Shipping to Europe after Brexit. The changes you need to know

New changes to how you can receive and send products with the arrival of Brexit on the 1st of January 2021. Since then, we’ve been awash with information from every angle and not all of it makes complete sense. It can be confusing, frustrating and often difficult to work out exactly what you need to do and when regarding shipping to Europe post Brexit. We’ve compiled a short guide on the essentials you need to know in order to keep your ecommerce business moving forward during this confusing time.

Which countries are a part of the European union?

Let’s start with the basics, the countries that you will need to be aware of new legislation for when shipping are as follows:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

What documentation will I need when sending to Europe?

From January, shipments into an EU member state are now treated the same as international shipments and so they must clear customs. If you’ve shipped internationally before, this documentation may seem familiar to you. In order to ship to EU member states (listed above) you now need:

1.EU VAT Registration (preferably in the country you are shipping to). We will delve into VAT later in this article. 2.Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI). It’s a mouthful, I know. An EORI number is assigned to each exporter and importer in order to monitor the movement of goods between non EU and EU countries. You can identify a UK EORI number as it will begin with GB. If you do not have an EORI number, you will need to apply for one (or more), if not, when shipping to Europe from the UK, your goods won’t be cleared by customs and will be held until you can supply the completed documentation. This will cause delays and possibly additional charges. Ideally you will have an EORI in the same countries where you registered for EU VAT to reduce the risk of border delays. 3.Commercial Invoice. This is used as a customs declaration. The document is supplied by the person shipping the item and describes the goods and value of the shipment to determine the customs duties to be paid. To make life a little easier, we’ve found a great commercial invoice template you can download here. New EU VAT Rules From the 1st of July 2021, there are significant changes to the European Union’s Value Added Tax rules regarding shipping goods into the EU. These reforms primarily focus on B2C e-commerce imports. The points below offer a quick overview of the changes you need to be aware of.

  • Goods valued up to €22 - From the 1st of July 2021, goods valued up to €22 are no longer exempt from VAT and will require customs clearance. However, they are exempt from customs charges. Therefore, you will need a commercial invoice for anything below €22.

  • Goods up to €150 - When selling to EU customers you have two ways to pay your VAT - Bill your delivery account, VAT is usually worked out at the point of import and often couriers will then charge your business - Charge consumers VAT at the point of sale and declare it to the EU, you can use a platform to do this such as the IOSS platform.

  • Goods over €150 - Thankfully, the EU VAT reform only applies to goods under €150. This means if you’re sending anything over that threshold, you can continue to charge, declare and pay EU VAT just as you do today.

These are the changes you need to know in order to send your parcels into the EU as smoothly as possible. There are a lot of avenues of information we could go down to explain every aspect of the process but as a seller you just need to know the documentation you need, where and how to register your VAT and the rest should be fine. If you are concerned about the VAT aspect, we recommend contacting an accountant or Trading Standards who should be able to assist you further. If at any point during the shipping process you are confused, it’s best to check with your delivery provider that you have everything you need. They will know what information you need to get your package from A to B. It’s always a good idea to check what your packages are covered for when shipping abroad as replacing a stolen, lost or broken item after all of that paperwork is not only upsetting but could be costly. We recommend you look into goods in transit insurance such as Offcourse cover to ensure your deliveries are covered during their long journey. How do you feel about the changes to shipping post Brexit?

If you didn’t send to the EU before, have these changes put you off?

Let us know in the comments.

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