Amazon Marketplace and VAT

Amazon Marketplace sellers registered for VAT are missing a trick by not saying so.

I sell books and I am registered for VAT. Because books are zero rated I don’t have to charge VAT but because I am registered I am able to reclaim the VAT element on the purchases I make as part of the selling process.

Amongst other places I buy on Amazon (who doesn’t) but I am frustrated with Amazon Marketplace sellers who do not state their VAT status. Amazon lists items at VAT inclusive prices. If sellers are registered for VAT they should be shouting the fact from the rooftops because it means that trade buyers, like myself, will be able to reclaim the VAT element of any purchase. This makes their price much more competitive.

Take ink cartridges as an example. I buy ink cartridges by the half dozen at a time. A number of ink cartridge sellers are based in the Channel Islands and at first glance their prices may just have the edge over mainland sellers. Channel Island sellers do not charge VAT. However if you dig deeper on the status of those Amazon Marketplace sellers with mainland addresses you may find some who are registered for VAT.

The irritating part is that they rarely say so. For my last purchase I found a UK based seller offering ink cartridges at slightly more than his Channel Island competitors without saying that he was registered for VAT.¬† I had to contact the seller direct to ask if they would supply me with¬† a VAT invoice. Having established that they would I placed an order but by not saying so in the first place they must be losing sales to others who can’t be bothered to enquire further. Wake up UK mainland Amazon Marketplace sellers!


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