UK to EU Shipping Post Brexit: Latest News

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Overnight, from December 31st 2020 to January 1st 2021, the way items were shipped from the UK to the EU changed completely. With the UK officially leaving the European Union a lot changed, and the movement of goods between the two entities is one of the more immediate of those changes.

So what does Brexit mean for shipping goods from the UK to the EU? As package forwarding experts we are here to help.

Can I still ship from the UK to the EU?

The short answer is yes, it’s just a little different now. Before Brexit, shipping from the UK to the EU was simple. You didn’t need to declare the value of your goods, enter commodity codes or describe the goods that were being shipped. In fact, it was the same as a domestic UK shipment. Now, however, you’ll need to complete paperwork that declares the value of your goods, their commodity codes and describes the items.

yes you can

When goods are shipped through forward2me we complete a commercial invoice electronically that states all of this. It’s something we already do for items being shipped from the UK to the rest of the world.

Other than this, you need to understand that there are a number of different charges that either no longer applies for items of a certain value or ones that have been added to goods that cost over a certain amount.

Do I have to pay UK VAT and how does de minimis value affect it?

As the UK is no longer part of the EU, shipping goods outside the UK is now subject to the same rules as to when you ship from the UK to the rest of the world. There is no longer a reverse charge in place, but UK VAT (value-added tax) is given a zero-rating. This means you will not be charged the UK’s VAT when shipping products from the UK to the EU.

no vat free

While you won’t have to pay the UK’s VAT on any order, it doesn’t mean you can shop completely VAT free on all orders. This is where ‘de minimis value’ comes into play.

What is de minimis value?

De minimis value is the minimum amount that an item must cost before VAT charges need to be paid. De minimis is a flat rate across all EU countries and is 22 EUR. This means that for any order shipped from the UK to the EU that’s valued at over 22 EUR, the VAT of the destination country is added.

While the UK’s VAT is 20%, the amount varies across other countries. A full list of the EU’s different VAT standard rates is below:

Country VAT Rate*
Austria, AT 20%
Belgium, BE 21%
Bulgaria, BG 20%
Cyprus, CY 19%
Czech Republic, CZ 21%
Germany, DE 19%
Denmark, DK 25%
Estonia, EE 20%
Greece, EL 24%
Finland, FI 24%
France, FR 20%
Croatia, HR 25%
Hungary, HU 27%
Ireland, IE 23%
Italy, IT 22%
Lithuania, LT 21%
Luxembourg, LU 17%
Latvia, LV 21%
Malta, MT 18%
Netherlands, NL 21%
Poland, PL 23%
Portugal, PT 23%
Romania, RO 19%
Sweden, SE 25%
Slovenia, SI 22%
Slovakia / Slovak Republic, SK 20%

*These rates were accurate at the time of publishing the article on 25/01/2021 and are subject to change.

This means that while you won’t be charged at the UK’s rate, you will be charged at the rate of the destination country and, in some cases, this could be higher.
 

What duty charges do I have to pay when shipping from the UK to the EU?

With VAT the difference in the amounts paid pre and post-Brexit is negligible - you’re just paying EU VAT in the destination country instead of UK VAT in the origin country. Some shipments may require you to pay duties which can make a very big difference to the total amount paid. These duties are completely separate to VAT and are only subject to shipments where the value of the product is 135 GBP / 150 EUR or higher.

duty

When a package is valued between 22 EUR and 135 EUR it will only be subject to the VAT of the destination country. Once it goes over the 135 GBP / 150 EUR threshold however, it will be subject to both VAT and duties, which means your package may drastically jump up in price.

To avoid having to pay excessive tax and duty fees you may want to consider making multiple lower value shipments rather than a single large shipment. However, it’s always worth weighing up whether postage and courier fees will add up to more than the VAT and duty fees you’d have had to pay. 

How does the product origin affect duty fees and shipping costs?

If you can prove the origin of your products was in the UK or EU they may be exempt from added duties. This is the case even if the goods cost 135 GBP 150 EUR or above.

origin

The only thing to keep in mind is that the burden of proof may be difficult and could increase administrative costs. In these circumstances, forward2me will help where possible but it will ultimately be up to you to provide proof of origin.

What couriers ship from the UK to the EU?

You may find that the couriers we offer UK to EU shipping through have changed since Brexit became official. With the additional costs and the added administration that are required, some couriers have ceased shipping items from the UK to the EU.

couriers

The main courier that has stopped shipping is DPD.

Other couriers that do ship include:

  • DHL
  • UPS
  • Untracked budget haulage

Have prices changed for shipping products from the UK to the EU?

It’s worth noting that while forward2me has not added any additional costs themselves, despite the extra admin that’s required, the overall costs of shipping has increased. In addition to the duties and taxes, couriers may have increased costs for the reasons previously mentioned, and customers will be required to pay these fees as part of their shipping.

no extra cost

What’s happening in the future?

Forward2me are pleased to announce that we are opening a completely new dedicated warehouse in Germany in early 2021. This will be owned and operated by forward2me rather than a partner. We wanted to make sure our valued EU customers could still shop and forward packages within the EU in the same way they have been up until now. Our EU warehouse will offer the same benefits that our UK to EU warehouse previously did.

german warehouse

In July 2021, the EU will be updating how it collects VAT from those shipping into it from outside. With Brexit, this means that the UK will be one of the countries affected. It means that shippers bringing items into the EU will have to collect the VAT on behalf of the destination country on goods valued up to 150 EUR. At forward2me we’re already doing this for our Australia and New Zealand package forwarding, so it’s something we have experience with.

Are there any restrictions on what I can ship from the UK to the EU?

While there has always been a list of prohibited items that forward2me can’t send on around the world, there may be some new restrictions coming into play since the UK has left the EU.

If you want to ship animal products, plants, seeds or foodstuffs it may require you to obtain additional approval or a special license to import it into the EU. We would advise that you seek confirmation from our customer service department before you purchase any of these items and we can let you know whether it’s something we can ship to your country.

Alcohol is another item that may see large changes. Brexit will mean that excise duty will be levied on alcohol products that are being shipped from the UK to the EU. This could mean large changes in the cost.

Making personal shipments to the EU

If you want to make a personal shipment from the UK to the EU, this is a little trickier than it was before. While B2B shipments from the UK to EU VAT registered customers are running, as usual, you may want to use our German warehouse once that’s up and running for any personal shipments.