Tax and VAT

Issues when trading with countries outside the European Union

Tax and VAT issues when trading with countries outside the European Union - If you export goods to countries outside the EU (known as ‘third countries’), you must have the appropriate licences and make export declarations to customs through the National Export System (NES). You must also make sure that VAT, import taxes and duties in the destination country are paid where necessary, and follow transport procedures, though this is normally the responsibility of the importing person or company. There are a number of export procedures, such as duty relief schemes which can benefit businesses.

VAT on exports and other taxes.
When a third country receives your goods, it may charge duty. A third country may also charge their own equivalent of VAT or purchase tax.

Tax and VAT issues when trading with other countries using the Internet - Service exports make up about a quarter of UK international trade. UK businesses are major exporters in sectors such as financial services and consulting. UK businesses also buy services from overseas - such as outsourcing customer services to overseas suppliers.
Telecommunications and IT make it quick and cost-effective to trade services internationally.
Whether you are importing or exporting services, many of the same basic rules apply as for trade in goods. But there are key differences, from how services are marketed to the taxes and regulations that apply.


UK-based services exporters may also benefit from the commitments of UK trading partners under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
The EU Services Directive has removed many barriers to service businesses established in a member state to easily provide services throughout the EU.
This guide highlights the special features of trading in services and how to approach exporting or importing them.

Project Information

Information System:

UK International Trade


United Kingdom


August 14, 2021