsible for paying import fees, usually as part of clearing their parcel through customs, or when they receive their item. If you offer international postage, you can't include these costs in the item's purchase and postage price. Make sure to let international buyers know about this in your listings.

Tip
If your item's being sent using the Global Shipping Programme, eBay will inform the buyer about import charges and these will be included in the order total at checkout.

For further information on jurisdictions where eBay collects taxes, please see our Tax policy.

When you sell on eBay, unless otherwise called out by eBay or required by legislation it's up to you to pay VAT on selling fees and to collect and account for applicable taxes on sales you make on eBay.

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