Invoice from supplier only VAT number

I bought something cheap (9.90) from ebay and when I asked for invoice I got message:

Hello. Thank you for your message.
Here is the VAT number:GB 27******
You can apply it with this number.

It is legal to create purchase in such way? I thought I should get correct invoice.

A VAT registered supplier selling to a VAT registered customer must issue a proper VAT invoice if the customer asks for it ( What they’ve given you so far isn’t sufficient for you to reclaim the VAT.


This is what you need from them - they don’t need to supply a full VAT invoice for such a small amount, but they do need to give the following:

"If the charge you make for the individual supply is:

£250 or less (including VAT), then you can issue an invoice showing your name, address and VAT registration number, the time of supply (tax point), a description which identifies the goods or services supplied, and for each VAT rate applicable, the total amount payable, including VAT shown in sterling and the VAT rate charged - exempt supplies must not be included in this type of VAT invoice"

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This is why I’ve stopped buying stuff from eBay for work. Loads of suppliers say they have a GB VAT number and provide VAT invoices but getting anything from them can be a hassle (even for legitimate UK based sellers, never mind the overseas ones who may or may not be legitimately registered for UK VAT). eBay is unfortunately not the streamlined operation they make it out to be on the adverts.

You can check if a business is VAT registered using this tool:

That only checks that a VAT number you have is a valid format for the country quoted, although it will also give you the company name. There is no way to check if a business is VAT-registered per se.

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Not VAT registered (but have had experience of being VAT registered). I have found it too difficult to keep the records in sync when purchasing from eBay if I kept creating new suppliers, so I reverted all purchases using this method as from “eBay”.

These purchases go under supplier account “”, these are the people who supply the platform for the purchase and by keeping these purchases in one account it is possible to easlily find a purchase. Who on earth could remember which supplier from eBay had sent a particular product.

You can use your PayPal email as a receipt; and for additional information there are eBay orders that can be added to the purchase.

Although VAT registered businesses have a responsibilty to keep records, this responsiblity is passed on to the retailer “eBay” in this case (in my opinion).

As stated I am not VAT registered, my last reply has one misgiving and that is for your “EC Sales/Purchases” this adds an additional complication, but with GB leaving the EU this would not be an issue.

In the meantime, perhaps seperate accounts for such purchases under “” and change the ?? to the EU country VAT abbreviation (to allow for the various VAT rates set around Europe) . OK, this is imperfect, but still less accounts to check! refer to “terms and conditions”. In respect of purchases made on eBay the terms & conditions are intiated by them with additional terms set for the particular purchase by the the individual seller.

As a buyer on the internet the regulations are written to provide protection. To remove this protection by seperating purchases made through the platform of “eBay” there is a difficulty to refer to the orginator of the action.

Quite a lot of double-shift in all these transactions as mentioned by @Lurch, but the main purpose of keeping our accounts on QuickFile is to keep it simple.

I don’t really see how, you are buying from the seller directly, eBay are just the intermediary/storefront. Same as going into a shopping centre and buying from a store within it, not the shopping centres responsibility to issue issue you with an invoice for your purchase from Dorothy Perkins.

The biggest problem is eBay just allow anyone to sell anything and don’t really care about how the traders/sellers operate. They let sellers trade with invalid VAT numbers and they also don’t care that 90% of sellers that have “we provide an itemised VAT receipt” on the listings do no such thing.

That’s not to say your handling of the sales is incorrect, I do the same (or similar) thing. All eBay sales are under general miscellaneous accounts, I have one for materials, one for tools etc. I have stopped using eBay altogether though for buying and selling now as it is an absolute mess/joke. Due to the amount of VAT and/or time I lose trying to get the correct paperwork it isn’t worth my time any more.

eBay are the intitator of the transaction, as we are not some blog-bot it is impossible to know everthing about a transaction made through the internet, so I reiterate the purpose at this end is to keep it simple (I have amended my post prior to my response to your posting).

The idea of storefronts is what I am trying to replicate by keeping the purchases appropriated to the relevant website. If you buy something from a website then they are retailer.