I want to pay for a VPN service with my UK credit card but I've recently moved to Japan. On the form I can select Japan or the UK but Japan won't charge a sales tax so it's obviously a better deal that way. I would be the primary user of the VPN but family back in the UK would use it too.

I can't find any information on what to do with non-physical goods like this, normally I'd pay the local tax and (if I wasn't in a lazy mood) reclaim it at the airport but this is a tad different.

Any help or insight would be much appreciated.

  • Are you concerned about overpaying (paying VAT that’s not due) or getting into legal trouble (not paying VAT when it’s required and having HMRC come after you)?
    – Mike Scott
    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:00
  • @MikeScott Overpaying is the main one right now as it's only a small amount. Longer term I can see it becoming more of an avoidance issue if I buy more and more things, especially if they are work related.
    – ian
    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:58
  • Where is the seller located ? Doesn't the duty of charging VAT lies with the seller and not the buyer ?
    – DumbCoder
    Nov 29, 2018 at 15:49
  • Does the price change when you change the address you report? Nov 30, 2018 at 8:38
  • @GaneshSittampalam There is the choice to pay from several countries but it will only accept cards that fit the format for the country chosen (I didn't know card formats differed like that any longer, you learn something new everyday:)
    – ian
    Nov 30, 2018 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


In practice, you have to pay what the seller charges. Let's say I'm here in the UK and I pay £29.99 on a product, of which £5.00 is VAT (calculated as £24.99 + 20% VAT).

You can argue all you like that you should have to pay £24.99 only; if the seller doesn't give it to you for that amount of money, then there is nothing you can do. You can't force them to do business with you. If the payment is done through a website, they are not going to change their website to sell you the product for £24.99.

Of course their accountants will sort out how to book this. They might put the £5.00 into their pocket, or the chancellor's pocket. But unless they have huge numbers of customers abroad, they are not going to change prices for you.

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