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Buying Vdub parts from the EU... post Brexit. Any tips?

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Ok, I get the new VAT and Import Duty rules, all fairly straight forward, with "technically" prices are not meant to change. Is this a first ever "politics related" thread on CL!?

As I understand the rules: two examples-

1. i need to buy a new clutch assembly from a german web site, for £50 equivalent including shipping to the uk. Their site lists the price which includes their German VAT. Technically, as the goods are under €150 (£135) uk limit, the price I pay is £50 to my door. No import duty to pay (as it's under the £135 threshold). This is the exact same price as before brexit, except the German company I always buy from have stopped shipping to the UK- to private customers. Oh. Apparently because the couriers can't process the orders correctly.

2. I new need a set of tyres from a French web site (not available in the UK), which come to €230 including shipping AND french VAT. The new UK rules say that for an EU purchase above the €150 threshold, the french VAT should not be charged, as I'll have to pay the VAT when it arrives in the UK. So again, basically the same price, but there'll be £8 duty added, which I can cope with. Plus another £11 courier paperwork fee- which I can just about handle also. I don't like it, but hey... My problem is that the french website refuses to remove their French VAT. According to the EU rules (brexit free trade agreement), they're NOT meant to charge the french VAT for exports to zones outside the EU... They refuse, so I'm not buying. Their website still treats the UK as part of the EU.

Any suggestions people?

It'll be very interesting what happens within the EU come 1st of July. ALL intra-EU transactions will begin to use the same system. So for example, a German buying from a French site will have to pay the VAT locally, not in France. So, the way I see it, there'll be "cross border" restrictions between all the countries inside the EU. As it is, they've just introduced VAT on ALL imports to the EU- get this- to be collected at source! This was agreed years ago- nothing to do with Brexit, it's just that we (in the UK), have been hit 6 months early. I've found a work-around on Aliexpress and Ebay already... :)


Edited by mk2
From the tariff code, discovered that the import duty is even lower than I thought!
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Yeah... really boring reading, but here are some facts and rules. I also just found out that the UK has what is called a preferential import duty rate, which means right now (it may change), we pay NO import duty on many items like car tyres and parts, if we buy from the EU. There is a free trade deal between the EU and the UK in place right now. Prices of goods are not meant to change with the present rules in place.

The EU rules bit:


The UK gov bit: (unique tariff codes first- how much duty to pay- then the importing rule)



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As far as I know, they aren't allowed to remove vat for any person or legal entity which is not in listed in EU VAT register and they must always check it to not cause troubble for themselves. https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/?locale=en 

However your article made me questioning myself and I will read more about the new order.

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Yeah, you got me to read the EU rules on VAT refunds for exports to non-EU countries (like the UK). OMG! Doing an alternator change on an SDI Lupo is less painful... 🤷🏻‍♀️

I cannot find the specific rule anywhere. Lots of info on Northern Ireland, but 'other' non EU countries...? The UK gov rule says that exports from an online German shop to me in the UK over €150 means that I must pay the VAT in the UK, so the German seller MUST remove the German VAT. Under €150, I must pay it in Germany.

But you're right- it looks like German (or any other EU website sellers), are not allowed to remove the VAT. If this is true, it explains the problems we (in the UK) are having with buying online from the EU. There is also no clear 'EU rule' for items under €150, where the VAT has been paid already. I'm guessing it means that there are two rules- the UK rules and the EU rules. Or maybe the EU rules simply haven't been updated? There is a trade agreement in place...

I buy a lot of car parts/tyres from EU web sites (or used to), because the shipping is often free and the parts have to be certified (which means you always get OEM quality= excellent value for money). Everything has stopped. The 'cheap' stuff you get from ECP or GSF is often made in china or India and is not quality. Cheap stuff in Germany is quality! :)


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This informative page very clearly says you are right: https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/taxation/vat/vat-rules-rates/index_en.htm


VAT isn't charged on exports of goods to countries outside the EU. In these cases, VAT is charged and due in the country of import and you don't need to declare any VAT as an exporter. However, when exporting goods you will need to provide documentation as proof that the goods were transported outside the EU. Such proof could be provided by presenting a copy of an invoice, a transportation document or an import customs record to your tax authorities.

There should be a way to get these items without paying VAT twice.


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Thanks for that most excellent info. 👍🏻 That must have taken you ages to find! I looked and couldn't find it- probably the same as many EU companies.

Now we need to tell every courier and company in the EU, so they can start selling to us again! Argghhh! So annoying.

Yes, there should be a way to get things without paying VAT twice. My guess is that the EU based web sites need changing to the new rules, and it's easier for them to just say no trade with the UK. The first companies that fix their web sites will get the most business. If it was my business, I'd make very sure to get this working now. I'd make all the money!

The other problem is also with used goods, traded between individuals, like on Ebay. People are being charged VAT by Ebay on the imports from the EU to the UK. So if you buy granny's old used socks from Germany, you will now have to pay an extra 20% on the total auction or buy it now price. That is also wrong... 

Edited by mk2
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