By Victoria Bisset
BBC Information

picture copyrightGetty Photos

It has been virtually two months for the reason that UK’s post-Brexit free commerce take care of the EU got here into impact.

Beneath the brand new guidelines, European firms should instantly pay UK gross sales tax, or VAT, on gross sales beneath £135 (€155; $190), in order that they now need to register and file quarterly declarations with the UK authorities.

Different modifications embrace customs declarations and extra paperwork. So how have they tailored to this point and what affect have the modifications had?

Laurent Caplat, founding father of French on-line meals store

BienManger took its closing orders from the UK on 18 December and shipped them earlier than the brand new guidelines got here into impact on 1 January. It’s unclear if and when it would resume service to the UK.

picture captionLaurent Caplat says he might want to spend time assessing the prices and modifications earlier than deciding his subsequent step

We run an e-commerce deli, promoting a collection of effective meals from France, Europe and worldwide. Round 20% of our orders come from exterior France.

The UK market isn’t central to our enterprise, however UK clients have been in search of these merchandise and joyful to seek out them on our web site.

Even in November and December it was type of blurred when it comes to what would occur with Brexit and what the principles could be. Now we have heard concerning the new procedures to ship parcels to the UK however it’s nonetheless not very clear.

We nonetheless have a relationship with some English producers and promote merchandise from England and the UK on our web site. And we’ve got clients in England calling to say: “I used to order this product in your web site, the place can I discover it?”

It will be a pleasure to start out reselling to the UK however we have to spend extra time to raised perceive the modifications and value concerned. The query we’ve got is, is it price implementing all of those options for the small quantity of enterprise we have been doing with the UK?

From my perspective it is laborious to have an opinion on Brexit: everybody will alter and adapt. I simply remorse that we used to have this free market and it was really easy to do enterprise all throughout Europe, and now it is harder.

Thomas Leppa, co-founder of Finnish on-line wall sticker design firm Manufactured from Sundays

The corporate was established round three years in the past and has continued to promote to the UK since Brexit.

picture copyrightManufactured from Sundays
picture captionManufactured from Sundays says lots of its gross sales undergo a web-based market that provides the VAT to the worth

We’re a really small enterprise however round 20% of our exports go to the UK.

The most important sensible factor has been the confusion amongst clients. Many don’t perceive how the system works: folks assume in the event that they order above £135 they don’t have to pay tax in any respect, so then we’ve got to elucidate that the extra you purchase, the extra you must do your self.

With purchases over £135, the client is accountable for paying VAT as soon as the product arrives within the UK.

With on-line purchasing these days folks count on free transport, however with Brexit it is pretty costly and people prices need to be paid for. While you use a courier service, they need to do customs declarations and that is round €5 (£4.30) added value for every bundle.

What I do not know but is how sophisticated the tax declaration to the UK is, and the way a lot work that’s. Fortunately a giant a part of our UK gross sales undergo Etsy, {the marketplace}, and there they add the UK VAT on prime of the worth.

However the greatest problem for us is our accounting: it is another nation the place we’ve got to test all of the taxes and get the sums appropriate for the Finnish tax authorities. It’s kind of extra work in that sense however in any other case it has been going pretty properly, so we’ve not actually thought of not promoting to the UK – at the very least for the second.

Dorte Randrup, export supervisor for clothes model NÜ Denmark

The corporate confronted a month of disruption however deliveries to its UK suppliers have now returned to regular.

picture copyrightNu Denmark

I feel the UK is the fourth or fifth greatest nation we work with.

We managed to ship some inventory to our distributors within the UK and Eire earlier than Brexit, then we had round a month or so once we have been unable to ship deliveries.

We needed to look ahead to VAT numbers to ensure we had the whole lot appropriate in our system for the brand new customs rules however we had an organization assist us to get it proper.

Our distributors within the UK managed contact with clients, however the affect wasn’t too dangerous as a result of it is the center of the season and due to the UK lockdown.

We’re in a position to ship to the entire of the UK now.

Harald Mücke, proprietor of German on-line store, promoting board recreation parts

The corporate has stopped promoting direct to a whole lot of particular person clients within the UK due to the VAT rule.


We thought of getting a VAT code to have the ability to ship smaller objects to the UK however it’s an excessive amount of work. So we can’t ship to non-public clients within the UK if the order is beneath £135.

I’ve some business-to-business shoppers and they don’t seem to be affected, however all of the small shoppers are gone. There are one thing like 400-500 UK clients we can’t serve any extra, so it is inflicting a loss right here.

On orders above £135, it is way more costly for all UK shoppers as a result of they need to pay customs costs and a few charges: for instance, DHL is charging a hard and fast payment of €12 per parcel.

I can promote to UK personal clients by way of platforms like Etsy and eBay – then the platform has to gather the UK taxes. However you must pay an preliminary payment, which prices cash. We now have one thing like 10,000 objects so we might need to pay the payment 10,000 occasions, and that is one thing we do not need to do. So the shoppers cannot purchase the whole lot.

We additionally need to replace our on-line store system to undertake the VAT system and UK transport prices, which prices a number of thousand euros. That is the one nation on the earth dealing with taxes on this method and that is the primary drawback. It is a person factor completed by the UK and nowhere else on the earth.

Bal Loyla, proprietor of on-line Japanese European grocery retailer Europa Recent, UK

The corporate launched shortly earlier than the primary UK lockdown in 2020 however has now suspended deliveries to Northern Eire and Europe.

We’re nonetheless rising as a enterprise, however proper now that is been stifled.

The thought was to start out exporting extra: we all know the shoppers are on the market and we get a number of enquiries. Nevertheless it’s one thing we will need to placed on the again burner till issues turn into simpler or clearer.

We have been suggested by the couriers that they are now not carrying meals to Northern Eire.

media captionWhat is the deal on Northern Eire and Brexit?

Then with Europe we’re having a number of points with orders as a result of there’s a number of paperwork concerned. You must element each single product that is within the order – generally our orders have something as much as 50 to 100 objects and that takes an excessive amount of time.

We’re solely a small enterprise so it isn’t definitely worth the headache.

We used to import ourselves from wholesalers in Europe however now we’ve got to make use of firms right here within the UK. One provider we had in Germany is now utilizing a customs dealer and the associated fee is added to every supply, so it is now not price it for us to import from them – I feel they’re including an additional €200 on prime of supply costs and product prices.

Our margins are virtually reduce in half as a result of we’ve got to pay the intermediary, whereas earlier than we may import and save. Sadly we’ve got to go the additional value on to the shoppers.

We’re solely seven weeks into Brexit and costs have gone up, however it’s troublesome to say in the meanwhile precisely how a lot that is going to have an effect on us long run. I feel there must be much more steering for smaller companies like us.


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