Posted: Sat 18 Sep 2021
With less than 100 days to Christmas, HMRC is urging buyers to make sure they don’t get caught up in unforeseen charges when shopping from overseas traders.
The changes introduced on January 1 of this year mean that some UK consumers who purchase gifts for family and friends from businesses in the EU may now have to pay customs fees when delivering their goods.
Just as consumers previously had to pay fees when purchasing certain items from non-EU sellers, the same rules now also apply to goods purchased in the EU.
Buyers who buy stocking fillers or small items don’t have to worry about changes. Only those who buy excisable goods – tobacco or alcohol – or who order luxury items or gifts in consignments valued over £ 135, before the discounts are applied, should be affected.
VAT will still apply to purchases made in consignments valued below £ 135, but should be charged by the seller at the point of sale.
But anyone purchasing a more expensive product from overseas may have to pay import VAT, customs duties and / or excise duties upon receipt of their order. The amount owed will depend on a range of factors, so to avoid surprises, consumers should check with their seller to make sure they don’t end up going over budget this holiday season.
To help buyers, HMRC has produced diagrams to explain the different scenarios when buying from the EU. The government has also released guidelines for consumers to help everyone understand the changes and when, why and how the fees should be paid.
Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, General Managers, Borders and Trade, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said: “With 100 days to go to Christmas, we want to remind buyers of the changes introduced since January 1 so that their current shopping experience is is also fluid. as possible, and that online shoppers are not inadvertently caught up in unforeseen charges.
To learn more about the new rules, check out GOV.UK for a simple guide to possible charges as well as essential information on how to dispute charges, return unwanted goods and get a refund on charges paid. .
Consumers can also find advice on what may be required when sending or receiving items from friends and family living abroad.