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Deducting VAT on UK Ebay purchase


Distinguished Member
Feb 10, 2005
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So I wanted to buy a pair of shoes from this guy on Ebay: http://myworld.ebay.ca/2511jacksonshoes/ I noticed that in the auction it states that UK VAT @ 20% is included in the list price. I asked the seller if he offered a VAT deduction to buyers outside the UK (I'm in Canada). This is what he replied:
Sorry no you would have to claim the vat back yourself.Yours Andrew
Now I'm confused, since I thought that the seller is supposed to discount the tax, seeing as he is selling them directly overseas. I do understand that if you were to purchase a pair of shoes while in the UK and then bring them back you could claim the tax back from Her Majesty's Customs on departure. So how am I supposed to claim the tax back once it's been delivered to Canada? Is this a legit move? Am I missing something? Or is this guy running a side Ebay business and can't be arsed to deduct VAT (probably because he gets away with not paying tax anyway)?


Distinguished Member
Feb 5, 2010
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Basically if you are a registered business then you will pay the VAT on items you sell.

This guy is obviously just selling the items which he has already bought. Thus he has paid VAT on them, and is passing that on to you. There's no way around that really.

I suspect the reason he tells you that VAT is included is so that he can't then charge another 20% on top the auction price; a trick that could be used to increase the final sale price of an item.


Jan 18, 2011
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"Claiming back the VAT" is incorrect. What is supposed to happen is that the seller zero-rates the items for VAT when selling it to you, and you get it at the ex-VAT price, but when it comes into the country, you pay GST (or whatever it is) at the Canadian rate.

Problem is, unless the seller is a proper business that does a lot of international selling, they are very unlikely to do all that and it will make a mess of their ebay accounting - and if they are not VAT registered (as they might not be) will probably take the short-term view that they are losing the VAT that they have already paid out to get the item in the first place.

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