• January 31, 2023

Brexit charges: Why is my online shopping more expensive?

By Tom Edgington
BBC News

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Some buyers have faced unexpected fees when buying things from sellers in the EU.

The UK has signed a Brexit trade agreement with the EU to prevent new fees – known as tariffs – from going into effect in 2021.

However, there are several other fees that this deal doesn’t cover.

I want to buy a £ 50 sweater from the EU. What do I have to know?

Value Added Tax (VAT) has always been required on EU goods.

And since Brexit, the way it is applied has changed.

Before, you would have paid the local VAT rate.

For example, if you bought your sweater from a store in Sweden, you would have paid Swedish VAT.

Now you pay UK VAT which is 20%.

For anything under £ 135, VAT should still automatically be part of the final price you pay at the online checkout.

What if i spend more than £ 135 on my sweater?

Most items over £ 135 require UK VAT to be paid at the time of delivery – it is no longer included at online checkout.

So if you bought a very expensive sweater, the delivery company will ask you to pay the VAT before handing it over to you.

This could be a shock if the retailer didn’t make this clear before purchasing.

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You should also check your bill to make sure that the retailer’s systems are working properly and that you haven’t been charged twice, says Martin Shah, partner at Simmons & Simmons law firm.

“If a delivery driver requests VAT payment on goods purchased that are worth £ 135 or less, you should check your receipt as you should have paid the VAT at the point of sale,” he adds.

What if I buy from an online marketplace?

Retail sellers are now required to charge UK VAT when listing their items on online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy.

So the costs can increase if you enter a delivery address in the UK.

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Are there any other fees I should be aware of?

The customs duty also applies to goods over £ 135.

There is no customs duty to be paid if your expensive sweater is made and manufactured entirely in the EU.

However, customs may have to be paid if the EU seller originally imported it from a non-EU country.

The same fee may apply if a certain percentage of the materials used to make the jumper come from outside the EU (called “Jumper”) Rules of origin).

You can contact the dealer to see if you need to pay any customs duties before buying.

If you have to pay, the delivery company should send you an invoice.

How much extra will i pay?

There are Different prices depending on what you buy.

And some things don’t have any customs fees at all.

“The tariffs can only amount to 1.7%,” says Anna Jerzewska, founder of the trade and border advisory service.

“But textiles, food and drink can be higher.

“Very few are over 20%.”

A 12% duty is charged for a knitted cotton sweater.

Before Brexit, the tariff would have been paid by the person who first imported it into the EU.

And then it could have been relocated to other EU countries – including the UK – without additional fees.

I will be charged an administration fee. What’s this?

Businesses may also charge additional costs for delivery as they now have to spend time filling out paperwork.

Delivery options and fees should be listed on the retailer’s website.

Can I still buy different sizes of clothes and send back the ones I don’t want?

When you return a purchase you can claim all royalties back from Completing a C285 form from HM Revenue & Customs.

What if I get a gift from the EU?

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VAT will be charged on gifts from outside the UK worth over £ 39.

If a friend purchases a gift direct from a German retailer and asks them to ship it to you in the UK, the courier will likely ask you to pay the VAT or customs duty owed.

If your friend is sending the gift from a local post office, they will also need to fill out a customs form.

However, the person sending the gift can ask the seller or the shipping company if they can pay in advance – called a levy delivery – to avoid the potentially embarrassing situation of having to pay to receive their gift.

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