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EU/UK VAT Impact on Small Game Publishers

By July 21, 2021News

On top of the dozens of other things that I juggle as a game publisher, I added a new chainsaw to my aerial acrobatics in the form of VAT taxes. The TLDR version is that I’d very much like it if you have suggestions for how¬† you manage VAT to the EU and UK. Feel free to email me at

We have turned off sales on our online store to UK and EU countries. Hopefully this is a temporary state and we can figure out VAT and turn it back on. Regardless, we’ll need to start charging tax in those countries which, on top of steep overseas shipping costs, will doubtless impact sales.

I have an accountant that I feel has done a fine job for me, but she doesn’t have a handle on international taxes – especially the new EU and UK VAT requirements.

So, here’s what I know based on the research that I’ve done:

  • I talked with various companies that can register and file regularly for me. The prices I list below are representative.
  • You can register yourself for a VAT number in the UK and EU. I tried and and failed miserably. The questions were well beyond my non-accounting powers of comprehension. Companies will register for you, for ~$550 each. It’s not cheap, but I feel more confident it will be right.
  • You’ll need to include the VAT number on shipments to the EU and UK, or your customers will be charged tax and they will not be happy about that!
  • Filing in the EU can be a one-stop solution via IOSS. Filing via IOSS can be done for all of the EU countries together. However, it’s necessary to have a representative in the EU perform the filing.
  • It’s possible to file UK yourself.
  • The price for a company to file for me is ~$850 quarterly (for UK + EU together).
  • I mentioned that I turned off sales to the EU/UK but I have a Kickstarter game ready to ship in September and hundreds of orders to those countries.
  • While I think I can turn off online sales without too much downside, but I’ve got Kickstarter shipments and European conventions to consider (e.g. Essen Spiel). One option might be to ignore the whole VAT registration and filing and tell customers up front that they will be responsible for paying VAT. I think that’s a bad option. Customers will be unhappy about having to march down to their post office to pay the VAT, rather than having their order delivered. And I’m not certain, but I think that option may be more expensive.

APE Games will need to charge EU/UK customers VAT going forward.

If you are going through this same thing and have questions, contact me and maybe I can help.

If you have any suggestions to help me with any of this then for sure contact me!



Join the discussion One Comment

  • David Miller says:

    Ugh, I feel your pain. I somehow, finally, completed the UK HMRC registration process successfully. Without having a UK bank or UK address. I went through the online form several times over the course of a few days and finally selected the proper things (the lingo was foreign to me and not the same business terms we use in the US). But … finally, we have our UK VAT number that I enter into when creating a label. I added the VAT in our Shopify shipping and it’s painfully high for our UK customers (I published a chart of VAST and shipping on our site).

    Then the EU VAT! I had no luck with the Irish One Stop Shop site at all. I finally went to the Italian VAT site and was able to register there. I just received an email requesting more info (after having registered 5 or 6 weeks ago). So I need to see what that’s all about.

    The reporting aspect of it is onerous, with the UK wanting quarterly filings … bah.

    Thank God that Canada’s DDP thing is easy to use!

    Good luck!!!

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