UK freelancer, Indian agency? VAT? Bank Transfers?
Thread poster: Hilary Davies Shelby

Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 05:46
German to English
Nov 26, 2006

Hello all,

I've been approached by an agency from India, who (surprisingly) have agreed to my rate (Indian rates are usually much lower than UK ones). I've never worked for an Indian agency before, and was wondering how it worked with VAT, etc.

I'm not VAT-registered in the UK, as I don't earn enough to make it compulsory, but I seem to remember there being different rules for non-EU customers. Do i have to charge them VAT? If so, how do I do this?
Is there any difference in the way I declare this income from India to the way I declare income from the EU - or is it all just "income"? (I am a sole trader based in the UK).

Also, has anyone here had experience of receiving payments from India? Does your bank charge for these? Are there any other issues to bear in mind? Do SWIFT and IBAN numbers work?

Thanks very much for any advice!




Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
Technical term : Temporary Import Nov 26, 2006

VAT is purely a EU-matter.
Technically speaking you are temporarily importing "raw material" from outside the EU, to export it again after treatment". There is no VAT to be paid on goods/services leaving the E.U.
Until now I never reacted to offers from India, for the same reason as you didn't .
IBAN/BIC are the result international contracts between banks and the SWIFT-system. Whereever you are in the world, this systems works

[Edited at 2006-11-26 18:27]


Roy Chaudhuri  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Indian agency & UK translator. Nov 27, 2006

Dear Hillary,

Most of the large Indian agencies will have a Paypal account. Otherwise SWIFT/BIC transfer from India to other countries is very common. So either way should work out for you.

All the best



Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
German to English
Good for you! Nov 27, 2006

Hi Hilary,

I just had a look at your profile. We work in the same language pair, but I live and work in India. The rates I charge are almost the same as yours, but Indian agencies and companies often find them too high!

Obviously, location doesn't play a very important role any more and possibly other factors such as areas of specialisation and experience are more important. One of my best clients is in Germany and does accept my rate!

Best regards,


Melina Kajander
English to Finnish
+ ...
Bank transfer Nov 27, 2006

I have received payments from an Indian agency by bank transfer (using IBAN and SWIFT).

Yes, most UK banks do charge something for receiving foreign (Indian or otherwise) payments into your account - highway robbery, but what can you do... But of course, the country where the money's coming from doesn't normally make any difference there.

As for VAT, if you're not VAT-registered yourself (I'm not either), why worry about that..? To be honest, that hasn't even occurred to me...

[Edited at 2006-11-27 22:12]


Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 05:46
German to English
Thanks very much for all your help! Nov 28, 2006

Just wanted to say thank you all very much for your help - it's been very useful!

All the best,



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