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Can You Sell Online Without A VAT Number?

Are you passionate about crafts and DIY or the resale of objects? Do you need to make big investments to sell your creations online? Do you need a VAT number or not? In this article, we see if it is possible to sell your products online without opening a VAT number.

Is It Possible To Open E-commerce Without A VAT Number?

In particular, it is necessary to indicate VAT number, registered office, name of the company or firm, and, in the case of a company, the share capital. Not having a VAT number does not completely preclude the possibility of selling your products online. On the contrary, it allows you to carry out the online sales activity (within limits we will see) without bearing the costs of opening and maintaining e-commerce. Given that it is impossible to start a business without a VAT number, we will see below some exceptions to this principle.

Is It Possible To Sell From A Facebook Page?

No, even in this case, direct selling is prohibited. However, it is possible to take advantage of the Facebook page to make your handicraft works known to the public. However, remember that it is forbidden to display the prices of your products. In fact, in this case, a real commercial offer would be implemented, possible only in the presence of entrepreneurial activity. The Facebook marketplace does not make the sale directly. It only has the function of putting users in contact. Any sale is therefore qualified as a sale between individuals and does not require a VAT number, as we will see in the continuation of the article.

Selling Online Without A VAT Number: Let’s Clarify

Always remember that to sell online without a VAT number, regardless of the “virtual or physical place” where the sale takes place, your business must be occasional. The occasional sale allows you to sell your products, which you may make as a hobby, as long as this does not represent your main business and respects the maximum annual income ceiling set at € 5,000.00. The boundary between occasionality and professionalism is very blurred. Buy material to work with and resell it, for example. 

It will be easy to run into the qualifications of an entrepreneur and lose the occasional character of your business. Occasional is the one-off sale of a painting made as a hobby, of which you have not advertised the creation. An occasional sale does not, therefore, mean only an activity in which the net remuneration does not exceed 5,000 euros per year. The threshold of 5,000 euros per year is a fact that can cause your business to lose occasional opportunities, but it is not the only one. 

For sales to not be considered of a continuous type, the person without a VAT number mustn’t set up a website and that, in general, does not use other stratagems/services to repeat the online sales activity continuously. The setting up of the e-commerce site or the frequent sale are behaviors that can bring the activity outside the occasional sphere making it necessary to open the VAT number. Frequent online advertising of products is not considered compatible with carrying out an occasional activity, which cannot be configured in this case. 

Attention: the mere fact of setting up e-commerce or carrying out any conduct typical of a commercial activity excludes the occasional nature of online sales, regardless of whether or not the turnover threshold of 5,000 euros per year is exceeded. The characteristic to be considered for selling online without a VAT number is not the limit of 5,000 euros. Still, the non-continuous and non-entrepreneurial nature of the activity carried out.

Requirements For Selling Online Without A VAT Number

To qualify your business as occasional, you must necessarily comply with the requirements that I am about to list:

  1. Have an annual turnover of fewer than 5,000 euros (net of expenses)
  2. Your business must not be continuous or entrepreneurial (e.g., the work must not use equipment that suggests a large production)
  3. You must not have collaborators or subordinate workers, but you must carry out the production in the first person;
  4. You don’t have to have an e-commerce, and you don’t have to invest in advertising your products;
  5. You are required to issue a receipt to the buyer, as in a craft or hobby market. Don’t worry: this is a generic receipt you can fill out independently. After having indicated your details (name and surname) and those of the buyer, the description and price of the product, and the date and place of the sale, it is of fundamental importance to specify that it is an occasional sale and affix the revenue stamp to two euros if the amount of the receipt is greater than 77.47 euros.

If you want to open an occasional internet sales business without a VAT number, you will need these receipts on your tax return because they must be declared with the 730 or Unico model. The exemption from the declaration of these sums is foreseen only on rare occasions that will not be discussed in detail here.

They Are Selling Online Without A VAT Number: Marketplaces

Now you may be wondering: if I cannot sell without a VAT number on my website or Facebook, how can I sell my products online? The answer is simple: by taking advantage of services that offer you this possibility, the so-called marketplaces. The advantage of online sales through marketplaces is represented by the ease and speed of the operation and, above all, by the exemptions from the obligation to issue the generic receipt and the declaration of the sums received.

The marketplaces act as intermediaries for those who want to dedicate themselves to the occasional sale on the web. This way, you can open an online store where you can freely sell your products using a third-party service. The marketplace will sell on your behalf. Do not forget that having an online store in the various marketplaces guarantees you greater visibility than a website, blog, or Facebook page. On the marketplaces, your objects will have worldwide visibility.

This activity is not considered advertising or opening a site; in fact, the private individual enjoys the visibility offered by the marketplace without falling into any conduct that provides for the obligation to open a VAT number. The only downside is that these platforms charge a fee for every transaction. Generally, it is around 3.5% of the total amount of each product. This way, you can sell items online as a private individual without a VAT number. This method of sale is mainly used by private individuals who want to sell used, little used, or obsolete items. In general, it is used to sell objects on which VAT has already been paid. 


Selling online without a VAT number is possible by issuing or not issuing the receipt according to the sales method and the parameters in this article. To be sure not to incur penalties and to carry out your occasional or private sales activity in the best possible way, do not hesitate to contact an expert who will clarify any doubts. 

We at Legal Blink are available for any clarification. Now you have no more excuses. You don’t even need a VAT number to sell your products online. From my point of view, marketplaces are the ideal solution for beginners. But if your hobby has what it takes to become a potential business, you need to create a website or eCommerce, exhibit your creations and talk a little about yourself. This is also very easy. With One Minute Site, it’s quick and easy.

Also Read: Female Startups: Your Idea Into An Entrepreneurial Reality

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