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Thread: Customs (Brexit) update

  1. #1
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    Talking Customs (Brexit) update

    Morning all!

    A few months ago, I asked how Brexit would affect watches going back and forth between the UK and EU.

    Recently, I experienced that impact.

    I bought a watch from a UK seller (not TF) for £277 (€305) for delivery to Amsterdam. On that watch, I paid a duty of €77, based on a 21% VAT and €13 "processing charge", so the watch cost me about 25% more.

    All I can say is that I'm glad I bought my TF watches before 2021, as it's going to be tough going (financially) in the future...

  2. #2
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    Not specifically watch related, but I was very brave and ordered a motorcycle part from a retailer in the Netherlands (who use UPS to deliver). They were obviously well organised, didn't charge me Dutch VAT, and the part arrived at my house in 4 days. I got an e-mail from UPS wanting to me to pay UK VAT when it arrived in the UK, which I did to avoid any delays, though I think I could have paid the delivery guy. So everything worked out pretty well, the only irritation being that UPS charged me £11.50 handling fee for sending me a few automated e-mails, taking an automated web-based payment, and forwarding my VAT to HMRC, presumably via an automated payment system!!

  3. #3
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidzet View Post
    Morning all!

    A few months ago, I asked how Brexit would affect watches going back and forth between the UK and EU.

    Recently, I experienced that impact.

    I bought a watch from a UK seller (not TF) for £277 (Ä305) for delivery to Amsterdam. On that watch, I paid a duty of Ä77, based on a 21% VAT and Ä13 "processing charge", so the watch cost me about 25% more.

    All I can say is that I'm glad I bought my TF watches before 2021, as it's going to be tough going (financially) in the future...
    Was it a professional seller, or a private one? In the first case they should have deducted UK VAT. You probably would still have had to pay the 21% (albeit on a smaller amount) and the processing charge, but it would have been not much more than tenner over UK street price.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  4. #4
    Couple of items I've bought from the US since Brexit have slipped in w/o charge. These were ~£100 each and previously (from same retailer) have always been charged. Could be UK customs just too busy now?

    Edit - Or they're concentrating on EU?
    Last edited by Kingstepper; 26th March 2021 at 10:17.

  5. #5
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    I've bought two watches recently from a German dealer. The EU or German VAT wasn't added, but I paid 20% VAT plus the couriers handling fee. So apart from the couriers fee the price is almost the same as I would have paid pre-Brexit. 1% difference in VAT I believe.

    Not sure how it would work on a private purchase if the seller has already paid local VAT, HMRC would still charge 20% when it lands, so presumably the VAT is being paid twice on the same Watch.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Couple of items I've bought from the US since Brexit have slipped in w/o charge. These were ~£100 each and previously (from same retailer) have always been charged. Could be UK customs just too busy now?

    Edit - Or they're concentrating on EU?
    At least your goods got here.

    I recently tried to order some items from the USA - flashlight and pocket knife - the flashlight seller won't ship to the UK, full stop. That is annoying as I have bought form them before.

    The pocket knife maker is looking into the paperwork but they are a literal 'husband and wife' team so I don't hold out much hope.

    It's an odd world

  7. #7
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    The only trade deal in history to actively negotiate worse terms than what went before.
    Cheers..
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  8. #8
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    That is a tiny import bill, wait till you need something expensive from the EU that has a higher duty rate. Duty rates vary for different types of goods, they have it all worked out.

    I seem to remember the UK has applied to join the 11 CPTPP trading group of countries that includes Japan.
    Im not sure how that works but it would be great to be able to import watches from Japan with no fees at all.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    That is a tiny import bill, wait till you need something expensive from the EU that has a higher duty rate. Duty rates vary for different types of goods, they have it all worked out.
    But the joke is that we have all this hassle with VAT and shipping - and there aren't any import duties on goods from the EU. Imagine the hell No Deal would have produced if Import Duties (which are absurdly complicated) had to be calculated and paid as well!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    That is a tiny import bill, wait till you need something expensive from the EU that has a higher duty rate. Duty rates vary for different types of goods, they have it all worked out.

    I seem to remember the UK has applied to join the 11 CPTPP trading group of countries that includes Japan.
    Im not sure how that works but it would be great to be able to import watches from Japan with no fees at all.
    That would only apply if the origin of the goods was non-EU, at which point you might as well order direct from the country of origin. Alibaba, Wish etc will all do well from this.

    On your last point, lack of import duty would confer a relatively tiny advantage but there will still be import VAT, so youíd be hardly any better off.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MrGrumpy View Post
    But the joke is that we have all this hassle with VAT and shipping - and there aren't any import duties on goods from the EU. Imagine the hell No Deal would have produced if Import Duties (which are absurdly complicated) had to be calculated and paid as well!
    There is import duty from EU to GB.

  12. #12
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    I think any current hassles are due to everyone just getting used to the new arrangements and also some vendors in the UK and the EU not bothering to prepare for the change in advance. I also think some courier companies in the UK are taking advantage with their fees.

    My experience living outside the EU for a number of years is that VAT has often been a hassle when ordering items from the UK, with vendors not really understanding or caring that UK VAT should be removed when delivering outside the EU. Ordering from mainland Europe to outside the EU on the other hand has usually been very straightforward and savvy companies in Germany and the Netherlands especially will remove their home VAT as a matter of course (with courier companies simply applying my home VAT/customs and a relatively modest admin fee on delivery). The other thing to say is that when items are delivered by the big courier companies like DPD or UPS, all fees are applied, almost without fail. If the items are sent via the normal post however (for example Japanese companies sometimes use the EMS postal service), customs sometimes miss them/let them through.

    Over the years, I've taken the approach that if a company in Europe cant be bothered to make things easy, I'll simply order from someone else. One upside is that these issues encourage customers to buy locally and therefore benefit their home economy - see the Erika's Originals thread.

  13. #13
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidzet View Post
    Morning all!

    A few months ago, I asked how Brexit would affect watches going back and forth between the UK and EU.

    Recently, I experienced that impact.

    I bought a watch from a UK seller (not TF) for £277 (€305) for delivery to Amsterdam. On that watch, I paid a duty of €77, based on a 21% VAT and €13 "processing charge", so the watch cost me about 25% more.

    All I can say is that I'm glad I bought my TF watches before 2021, as it's going to be tough going (financially) in the future...
    Surely you wouldn't have been charged UK vat.

    "If you sell, send or transfer goods out of the UK you do not normally need to charge VAT on them. You can zero rate most exports from:

    Great Britain to any destination outside the UK"

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-expo...g-goods-abroad

    But you paid vat at the EU rate which you would normally pay on goods anyway being in an EU country?

    So I can't see how you are worse off, except where you live you have a slightly higher vat rate and the €13 processing charge.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    Surely you wouldn't have been charged UK vat.

    "If you sell, send or transfer goods out of the UK you do not normally need to charge VAT on them. You can zero rate most exports from:

    Great Britain to any destination outside the UK"

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-expo...g-goods-abroad

    But you paid vat at the EU rate which you would normally pay on goods anyway being in an EU country?

    So I can't see how you are worse off, except where you live you have a slightly higher vat rate and the ‚ā¨13 processing charge.
    We donít know where he bought the watch from.
    Did he buy new or preowned? Was the seller a business or private seller.
    He might be worse off or not.
    Not enough information.

  15. #15
    Master Tetlee's Avatar
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    I currently want to buy a retro computer from eBay France, but main thing holding me back is o have no idea what extra charges I'll be hit by when it arrives. It's already best part of £300 so I guess I could be adding £60+ to that on arrival?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    There is import duty from EU to GB.
    Not on goods produced mostly or wholly in the EU though. So I don't think we would pay import on a Nomos or GO for example.


    I assumed the OP had bought 2nd hand so he didn't get any discount of UK VAT and paid EU vat on import.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamakazie! View Post
    Not on goods produced mostly or wholly in the EU though. So I don't think we would pay import on a Nomos or GO for example.


    I assumed the OP had bought 2nd hand so he didn't get any discount of UK VAT and paid EU vat on import.
    German-made chemicals. 4% duty payable.


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  18. #18
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    The % rate of duty is determined by the commodity code. That can be determined at the Taric website and depends on the characteristics of the product. Even chemical products have different % duty depending on their composition and purpose. However any goods with the country of origin being an EU country have a preferential 0% duty rate when imported into the UK.

    Same applies in reverse, so GB goods have a zero rate into the EU. Anyone charging or paying duty is doing it wrong.

    However only GB goods have the zero rate so EU goods coming to the UK have an import duty if imported back to the EU. That is a stupidity of the FTA.

    Thatís just import duty. VAT, additional fees, clearance charges can still be charged. Itís a proper racket.

  19. #19
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    All this fuss i just can't understand, for years ive been buying from all over the world, if it came in from outside the eu i paid vat and handling and i knew that, new or used. if buying from an international seller, like gnomon they deducted their vat at source then shipped, i bought a watch from them when i was in singapore last time and paid local vat even though i said i was exporting it.
    I guess some companies just can't be bothered to go export zero rated as it affects their local vat return, and there is no vat refundable on a private sale.
    So really dealing with good international sellers should only be a couple pounds and handling charge different, and has the paperwork changed that much, the number of times ive posted to the US and have to fill out and print customs forms, looks way harder than it actually is.

  20. #20
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJL25 View Post
    We donít know where he bought the watch from.
    Did he buy new or preowned? Was the seller a business or private seller.
    He might be worse off or not.
    Not enough information.
    Well, he said "UK seller (not TF)" which I took to mean a UK seller but not Timefactors, which led me to believe it was a business and probably a new watch.

    If it bothers you that much PM him and ask.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    Well, he said "UK seller (not TF)" which I took to mean a UK seller but not Timefactors, which led me to believe it was a business and probably a new watch.

    If it bothers you that much PM him and ask.
    My point was simply that we donít know if he is worse off or not.
    SC is full of UK sellers. Most of them are private sellers.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by EJL25 View Post
    My point was simply that we donít know if he is worse off or not.
    SC is full of UK sellers. Most of them are private sellers.
    Whatís the relevance of SC? Was never mentioned.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Whatís the relevance of SC? Was never mentioned.
    Just to illustrate that UK seller can mean either business or private seller.

  24. #24
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    I only ever bought one watch from the EU, from a French private seller and although tempted at times, never bothered with EU chrono24 dealers because of the risk of EU postal services (Italian dealers lften had great prices but running the gauntlet of the Italian post was never a risk I was willing to take).

    I wonder if Eddie sees a drop off in EU purchases or whether the cost of TF watches means that even with extra charges, the products are still great value for money and EU buyers aren't put off by any extra import charges.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetlee View Post
    I currently want to buy a retro computer from eBay France, but main thing holding me back is o have no idea what extra charges I'll be hit by when it arrives. It's already best part of £300 so I guess I could be adding £60+ to that on arrival?
    ebay add VAT of the target country so its not needed to be collected on import before shipping. Check eBay pages.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    ebay add VAT of the target country so its not needed to be collected on import before shipping. Check eBay pages.
    It's weird as some sellers seem to show it to be added, others not.

    Regardless I ordered it so see what happens.

  27. #27
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetlee View Post
    It's weird as some sellers seem to show it to be added, others not.

    Regardless I ordered it so see what happens.
    hope this helps:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/help/listings/default/vat-obligations-eu

  28. #28
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJL25 View Post
    My point was simply that we donít know if he is worse off or not.
    SC is full of UK sellers. Most of them are private sellers.
    He never mentioned SC so what has it got to do with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by EJL25 View Post
    Just to illustrate that UK seller can mean either business or private seller.


    Yes, 'UK seller' could mean either business or private seller. But saying. "a UK seller (not TF)" implies it's a business seller.

    davidzet seems strangely quiet about the whole affair...................
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRGS View Post
    However only GB goods have the zero rate so EU goods coming to the UK have an import duty if imported back to the EU. That is a stupidity of the FTA.
    Even that isn't straight forward, for example if you buy certain components for a bike and then hang them off a UK made frame, you can import in to Europe tariff free.
    I think even different products require different amounts of in country 'origin' to make them tariff free. Bit of a minefield initially which is why many businesses just put some orders on hold.

    I understand why they've done it though. They want to recoup tax wherever they can and want to avoid the UK from undercutting on import.

  30. #30
    Master Neilw3030's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    So if i use my business vat number i can import with no vat charges, as it will be the business responsibility to report accordingly ??
    But then i suppose vat will be levied by the post office or courier anyway.

  31. #31
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    Customs (Brexit) update

    Quote Originally Posted by Neilw3030 View Post
    So if i use my business vat number i can import with no vat charges, as it will be the business responsibility to report accordingly ??
    But then i suppose vat will be levied by the post office or courier anyway.
    The vendor in the EU will zero rate it as a business export.

    But unless the business has a deferment number the courier will account for the import vat to HMRC on their account and bill your company with a vat invoice +handling fee ~£10-12 or so in the same way they bill you personally.

    Of course the vat is not reclaimable by the business if itís not a business expense, so using this method for importing personal goods would be of little if any benefit.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetlee View Post
    I currently want to buy a retro computer from eBay France, but main thing holding me back is o have no idea what extra charges I'll be hit by when it arrives. It's already best part of £300 so I guess I could be adding £60+ to that on arrival?
    for the goods I buy on ebay (cacti/suculents Italy) UK vat is added at checkout and that's it

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    Yes, 'UK seller' could mean either business or private seller. But saying. "a UK seller (not TF)" implies it's a business seller.

    davidzet seems strangely quiet about the whole affair...................
    Sorry for the silence (life intervened!)

    I bought a new watch from a UK vendor (and maybe manufacturer) and the price I paid was the same as advertised on the website (so, VAT included?)

    Thus, I think I maybe paid VAT twice.

    I'll ask, in fact.

    =====
    Update: I just emailed this:

    On your website (and my invoice), the price is £264.95 and the invoice says “VAT = 0” but your site says "All prices quoted are in GBP £ and are inclusive of 17.5% VAT”

    So, given that I paid €64 of Dutch VAT, was there perhaps a mistake in which I should have paid a lower (ex VAT) price to you?

    =====
    =====
    Update 2: Their reply

    Thank you for your email and you should have used the VATFREE voucher code to remove the UK Vat.

    I will try and make it clearer on the website for EU Customers.

    I will speak to the accounts department to see what we can do for you.


    and My reply:

    Thanks for your reply. Since calculating VAT is not a common feature for “check outs” perhaps the best would be a function (or step or question?) that asks “are you outside the UK” and then removes VAT?

    But that’s a topic for your “basket” programmer :)

    Hopefully, your accounting dept can find a legal/financial excuse to refund VAT to me.

    I know that Brexit has messed up everyone (!), so I’m only expecting you all to do your best :)

    =====
    =====
    Update 3 (19 Apr): The seller mailed me a £45 bracelet (black SS) so they did their best :)
    Last edited by davidzet; 19th April 2021 at 15:50. Reason: more info

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