How do I configure VAT on my ecommerce platform?

This does not constitute professional tax advice. We strongly advise consulting a tax specialist to find out your specific obligations.

Configuring the correct tax rate for multiple countries is complicated and, depending on your platform, not always possible.

For example, let's say you have the Bella+Canvas 3001 synced to your store. This is a shirt that's available in the USA and some color variants are also printed at our Europe location. It's not possible to charge VAT only on the colors that are available in Europe, which poses a problem.

It's also customary for European customers that retail prices already include tax. So it could come as an unwelcome surprise to see an extra VAT charged at checkout, which may prompt an abandoned cart.

Right now, there is no easy solution. But here are some suggestions:

  1. If you are interested in targeting the EU market, then first research whether you need to register as a VAT payer and charge VAT to your customers. For example, if you're located in the EU and haven't reached your country's sales threshold, you're not obligated to charge VAT. More info here.
  2. If you're not interested in the EU market or don't think you'll be getting a lot of sales, you might consider not targeting Europe at all. Configuring VAT requires a lot of time and research – the work might not be worth your while if customers in the European Union make up a small fraction of your current or forecasted audience.
  3. If you're not a registered VAT payer but sell our Europe fulfilled products to EU customers, then pay attention to how our 21% VAT charge impacts your margins. If you don't have a lot of customers in the EU, consider absorbing the cost of VAT. If you find your margins are too low, then consider raising your prices to account for our VAT charge. You could offer a special collection of products to Europe and configure charging VAT for those alone so you don't overcharge other products. Keep in mind we calculate VAT based on Printful prices plus shipping, not your end-prices.
  4. Open a second online store catered specifically to the European Union. Consider using two domains (.com or .co.uk), setting up redirects, or letting customers choose which version of the store they want to see. Then on your EU store, add only products we have in Europe and charge VAT more easily. This will also make configuring your shipping easier if you're not using our live rates.

Take a look at specific instructions for each platform here:


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