Here are some vague beliefs about selling internationally that we have formed while working with our clients.
- Americans will buy from Ireland even if the shipping and taxes are insane.
- Most Europeans prefer and expect an English speaking site when buying from abroad.
- The UK is still the easiest place for Irish companies to make money online.
- UPS, DHL, and Fedex will give you an 80% discount if you do any decent level of sales.
When Perfidious Albert was in college learning software development from Professors Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace he also had to take a module on business and taxes. When explaining VAT his lecturer described it like so...
The forestry worker cuts down a tree that he grew from a free seed. He sells it to a lumber yard for €100 plus VAT = €123.
The Lumber Yard
The lumber yard reclaims the €23 VAT so they pay just €100 for the tree. They add value to the tree by cutting it into lumber. They sell the lumber to a furniture factor for €200 + VAT = €246
The Furniture Factory
The furniture factory reclaims the €46 VAT so they pay just €200 for the lumber. They add value to the lumber by making it into a table. They sell the table to a homeware shop for €500 + VAT = €615
The Homeware Shop
The homeware shop reclaims the €115 VAT so they pay just €500 for the table. They add value to the table by merchandising and advertising it. They sell the table to a consumer for €1000 + VAT = €1230
The final value of the seed -> table has now comes home to roost with the consumer. That means the Value Added Tax has also come home to roost. The consumer cannot reclaim the VAT. Revenue pocket €230 for the hard work of the 4 businesses that added value to the seed. VAT is a tax on that added value.
- You should almost always charge VAT to Irish consumers.
- You should almost always charge VAT to Irish businesses.
- You should not charge VAT to non-Irish EU businesses.
- You should charge the local VAT rate to a consumer in another EU country if you turnover more than 10k in that country.
- You should charge the Irish VAT rate to a consumer in another EU country if you turnover less than 10k in that country.
- You should not charge VAT when selling goods to outside the EU. This includes the UK, but not Northern Ireland.
- You should always provide a VAT receipt or invoice.
All the above assume your own business is VAT registered and you should check all of the above with a tax advisor as there are lots of exceptions and we are only trying to indicate the complexities required so that you might know if you need our help with VAT in Shopify.
Depending on your courier it is now possible to charge your customers the appropriate duty for their product at the checkout. This means they get no nasty bills when their parcel is processed by customs.
We can help you integrate with all the major couriers for real time shipping rates, shipping times, and duty charges.
It is very easy to translate your checkout and general shoping experience on Shopify - it does it for you. Custom translation of product descriptions is obviously a much bigger task, but we can help (not with the translations, but with the setup!).
Using local domain names such as .es .de. pt and .uk is straightforward and we are happy to help with registration and setting up different domain names for different regions. At the very least we recommend .ie, .uk, and .eu. Combine these with a local phone number and virtual office and your customers will feel very comfortable knowing (thinking?) they are dealing with a local operation.
We will set-up multi-currency support so that your customers always see the prices in their local currency. Usually the customer can make the choice, but it will tend to default to the appropriate choice for their location. Customers in the UK will see GBP, customers in the USA will see USD.
Fill in our contact form or drop us an email and we will be in touch.