Brexit rules are tough for online stores: ‘sending to China is easier’

In particular, the rules regarding VAT have changed since January 1. Due to Brexit, the European Union countries and the United Kingdom are no longer seen as a single country for VAT, and entrepreneurs are no longer allowed to simply charge the Dutch value-added tax on a certain amount.

For deliveries under £ 135, European web stores are now required to charge VAT to the UK tax authorities. They need a UK VAT number for this.

Haas has applied for a UK VAT number, but has not yet received it. They are not alone, London correspondent Tim de Witt says: “The UK tax authorities are terribly late in providing value-added tax information.”

And there are more obstacles for Haas. “Supposing we got a VAT number, it is still unclear how difficult it is, because we have no idea how to recover taxes: what kind of system they have, how complex it is, and whether there are costs involved.” Shipping costs are also higher and delivery times may be longer.

Clumsy and not customer friendly

Willem Buntrop from Visdeal online store received a VAT number. It sells fishing gear and continues to deliver it to the UK despite the extra paperwork. “We make nearly a quarter of our sales in the UK, which is an important country to us.”

The company was fully immersed in the final weeks of 2020. “We had to add codes and country of origin to 25,000 products. It took us many hours.”

The first parcels sent under the new rules, Pontrope followed closely. “I watched how the cargo was going through the track and trace. I got up at 4:30 in the morning and looked again at how things were going, but everything was going. There was a bit of a delay.”

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