EC VAT exemption - which VAT rate to use?

When creating/entering an invoice from an EC supplier with EC VAT exemption, do I use the VAT rate from the suppliers country or UK VAT of 20%?

Up until now I have been using the supplier’s country’s VAT rate (usually higher than 20%) which means that the figure in box 4 of the VAT return is higher than would be expected for the value entered in box 7 (presumably because the UK rate of 20% is assumed). HMRC system always alerts this though so I wondered if I was doing this incorrectly? Don’t think it makes a huge difference given the EC VAT exemption process but still would like to know.

Any help greatly appreciated.

You use the UK rate - the idea is that you declare the amount of VAT you would have paid had you bought the same items at the same price from a supplier in the UK. This isn’t necessarily as simple as just a blanket 20% on everything, for example I buy a mixture of general food items and chocolate from Germany, which are all 7% VAT over there but a mix of 0% and 20% under UK rules.

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