Many EU countries require that a fiscal representative be appointed for a non-EU company that requires a VAT registration in that country. The tax authorities regard a fiscal representative as the local agent of the foreign trader. In many cases, the fiscal representative is still held jointly and severally liable for the taxes of the trader. As a result, it is therefore industry practice to require a full bank guarantee in favour of the fiscal representative to protect it from losses, which is an added cost.

Countries that do not require a fiscal representative are in the minority and include Germany, Czech Republic, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands. If you are considering holding inventory in another EU country this may influence your choice of country.

Alternatively, you could consider forming a company in an EU country in order to obtain simplified direct VAT registration. That of course brings with it the need to maintain separate accounts and report and pay taxes in that country.

Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (“EORI”)

Many UK businesses will already have an EORI number for the purposes of moving goods from outside the EU. From 1 January 2021, you will require an EU EORI number in order to move goods from outside the EU to a country within the EU. The EORI should be requested from the customs authorities of the EU country in which any goods first land.