Before Brexit, shopping within Europe was as easy as clicking add to cart and paying for your dream matchy set. There was no worry about customs, import, duty, tax, handling charges, queues at ports and an abundance of acronyms it took me six months to get my head around!
Brexit may have been a couple of years back now, but I still see posts popping up on social media, or customers in my inbox asking for advice on purchasing in a post-Brexit world.
Post Brexit, if you're shopping from outside the UK, you should not be charged "VAT" or "Tax" from a business based in the UK. The tax is applicable in the purchaser's own country, not the country where the business is located and depends on that country’s import rules. However, not every UK company is set up to support this. If you are charged UK VAT, you may still be charged tax at the parcel point of entry into your country. Shopping at Equissentials, you'll see tax is removed from your basket total at the point of checkout as soon as you input your address and the website recognises the delivery as outside of the UK.
What about customs? Customs is the area that people tend to feel the most dread about about from worrying how much they will be charged to trying to decipher which text messages and emails are legitimately asking them to pay customs and which might be from illegitimate sources!
The answer isn't as simple as the tax question, in that it varies from country to country as to the import or customs duty threshold. For example, importing into the UK is £145 threshold, whereas in the US the limit is $800, and across much of Europe the limit is €150. There are many online calculators where you can input the product description, and its value to get an approximate calculation of fees applicable on an order before it is delivered - just type into a search engine "Import duty calculator your country".
Most issues with customs centre around businesses either inputting the wrong commodity code (in which case the package won’t make it through customs), not putting a value on packages (in which case the value is often estimated by customs which may not be correct) or labelling packages as a gift (this doesn’t circumvent customs and again may lead to customs officers having to estimate charges).
We've made shopping in the post-Brexit world as simple as possible for our international customers.
- All orders for International customers are handled via an international courier on a specialist delivery service
- VAT is not charged on any International orders.
- All packages are clearly labelled with all required information including the value of the package and an electronic sales invoice attached to the shipment to speed up the process
- Customs are settled directly between the courier service and the customer with clear communication and a secure online payment gateway.
When shopping internationally, it's always worth checking postage costs. It can often be cheaper to opt for a slightly slower service - I'm always happy to look at options for you if you drop me a message - and it's always useful to consider splitting postage for a larger parcel and sharing an order with friends.
As always, if you have any questions on postage, couriers, or shipping - drop me a note, but I hope this has helped clear up some post-Brexit shopping confusion!