How the VAT Reverse Charge works

Posted on 4th October 2022 by Streets Value Added Tax


Image to represent How the VAT Reverse Charge works

The VAT domestic reverse charge accounting mechanism was put in place to help prevent criminal attacks on the UK VAT system by means of sophisticated fraud.

UK businesses receiving certain specified goods and services are liable to account for UK VAT, by way of the domestic reverse charge procedure. Under the domestic reverse charge rules, it is the responsibility of the customer, rather than the supplier, to account to HMRC for VAT on supplies of the specified goods or services. It should be noted that there are exceptions within each category, and it is important to check carefully if the domestic reverse charge is required on a transaction or not. 

The specified goods that the reverse charge applies to are:

  • mobile phones
  • computer chips
  • wholesale gas
  • wholesale electricity

The specified services are:

  • emission allowances
  • wholesale telecommunications
  • renewable energy certificates
  • construction services

The following example is included in HMRC’s internal manual to help outline how the charge works:

A VAT registered UK distributor of mobile phones sells a number of mobile phones to a VAT registered UK retailer for a VAT-exclusive value of £6,000, an amount that is above the de minimis limit. The distributor does not charge VAT on the supply (£1,200), specifying on its invoice that the reverse charge applies.

The retailer will account for the distributor’s output tax (£1,200) but will also reclaim the amount as input tax, thus producing a nil net effect. The retailer now sells the mobile phones to members of the general public, charging VAT on the supply as normal.

The domestic reverse charge should not be confused with the reverse charge for cross-border services which applies to certain services from abroad.


No Advice

The content produced and presented by Streets is for general guidance and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. Furthermore, it should not be considered a recommendation or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities or other form of financial asset. The information provided by Streets is of a general nature and is not specific for any individual or entity. Appropriate and tailored advice or independent research should be obtained before making any such decisions. Streets does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which is incurred from you acting or not acting as a result of obtaining Streets' visual or audible content.

Information

The content used by Streets has been obtained from or is based on sources that we believe to be accurate and reliable. Although reasonable care has been taken in gathering the necessary information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information we publish and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions in material. You should always seek specific advice prior to making any investment, legal or tax decisions.


Expert insight and news straight
to your inbox

Related Articles


VAT reverse charge for builders

There are special VAT reverse charge rules for certain building contractors and sub-contractors. The rules, which came into effect on 1 March 2021, makes the supply of most construction services between construction or building businesses subject to


Check a VAT number

The check a UK VAT number service is available at: www.gov.uk/check-uk-vat-number. This service allows users to check: if a UK VAT registration number is valid; and the name and address of the registered business. The service also allows UK


VAT boost to charitable donations

The government is looking to introduce a new relief that would provide a VAT boost to charitable donations. The new VAT relief would be designed to encourage businesses to donate everyday items to charities without creating a VAT liability. A 12-week


You might also be interested in...