What happens with parcels from the UK after Brexit ?

Since January 1, 2021 that marked the end of the transition period for Brexit, countries from the European Union treat the United Kingdom as what we call a third country, such as China. As a result, if you purchase merchandises from a UK website, the “Practical tips for online purchases through a foreign webshop” have become relevant.

If the value of your package doesn’t exceed 22€, you won’t be subject to additional fees (however, this duty free aspect won’t be applicable starting July 1, 2021).

For amounts above 22€ :

  • A customs declaration is required: the shipper or the declarant may charge additional fees for completing these customs formalities that are then sometimes called ‘customs fees’
  • The import VAT is due

The trade and cooperation agreement concluded with the United Kingdom on December 24, 2020 has no impact on customs formalities nor on the payment of the import VAT.

Import duties

For amounts above 150€, in addition to the two remarks above, import duties are also due.

Import duties are usually calculated as a percentage of the invoice amount. In the case of clothe or shoes we often have duties above 10%. But when it comes to books or a smartphone, there simply isn’t any import duties.

These duties can be waived thanks to the trade and cooperation agreement but… only if the seller of the goods has the “United Kingdom” preferential origin.

This certificate can be obtain only if the goods have effectively been obtained or manufactured in the United Kingdom (according to the rules on origin in the trade and cooperation agreement).

There may be additional charges for goods subject to excise duty (alcohol, alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages). Find out more on the subject: “Entering excise goods”.

The purchase and the sale of manufactured tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, smoking tobacco, shisha tobacco, etc.) via online shops or web platforms is prohibited in Belgium.

So, is there no advantage? Yes there is. Since January 1, 2021, Belgium has become a third country for the United Kingdom. As a result, UK VAT won’t be charged for your purchases on a UK website. You will find more information under the heading “Sending and receiving parcels”.

Example:

The purchase of a costume jewelry worth 160€ on a UK webshop.

Here are the fees related to your purchase:

The shipping costs amount to 35€.

The insurance costs amount to 5€.

You calculate the import duties on 160€ + 35€ + 5€ = 200€

The import duties are 4% of 200€ = 8€

The courier asks for 15€ to for cover administrative fees for the declaration

You calculate the VAT on 160€ + 35€ +5€ +8€ + 15€ = 223€

The VAT is 21% of 223€ = 46,83€

The final price of your jewelry is therefore 269,83€. This cost includes 54,83€ of additional taxes (8€ import duties + 46,83€ VAT).