New rules introduced to tackle online VAT fraud

New rules aimed at combating online VAT fraud have been introduced by the government.

The rules, which were first announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond during the 2017 Autumn Budget, strengthen the powers to make online marketplaces accountable for VAT fraud perpetrated by online sellers using their platforms.

Under the government’s new rules, online marketplaces will be liable for any unpaid tax if they do not remove sellers who fail to pay VAT from their sites.

The regulations apply to both UK sellers and those based overseas.

Marketplaces are also now required to ensure that sellers using their platforms display a valid VAT number. The government hopes that this will help potential buyers to make an ‘informed choice’ in regard to purchasing goods from a VAT-registered business.  

Commenting on the introduction of the new rules, Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Whilst the honest majority pay what they owe, some businesses that sell goods online to UK shoppers are failing to pay the correct amount of VAT.

‘We are clear that everyone must pay their fair share of tax, and tackling tax evasion in all its forms is a top priority for the government.’

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