Correct, Panamoz are collecting VAT, therefore they must be able to provide a VAT invoice and to do that they must also have VAT number from one of the EU member states.
It's a legal requirement in the EU for companies from outside the area whose business in one member state exceeds the VAT threshold to be VAT registered, but I'm sure that once they read this thread Panamoz will have no problems explaining the procedure I enquired about and posting their VAT number...
If they can provide a UK VAT number then they're kosher, if they cannot or will not then the only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are collecting VAT but not passing it on to HMRC.
Non-resident businesses or individuals with operations in the UK are still required to register if they meet any of the criteria for registration. Non-resident businesses or individuals who have no place of business in the UK, but are nevertheless eligible for VAT registration by merit of: supplying VAT-liable goods or services in, to, or from the UK, assuming control of a VAT-registered business, or receiving VAT liable goods from another EU country (all subject to the GBP70,000 threshold), must register as a Non-Established Taxable Person (NETP).
They have a UK business address, so in theory they should have both a UK company number and a UK VAT number, but even if they don't they should still be registered as a Non-Established Taxable Person (NETP) which would give them the necessary VAT number.
I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding too, so I'm sure Panamoz will have no qualms with confirming that UK tax is paid on the goods (and therefore reclaimable as per my original question), because the impression I'm getting is that it's not, unless they get caught.
If anyone posted a thread asking whether they should buy from an Ebay seller in HK and deliberately avoid tax then the mods would be all over it, pointing to the site's t&cs, the assumption therefore is that Panamoz are above board and the UK tax is paid and can be reclaimed...
Have you? If so you could help clear the matter up by posting a copy of your invoice (with your personal details obscured) and/or customs docket and we can see what they say, that should answer my question
I'm with Graham. I get rather tired of the number of people actively promoting buying from HK companies who are clearly evading tax (namely VAT) or promoting the evasion of it.
I've said on the forum several times that the HK companies do not pay VAT- they offer a self insurance scheme incase duty is charged at the point of entry. Not only that, but several customers have commented on the package description being misleading (to put it politely).
To top this off, the same people buying from abroad then expect second hand prices to reflect the foreign market- which is patently ridiculous.
Can we please stop nudging and winking, and call a spade a spade? It's illegal activity- full stop.
the inference there is that either a) the prices include UK taxes, or b) they prices don't include UK taxes and/or are under-declared but if the shipment gets stopped by customs then Panamoz will pony up.
If it's A then they will have a UK VAT number, if it's B then they are breaking the law, as is, as you stated, the buyer/importer.