(Post Brexit) Mailing and Shipping

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Focalplane, 9 October 2021.

  1. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    The title of this thread should probably read Recent Changes in Mailing and Shipping to and from the EU

    I am not well pleased! It seems that some people have been ripped off by the confusion of buying and shipping items between the EU and the UK and vice versa. To give some examples I am aware of:

    A good friend here in France needed some parts shipped out from the UK for his V12 Lagonda rebuild. Before the end of 2020 he placed an order worth several hundred pounds, paying the VAT as he believed the parcel would arrive before year end. It didn't, so he was charged a second 20% TVA and, wait for it, a handling fee to "do the paperwork".

    Similar stories abound from that time. But in early 2021 BREXIT had now been fully introduced to an unknowing* public and for a while almost no transactions took place. It seemed that much depended on the policies of various sellers on both sides of the "treaty". Certainly one path that we have followed is to buy an item tax free in the UK have it shipped and then pay French TVA plus a small handling fee before the package will be delivered.

    Amazon, being the international juggernaut it is, seems to be able to get around this and I feel sure other well established large companies can do the same. But what of small companies who have few overseas clients? Not so fast! I understand that different sets of documentation exist, depending on the value of the transaction. I have not found much to confirm this but £150 seems to be a threshold below which it is not worth the effort to do business selling to Europe.

    In my infinite stupidity I had assumed that BREXIT might mean that the Lee Marsh Castle I have ordered could be paid for without VAT (Lee uses the Scottish word "outwith" on his site). I now seriously doubt this can happen, even though the Castle will be shipped to France and will run on my layout here.

    Have others had similar experiences?


    *Some may challenge this and governments will always say that we were forewarned. But when where and how? To give an old example, when we lived in Texas, we were fined for not having re-taxed or SORNed our UK registered car. When we complained we were told that SORN had been advertised on TV - but only in the U.K. of course - so we had to pay the fine.
    Last edited: 10 October 2021
  2. john lewsey

    john lewsey Western Thunderer

    I know of four businesses that have gone under because of Brexit.
  3. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer


    That is terrible. My reason for posting, however, is to try to understand what is going on with trade of model railway parts, etc., rather than let this become a political football on WT. Are there good experiences out there? Are there posted rules and regulations that companies themselves may not be aware of? Can we help further business shut downs from happening?

  4. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Have we had some moderation here? Post #2 has disappeared so post #3 makes no sense.

    Please disregard this - I’ve found the problem.
    Last edited: 9 October 2021
  5. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer


    All four posts are visible to me.
  6. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Log out and back in and it will probably disappear. It’s probably cached on your system.
  7. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    I just looked on another device that is not logged in and all posts visible (this is post 7).

    With regard to Europarcels -

    Mrs. O was after a writing device spare, only produced in USA and Spain, but the company in Spain showed 'We no longer ship to UK'.
    She wrote to them and said that if they were willing to send a consignment she was willing to act as a guinea pig and would give them feedback.
    They replied 'Sure, no problem, we'll give it a go' and the parcel (£110 inc. shipping) duly arrived.
    They no longer state they do not ship to UK.

    So this may all be a bit of a learning curve for everyone - the experience above suggests it is worth asking if you are prepared to take a risk.
    michl080 likes this.
  8. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    I had a similar good experience when buying my collet chuck from eBay Germany. It came quickly without any sort of fuss.
    I got an email from RM to say that they were to receive a parcel for me then another when it was in the country and out for delivery.

    PS I can see all 7 posts before mine
  9. GrahamMc

    GrahamMc Active Member

    Something I was looking at the other day, from the government website and below,

    VAT is charged on all goods (except for gifts worth £39 or less) sent from:
    • outside the UK to Great Britain
    • outside the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland
    VAT is not charged on goods that are gifts worth £39 or less.
    You pay VAT when you buy the goods or to the delivery company before you receive them. If you have to pay VAT to the delivery company, it’s charged on the total package value, including:
    • the value of the goods

    • postage, packaging and insurance

    • any duty you owe
    VAT is charged at the VAT rate that applies to your goods.

    Goods worth £135 or less in total
    If you bought the goods yourself and they are not excise goods, the seller will have included VAT in the total you paid.

    You will need to pay VAT to the delivery company if the goods are:
    • gifts sent to you by someone else and worth more than £39

    • excise goods
    Goods worth more than £135 in total
    You will have to pay VAT to the delivery company either before the goods are delivered or when you collect them.'

    There may also be duty to pay but that's not much, no idea what the EU rules are for outward bound items. Anyone know? For me, and no doubt others wanting to buy from the EU, the £135 bit is the important part.
    Last edited: 9 October 2021
  10. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer


    Many thanks for posting this. Having read it I am at a loss as to what the U.K. actually negotiated for on behalf of small businesses. As someone who remains British and has a residence in the U.K. I really feel for small British businesses. For example, why £135! Why £39! No question marks here because a question is simply derisory.

    Other non Europe Union countries seem to have negotiated better terms (Canada etc). So what happened? And why have relationships in business been allowed to deteriorate to this point. I think we all know the answer but I still want to help small businesses sell to people like me.
    john lewsey likes this.
  11. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    This a EU change and not anything to do with Brexit.

    Applies from 1st July this year, to member states and non member states selling into the EU.

    Modernising VAT for cross-border e-commerce

    No mention of this on any news from the BBC - make of that what you will....

  12. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Thank you, Simon, for this link. I think it does have a lot to do with BREXIT actually as its implementation was supposed to have been January 2021, or was that a coincidence? July 1st was a change due to the pandemic in order to give more time for businesses to prepare.
  13. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    What I make of it is that do we expect the BBC to report on every change in EU internal rules which might impinge on non-EU countries? Could make for pretty boring programming. :):) Maybe it's the job of government to do that. :):)

  14. michl080

    michl080 Western Thunderer

    I think this has more to do with chinese manufacturers flooding the EU market with low cost gadgets that went through customs with fake "1EUR" value labeling and Amazons practice to ignore VAT-regulations for non-EU-suppliers. I think this was a coincidence with Brexit.
    Otoh, I fully understand your frustration. As many of the UK suppliers do not charge VAT on their invoices, prices rise factually by 19%. Slaters policy to only accept EU-orders over 140GBP is another example that hurts. :-(

  15. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer


    Yes, but dumping is one thing, OSS (one stop shop) is something else.

    I am reading a fascinating book at the moment by Christopher Balfour, an autobiography “Learning from Difference”. He brings to light his interesting life of an Etonian who wanted to be an entrepreneur but found the education only suitable for administrators. Anyone wanting to use their hands was considered a failure by the system. I only mention this because it typifies the gulf that exists between those who make the rules vs those who have to live with them.
  16. GrahamMc

    GrahamMc Active Member

    Michael, from my post above we know that anything from the EU to the UK under £135 has VAT charged in the country of origin, over £135 VAT is charged here in the UK. Do Slaters apply their £140 rule because the rules are roughly the same for goods going from the UK to the EU, and Slaters can post without charging VAT or getting involved in any paperwork? Perhaps you should find out the rules for UK to EU for smaller value items and see if the limits are roughly the same. If they are then you could let Slaters know all they have to do is charge VAT as they would for UK orders and post the items. If the rules are the same you wouldn't have to pay VAT on delivery.
  17. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Just to confuse, Tower Models use £150 as the cut off. I quote:

    Below £150.00 we have to pay the French VAT and pass it on the them...In fact if you do it you have to then submit VAT returns for every member nation every month! Total waste of time compared to the number of orders under 150 we send out to Europe.

    End quote

    I quite see the logic behind their decision. I shall wait until I am the U.K. mainly because other long ago ordered items may be delivered soon. In fact it was Dapol’s bogie bolster that started off this thread as it is priced under the cut off and has just finally arrived.
  18. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    The fact is that the actual "cut off" is 150 Euros, so about £135.00.

    The new EU VAT rules require that anyone supplying goods into the EU (or within the EU) must charge VAT to the customer at the point of sale at the rate at which VAT is payable for the goods supplied in the Customer's Country.

    What is Caesar's must then be levied to Rome hence the one stop shop etc.

    There have always been VAT "issues" as lots of us and any number of threads on RMweb can testify to. Generally small value items have previously been largely left alone from a VAT standpoint, but these changes are explicitly saying that this will no longer be the case.

    This is not connected to Brexit, these rule changes have been on the way for a long time.

    We in the UK do not in this regard have any deal that is worse than Canada, Norway or anywhere else, it has nothing whatever to with our negotiating prowess or otherwise..

    I am not saying that Brexit has not made shipping to Europe (and more besides) trickier, but this change is different.

    It is however clear that it is being interpreted by many folk as being Brexit related, which, it seems to me, is both unhelpful and confusing.

    Which is why it would be really useful, honest and helpful for all if the BBC could report the change.

    It is not simply an "EU internal rule which might impinge on non-EU countries", it has caused major issues for individuals and small companies in the UK and elsewhere, my business and my customers included.

    Genghis, Andrew, michl080 and 3 others like this.
  19. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Thanks, Simon, a good explanation like what we never get from governments these days. They treat us like the proverbial mushrooms.

    I certainly don’t object to rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Ironically, the EU seems to be heading toward federalism, so this move in some ways might be considered regressive.
  20. djparkins

    djparkins Western Thunderer

    That's a real shame because as stated on both government and many accounting web sites [including Sage] - IOSS registration is not at all mandatory. If a business does not sign up for it then they can continue to supply goods of any value to EU customers on a zero-rated basis, provided they make this clear at the point of sale. This then obviously involves the customer having to pay VAT at the prevailing rate for his own country + some import duty [if unlucky], and it is not so convenient for the customer than if the supplier was IOSS registered - but at least he/she can still get the goods they require.
    john lewsey likes this.