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How do UK shop owners deal with international VAT?


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Hi.  I am based in the UK and run a couple of small businesses, selling purely on Etsy and eBay.  I am not VAT registered.

Now looking to develop my own Cubecart shop so it FINALLY gets to go online.  I am seeking advice from UK based shop owners as to how you deal with the VAT element on international sales.  Currently Etsy and eBay have systems in place to sort all this out so the customer isn't suddenly presented with a VAT bill on delivery to international customers.

From my understanding, the VAT rules have changed in the last three years.  Is there something that can be done within Cubecart (or outside) to stop international customers being given an  additional VAT charge before they can get their items.  I know the easy solution is to limit my sales purely to UK customers, but that defeats the object of having an international audience on the web.

Not looking to become VAT registered, but would welcome any guidance from existing shop owners as to how you deal with this issue.


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Thanks for the reply Al...  One of the differences I guess is Cubecart and it's marketplace offerings are all digital products, where a buyer can just pay and instantly download  from their own country. 

With physical products it a different scenario where you have a physical item travelling through a customs parcel facility, which they or that countries delivery services won't release if any fees are due.

At one time you could import things into the UK and pay no VAT (or import duties) if it was below an £18 threshold.  The same applied to exports also.

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