Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

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white exec
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Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by white exec »

Got a bit of a shock this week, having placed a web-order with Chevronics (in Hitchin) for NOS front and rear Citroen mudflaps for the BX...

The cost of the items was £38 a pair, so £76 all-in, plus carriage (which was to be via Parcelforce).
Correctly, they chose not to add VAT, as this is payable by the purchaser, in their own country - in my case, Spain - and most small businesses will understandably opt for that: leave it to the purchaser to pay the VAT. (Amazon seem a notable exception; they usually add VAT at the purchaser's country's rate, and (presumably) hand it over later.)

OK, so the parcel from Chevronics arrives, but I get a phone call from our mailbox outfit, saying that €44.51 is immediately payable to the courier! :shock: €44.51?? How can that be?

So, it's paid, and the FedEx (FedEx? I thought this was Parcelforce-Correos) courier goes on his way with the cash.

The arithmetic of the FedEx/EU customs invoice stuck to the parcel makes interesting reading...

Value of goods = £76 = €87.32
Customs charge for calculating the VAT due = €38.14 :shock:
Total value, including carriage = €125.54
VAT (at 21%) due = £26.36
Courier fee, for collecting the tax due = €15.00
VAT on the Courier's fee = €3.15
Total payable = €44.51

Bloody hell!

And how come a simple Parcelforce/postal services/Correos package ended up with FedEx?
Well, labelled "Tax Due", the Correos package got on-costed by Spanish/EU customs, and then handed (their choice) to FedEx to deliver, and collect the cash.

Well, it's all paid, and I've got my bits, but the on-costs are just astonishing.
I now understand why, post-Brexit, many small firms, involved with small export orders, are just deciding not to bother, and have stopped selling to EU customers, as the costs and paperwork are just not worth the candle or competitive.

By coincidence, these two letters appeared in the Guardian yesterday...
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... -in-europe

jamescarruthers
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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by jamescarruthers »

Because ParcelForce (once outside of the UK) are absolute nobodies!

They have contracts with other companies in other countries. You are lucky they have partnered with FedEx (who are generally excellent worldwide) for you in Spain and you actually received it. I used them to send things for work to The Netherlands and UAE and they were utterly incapable of tracing anything because it is out of their network. They are also utterly incapable of paying out even though full insurance was taken out. They owe me about 1100GBP and just ignore me or tell me it was delivered when it absolutely wasn’t (package was to my boss and he has no reason to lie to me and is now 600GBP out of pocket).

I’ve never hated a company as much as I hate ParcelForce! They hide behind COVID and really should just not accept anything going abroad as they are so incompetent and uncommunicative.

I’ve learnt the hard way that the best way to send things is with a company that has the network covered end-to-end such as DHL and FedEx. I would also try UPS (we use them to shop elsewhere) but have no experience of them yet from/to UK.
Last edited by jamescarruthers on 20 Mar 2021, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by bobins »

Online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, etc) are required to automatically deal with applicable VAT at point of sale, independent websites aren't. It makes life a lot easier to buy via online marketplaces if you can if you're looking to ship overseas.

I agree that Parcelfarce aren't much good though - they seem to be the one delivery company that really isn't much bothered about providing an excellent service. I've no real problem with the delivery minions, it's the company structure and policies that seem to be lacking.

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by white exec »

My experience is that postal services (Correos, DeutschePost/DPD, Parcelforce (a Royal Mail subsidiary, along with GLS) operate pretty seamlessly across Europe. Tracking numbers are inter-operated and recognised end-to-end, so a package can be tracked even it has been handled by several linked operators.

Sure, Covid has slowed things down significantly, but my grumble here is not speed of delivery, but the post-Brexit on-costs and expensive bureaucracy, which just didn't exist before. Previously, there must have been a certain amount of tit-for-tat agreement over VAT charging within the EU, as small parcels to/from UK individuals and companies just didn't get enmeshed in this added expense. Is the UK being clobbered by other EU countries' systems? I expect so; they probably deserve it.

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myglaren
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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by myglaren »

Looks like they are just taking advantage while they can.
€38 to calculate the VAT is a Dick Turpin tax. How many seconds can it take?

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by GiveMeABreak »

This bloke gives an example on 'Spainbox':
Example:
VAT is 21 % and 3% tariff.
A package of 200 €.

The rate of 3 %, 200 x 1.03 = 206 and 206 € 21 % VAT 206×1 , 21 = € 249.26 applies.

To these costs must be added the cost of Custom dispatch of the Postal service, these expenses are indifferent to the value of the package:
€ 5.34 for custom clearance.

€ 23.22 to manage the DUA (Unique Administrative Document), this can be done if you have your spanish digital certificate or electronic identification card and save you € 23.22. The package is expensive in this example: 49.26 (tax and tariff) + € 28.56 = € 77.82 Notes:
So no issues with the VAT - if it's not been charged in the UK, it should be paid in Spain - no problems, but he seems to indicate charges you can avoid (€23.22) if you have the above documents....

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by Gibbo2286 »

My most recent 'export' was a woofer sold on Ebay for £12.00, the buyer from Denmark paid £13.00 for postage through the post office, it went all the way to Denmark and came back to me six weeks later marked by NordPost Denmark 'Not collected' , the man's furious, says that due to the covid lockdown he hasn't left home for months so can't understand why they didn't deliver.

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by white exec »

GiveMeABreak wrote:
20 Mar 2021, 13:59
. . . So no issues with the VAT - if it's not been charged in the UK, it should be paid in Spain . . .
Marc,
Thanks for that worked example. I didn't know that's how it worked.
Are you saying that, in my Chevronics case, had the VAT been charged and paid in the UK - with the parcel paperwork showing that - the postal/customs mark-up would have been avoided?
This would have provided a workaround.

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Paul-R
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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by Paul-R »

I have a horrible feeling that VAT might be charged again.

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by bobins »

From the horses mouth:

"VAT is not due when the total value of all goods in a consignment (value not inclusive of customs duties or transport costs) is less than a threshold. The threshold may vary from 10 euros to 22 euros, depending on the EU country. Certain countries however, exclude mail orders from the exemption. This exception does not apply to tobacco or tobacco products, to perfumes or toilet waters and alcoholic products."

"The import VAT may either be included into the overall delivery price or not.
If the import VAT is not included in the price paid to the seller (which is the common situation), you will have to pay it to the postal company or express courier, or directly to the customs if you clear the goods at customs yourself. In the latter case, the procedure differs according to the country."

"If you pay all inclusive, you will be paying import VAT to the seller when paying the total price. But if the import VAT is not properly estimated by the seller, or if the seller fails to ensure the transfer of this VAT amount to the customs, you must be aware that national legislation can hold you jointly liable."

The reference in Marc's post to "spanish digital certificate or electronic identification card" may be if you clear the goods at customs yourself.

Much more bedtime reading here - note: this is actually the EU's website, and not someone's interpretation of the issue:
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/i ... country_en

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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by Gibbo2286 »

VAT does not apply if the seller is not a VAT registered business, private sellers do not, cannot, charge VAT.

Customs duties are a different thing and the low level when they are not charged is very small in most countries.

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by GiveMeABreak »

white exec wrote:
20 Mar 2021, 12:18
My experience is that postal services (Correos, DeutschePost/DPD, Parcelforce (a Royal Mail subsidiary, along with GLS) operate pretty seamlessly across Europe. Tracking numbers are inter-operated and recognised end-to-end, so a package can be tracked even it has been handled by several linked operators.

Sure, Covid has slowed things down significantly, but my grumble here is not speed of delivery, but the post-Brexit on-costs and expensive bureaucracy, which just didn't exist before. Previously, there must have been a certain amount of tit-for-tat agreement over VAT charging within the EU, as small parcels to/from UK individuals and companies just didn't get enmeshed in this added expense. Is the UK being clobbered by other EU countries' systems? I expect so; they probably deserve it.
Have a look here Chris - this is the website I was looking at in Spain:

https://spainbox.com/mailboxes/duty-and ... pean-union

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white exec
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Re: Ordering from the UK, post-Brexit

Post by white exec »

Marc, thanks - Will read and digest.
Much appreciated.