Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am VAT registered?
You can't be VAT registered without your knowledge. If your business is VAT registered, you will have received a VAT number from the UK Government (or, if you are based in another EU member state, from the government of that member state).
Who do I need to register with?
In the UK, you need to register with HM Revenue & Customs. (If you are based in another EU member state, you need to register with that member state's tax authorities.)
I have a VAT number - how do I register for VAT-exempt status on eBay.co.uk?
In order to register for VAT-exempt status on eBay.co.uk, you must first go through our business registration process. As part of this process, you will be given the option to enter your VAT number.
If you have already completed business registration, but you didn't enter a VAT number, enter it now.
What are the changes to eBay’s EU structure?
We have set up a new entity in the European Union, located in Luxembourg, called eBay Europe, S.à r.l. This entity will become the new contractual partner for all our EU-based members. This change will help us create a level playing field with all EU-based sellers becoming subject to the same rate of tax on their eBay selling fees - the Luxembourg VAT rate of 15%.
When do they take effect?
March 1st, 2007.
How do they affect me?
What this means for you depends on whether or not you have a valid VAT number issued to you by an EU government (HM Revenue & Customs in the UK) and whether or not you have registered for VAT-exempt status with an eBay site in the EU.
Find Out More.
Please note that the net fees for eBay Motors Pro listings will remain unchanged.
How long will VAT registration take?
You will need to contact HM Revenue & Customs, or the tax authorities of the EU member state where you are based (as applicable) directly to find out how long VAT registration will take.
How long does it take to register for VAT-exempt status on eBay?
If you are registered on eBay.co.uk, and want to register your VAT number, it should take you a matter of minutes. First, you need to register as a business, when you will be given the option to enter your VAT number. If you are already registered as a business on eBay.co.uk, but haven't entered your VAT number, enter it now. This will also take you a matter of minutes.
Do I have to go through eBay business registration to register for VAT-exempt status on eBay?
If you are registered on eBay.co.uk, you will have to go through business registration in order to register your VAT number. If you have a VAT number in the UK, this is a clear indication to us that you are running a business. We think it is advantageous to identify businesses trading on the site as their needs are often different, and this helps us serve your needs better.
Will my invoice stay the same?
If you are already registered for VAT-exempt status on eBay, your invoice will stay exactly the same. If not, it will change. Your invoice will no longer specify the amount of VAT you pay. Your invoice will state the total amount due (fees + VAT). This total will include VAT at the Luxembourg rate of 15%, where applicable. Please note that we will no longer be able to supply information as to how much VAT you have been charged.
Will the billing cycles change?
No. You will be billed on exactly the same dates each month as you are now.
Will I pay more?
The change in eBay's structure in the EU will lead to a slight change in the prices we offer to VAT-exempt sellers.
For example, if your net fees are currently £1.00, the gross fee is £1.175 (£1.00 + 17.5% VAT). eBay will not be changing gross fees, so in this example the gross fee would remain £1.175. However, from 1st March, this gross fee will include VAT at the Luxembourg rate of 15%. That means that the net fee will increase slightly to £1.022 (£1.175÷(1+15%)).
What does this mean if I am an eBay Motors Pro seller?
eBay Motors Pro dealers are always invoiced selling fees net of VAT. The amount of these fees will not change.
Why have you made these changes?
These changes will help us create a level playing field with all EU-based sellers becoming subject to the same rate of tax on their eBay selling fees - the Luxembourg VAT rate of 15%.
Is this happening to eBay countries across the EU? When?
Yes. These changes took effect in Germany and Austria January 1st, 2007, and will take effect for the remaining eBay countries in the EU on March 1st, 2007.
Does this affect my shops (etc) subscription fees?
No. Shops and other subscription fees will remain the same.
Does this affect me if I only sell on the eBay.com site?
No, this is an EU-wide change only.
Why did eBay choose Luxembourg as the location for its new EU entity?
We wanted to create an establishment in the EU for a number of reasons. In selecting our point of establishment, we took into account various business and operational criteria, and Luxemburg offered a number of specific advantages, including advantageous geographical position and availability of multi-lingual resources to work in our operations. It was also very helpful that we already have a team from Skype there.
Does this mean that you are moving the European headquarter from Bern to Luxembourg?
No. Our European headquarters, eBay International AG, will remain in Bern. The new operations in Luxembourg are in addition to existing ones.
Why did eBay choose to change its VAT structure by setting up a new entity in Luxembourg?
We found Luxembourg to be an advantageous position for our new EU entity, primarily for operational reasons. It also has a favourable VAT rate of 15% which allows us to remain competitive in our customer offerings versus other players in the industry.
Which eBay users will be most affected by this change? In which countries?
In general, this change does not affect buyers and private sellers. The change affects business sellers on all eBay sites within the European Union. However, the specific impact will vary by country based upon our pricing policies in individual markets. In general - business sellers who do not have a VAT number (or who have a VAT number but have not registered it with an EU eBay site), will continue to be billed for "gross" eBay selling fees (i.e. including VAT). Gross fees will not be changing as a result of the change to eBay's VAT structure. Business sellers who have registered a VAT number with an EU eBay site will be billed for their eBay selling fees "net" of VAT at the Luxembourg rate of 15%.
How many users will be affected by this change?
It's difficult to estimate the exact number of users that will be affected by this change, but we believe it is less than half of all of our EU-based sellers.
Does this mean eBay is trying to shirk its tax responsibilities by changing its EU structure?
Absolutely not. We are setting up the new entity in Luxembourg for numerous business reasons, which include putting us in a more competitive position and creating a level playing field for our EU-based sellers. We will continue, as we always have done, to satisfy all our tax responsibilities.
How many employees will be affected by this change? Will they have to move from Switzerland to Luxembourg?
We are actually adding some headcount in the Luxembourg office, and many of these employees will be new to eBay and not necessarily employees that are relocating from Switzerland. This change will create further employment opportunities at eBay.
Is eBay planning any other changes to its European operations?
We are always looking for ways to streamline our operations in Europe. However, at this point, the use of an EU-based contracting party (eBay Europe S.a r.l.) and the addition of eBay staff in Luxembourg are the only changes we're announcing.
If you are established in Luxembourg, will this have an impact on your current level of consumer and data protection?
There will be no changes to the level of protection. As before, mandatory consumer protection provisions of the country of the consumer remain applicable. eBay International AG and eBay Europe S.à r.l will jointly be the data controller with regard to the processing of eBay users' personal information in the context of registration of new users and billing. eBay International AG will remain the sole data controller with regard to any other processing of eBay users' personal information.
As a business-seller can I get a VAT-included invoice from eBay and claim the VAT back at the end of the year from my local tax authorities?
You will no longer be able to claim back the VAT from HMRC, The Irish Revenue Commissioners or another tax authority. As a business seller you should apply for a VAT-exempt invoice. You will need to provide your correct VAT number to eBay, as well as register for VAT-exempt status on eBay.
I have a small business. I do not claim back VAT from tax authorities and do not have therefore a VAT number.
There will be no change for you. As before, you will be billed for gross eBay selling fees (i.e. including VAT).
Will my invoices change?
Invoices sent to sellers without VAT-exemption (private sellers and business sellers who have not applied for VAT-exempt status on eBay) will no longer specify the amount of VAT sellers pay. Such invoices will state the total amount due (fees + VAT). This total will include VAT at the Luxembourg rate of 15%, where applicable.
What is the reason for this?
This is a consequence of the change in eBay's EU structure. Invoices will be standardised within the EU and sent from the Luxembourg-based eBay Europe S.á r.l. Therefore they will be subject to Luxembourg law. This will allow each of the EU eBay sites to charge uniform gross fees throughout the EU regardless of the place of residence of the seller. Previously gross fees were adjusted to take account of the various VAT rates which applied to eBay members who listed items on eBay sites in countries where they were not resident.