WooCommerce UK VAT: How to reverse charge UK VAT after Brexit

May 27, 2021

Discover a quick and easy workaround to continue letting B2B customers order without paying UK VAT, even after Brexit.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020, most WooCommerce EU VAT plugins no longer fully support UK VAT. That's because the UK is no longer part of the EU, so you can't validate UK VAT numbers using the European VIES database.

At Barn2, we have already integrated our Easy Digital Downloads EU VAT plugin with the UK's new VAT number database. However, that's no use for WooCommerce users!

In this article, I will share a quick and easy workaround which is an alternative to reverse charging UK VAT on the WooCommerce checkout.

Suggested solution for WooCommerce UK VAT

Let's say that you have a WooCommerce store and charge UK VAT on B2C sales to consumers in Great Britain. However, you're not required to charge UK VAT on B2B (business-to-business) transactions.

Before Brexit, you would install a WooCommerce EU VAT plugin which would let customers reverse charge the UK VAT on the checkout. But things are more complicated now.

If you don't want to pay a developer to integrate your store with the UK VAT number database, then there is another option.

Simply install the WooCommerce Wholesale Pro plugin. Use it to create a separate user role for B2B customers in the UK. The plugin has a setting to disable tax for each wholesale role. That way, you can continue charging VAT to other UK customers - while removing tax for B2B users.

Install WooCommerce Wholesale Pro today and let B2B users place orders without paying tax.

How to remove UK VAT for B2B users

  1. Install WooCommerce Wholesale Pro on your WordPress website.
  2. Go to WooCommerce → Settings → Wholesale. If you want to disable tax for all your B2B users then tick the 'Disable tax' field, then skip ahead to step ???.
  3. If you want to disable tax for some B2B customers but not others, then go to the 'Wholesale Roles' page and create two roles: one for B2B users who do pay tax, and another for those who won't. On the 'Create Role' page, set the 'Tax Status' to 'Disabled'.
  4. Now go to Users → Add New and create an account for each of your UK B2B customers. Or if they already have an account, change their user role to the new wholesale role where tax is disabled.
  5. When the B2B customer logs in, they will see prices without UK VAT, and can place orders without paying tax.

How can I check people's UK VAT numbers?

Of course, this method assumes that you have already made sure the B2B user has a valid VAT number. This is important because the WooCommerce checkout won't be verifying this.

WooCommerce Wholesale Pro comes with a wholesale registration form, which you can add additional fields to. Add a 'VAT number' field. When a new user registers, use the UK VAT database to make sure it's valid. Do this before adding them as a non-tax paying user.

Where to get the plugin

As you can see, creating a user role with tax disabled is an easy way to let B2B users order without paying UK VAT.

Of course, disabling tax is only a tiny part of what WooCommerce Wholesale Pro can do. You can also use it to set wholesale discounts, offer different payment and shipping options to B2B users, and even to list wholesale products in a quick one-page order form.

To get started, get the WooCommerce Wholesale Pro plugin and install it today:

Install WooCommerce Wholesale Pro today and let B2B users place orders without paying tax.

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