[sdiy] UK VAT (was Re: Breaking news: synthCube to acquire Small Bear)

Schwarz Raphael raphschwarz at gmail.com
Mon Jan 10 21:57:27 CET 2022

Hi there

I can clarify the situation with sending goods into the UK as I deal with that everyday.

Those laws were made for large companies and platforms it’s a tradeoff with the UK capacity to handle large shipping volumes

Everything has to do with the 135£ good value threshold (excluding shipping)

- goods with a declared value above 135£

Works like anywhere in the world , VAT is paid by the buyer , you will be asked for VAT to get your parcel

- goods below 135£ (that’s where the fun starts) : 

VAT is taken at the source, the seller has to pay for it.
If you work with a large platform like Ebay, they will do that for you
Some platforms ask you to include the VAT in your price (awful) other will add it on top (better)

But if you are selling directly to a customer , then you are supposed to collect it yourself and then pay it back to the UK
Which is totally crazy , they are asking the whole world to register for VAT in the UK.

So you are supposed, as a small foreign seller to deal with the UK administration (like we don’t already have our own)
This is mostly impossible for small companies (imagine if all countries did that ! we’d have hundreds of VAT declarations to do)

That’s when reality kicks in. Why did they do that ?

Simple : they can’t handle the volume (most shipments being low value they figured it would work if they shifted the workload on everyone else)

So what happens in reality : No one checks if you paid or not

If declared value is below 135£ no one will ask a thing,  wether you paid VAT or not. 

So the trick is simple , always declare a value below 135£….

I hope that helps


> Le 10 janv. 2022 à 21:14, Tom Wiltshire <tom at electricdruid.net> a écrit :
> That hasn't been my experience. I've been sending stuff to the UK for a year since Brexit, and so far, no-one has reported either being hit by VAT charges or things disappearing. It looks to me like UK customs are waving stuff through to prevent accusations of problems at the border due to Brexit. There's a government in charge who really wants this to work, and wants it to be seen to be working.
> Ultimately, I'm sure Electric Druid will have to register for UK VAT and do the required hoop-jumping to send parcels to the UK, but I'm holding out as long as I can, since it's a pain in the ass and another overhead I can well do without. Other International orders simply charge VAT at the frontier if required - the UK can do the same. My opinion is that the reluctance to do this stems from the fact that it makes it obvious that this is a cost applied by the UK government and therefore not something they can blame on Europe.
>> On 10 Jan 2022, at 20:02, Mike Bryant <mbryant at futurehorizons.com> wrote:
>> Was that before the latest regulations ?    They can't even send small quantities of stuff to the UK or I think most of the EU now unless they've registered for VAT.  If it's under £175 (?) and the VAT isn't paid in advance it just gets binned at customs.
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