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VAT on 2nd hand EU purchases


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I have often bought from sellers across Europe. But my understanding is that now any purchases (even 2nd hand) made from 1 Jan will be subject to VAT @ 20%. In addition import charges will also apply. Any experts care to comment if this true.

Cheers

Ian

Edited by alphatoner
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Not an expert, but some experience. If you buy from a VAT registered EU seller, then they will (should) remove their own country's VAT portion - you will then pay 20% UK VAT on arrival. There wil

'Second-hand on eBay...was more expensive' Some useful examples and explanations, here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55752541

As you appear to be based in Ireland the rules will be different there. Asking sellers to mark the value down of items is risk if its insured and lost or damaged. Its also illegal!

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Not an expert, but some experience.

If you buy from a VAT registered EU seller, then they will (should) remove their own country's VAT portion - you will then pay 20% UK VAT on arrival. There will almost certainly also be a customs handling fee (this might be a flat fee or a percentage depending on the agent) but duty is unlikely to be charged (from what I can glean from my tax accountant - the government advice is still 'awaited'). If you buy from a VAT registered seller in a country that has a higher VAT rate than the UK, (e.g. Sweden is 25%) then you might break even, or slightly better. Mostly, though, you will likely be slightly worse off.

If you're buying from a non VAT registered EU seller then you will pay UK VAT and a customs handling fee on top of the full item price instead of paying only the item price as you would have done before 1st Jan 2021. If you're buying via eBay, they are endeavouring to display the 'extra charges' on the listing for UK buyers.

Hope this helps. Bear in mind that the situation seems to be evolving*. 

*evolving is a polite word for HMRC is making it up as they go along.

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Surely if you buy off auction sites like eBay you just pay the final price. Who's going to add what to that? 

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6 minutes ago, pmcuk said:

Surely if you buy off auction sites like eBay you just pay the final price. Who's going to add what to that? 

VAT will be added by UK customs.

In the same way that charges are collected on items coming from the rest of the world.

We were in a customs union inside the EU. Now we are not.

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The way it *allegedly* works now is that if the value of the package is over £135 then import duty/VAT is applied at UK customs as it was before (only with the cut off level now raised to £135). If the value is £135 or less then the business selling into the UK has to register for UK VAT and charge you the VAT directly at point of sale, then pay that VAT to the UK treasury. Hence why some EU companies are no longer shipping to the UK, until they get their systems and registration sorted out. (That same system of paying VAT directly to the buyers country is being adopted within the EU in July BTW, so possibly some EU companies will suspend shipping to the UK until then when they have to update everything anyway). There is now no "low value" exemption where VAT is not collected (used to be £15 or £20 or so) on commercial packages, but low value gifts are still VAT free.

As already mentioned if the EU seller is VAT registered then they'll remove the VAT at point of sale (on items values at over £135) making that payment cheaper, but then UK customs will add 20% VAT at this end, so it'll end up around the same or slightly more.

If the EU seller isn't VAT registered or the item is from a private seller and value is over £135 then UK customs will apply VAT at the point of import... it's not clear what happens on an item from a private seller valued below £135. In theory they'd need to register for and charge UK VAT, but the EU has a system for "micro businesses" exporting less than 10K euros worth per year who are exempt from collecting the VAT for the destination country, so presumably  (hopefully!) we'll have something similar in the UK and private sellers and very small companies who aren't VAT registered in their own country will be able to send you a package valued at £135 or less without attracting VAT at UK customs.

Edited by cynix
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1 hour ago, savvypaul said:

Bear in mind that the situation seems to be devolving*. 

*devolving is a polite word for HMRC is making cocking it up as they go along.

FTFY

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I live in a Portugal and have just bought new goods on Amazon from the U.K..  As you can see Amazon charged me an importation fee deposit. I assume that the reverse is true as this never happened last year.

In addition I bought a secondhand item for $270 from the USA and was charged importation fees of $90.87

59B9F620-7432-48AB-84AE-0675577D891C.jpeg

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6 hours ago, pmcuk said:

Surely if you buy off auction sites like eBay you just pay the final price. Who's going to add what to that? 

The carrier such as the post office will be obliged to get you to pay anything due before they release the goods to you

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This is the official UK government advice from their website 15 January 7.00 GMT, 15 days after the implementation date

Buying things from Europe from 1 January 2021

The Brexit transition period has ended and new rules for buying things from Europe now apply. This page is currently out of date.

There may be changes to things like your consumer rights and how much tax you need to pay when you buy products or services from the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland from 1 January 2021.

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7 hours ago, pmcuk said:

Surely if you buy off auction sites like eBay you just pay the final price. Who's going to add what to that? 

I have bought a number of second hand items from USA recently on ebay and had them shipped using their Global Shipping Programme where I paid UK VAT and Import Duties up front to ebay. That has ensured a seamless journey through customs. I assume similar will be available for EU purchases.

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Ok, so i was right. Just means that buying 2nd hand from europe is no longer sensible imo. I'm looking at a TT for 850 euro which is a good, but not a great price add on 20% + the handling fee + import duty and it's most definitely not. Shame I was a regular on ebay.de and found German sellers very honest & helpful. 

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Turning this the other way round, I just sold a small bundle of vinyl at the start of January this year to a buyer in Italy via Discogs, and lo and behold I had an e-mail from the courier company from Italy stating that an import fee and a handling fee was to be paid by the buyer, needless to say we were both shocked as neither of us  had ever come across this situation before,  I had sent it via parcels2go, and they do have disclaimer regarding duties to be paid, I have since used the Royal Mail and I have sent quite a few to Europe since the new year without this problem.

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34 minutes ago, p147 said:

Turning this the other way round, I just sold a small bundle of vinyl at the start of January this year to a buyer in Italy via Discogs, and lo and behold I had an e-mail from the courier company from Italy stating that an import fee and a handling fee was to be paid by the buyer, needless to say we were both shocked as neither of us  had ever come across this situation before,  I had sent it via parcels2go, and they do have disclaimer regarding duties to be paid, I have since used the Royal Mail and I have sent quite a few to Europe since the new year without this problem.

Ah, that's interesting. So it can depend on the courier. Turning that around, it may be better to use the German Post Office than a private courier like DHL. Basically I'm just guessing here - it's only January and things should get clearer as we go on. 

I'm particularly concerned about output transformers for tube equipment - Lundahl for instance in Sweden. We have Sowter in the UK but he's expensive. Hammond might see price rises as well - they come from Canada so in theory no change if it's a UK retailer. Different if it's an EU retailer. I've bought a lot of tubes from the EU recently to get in before the deadline so I have a good stock. 

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WAFU

I've altered my eBay searches so they only display UK items for now. 

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11 hours ago, pmcuk said:

Surely if you buy off auction sites like eBay you just pay the final price. Who's going to add what to that? 

The situation with the EU now I believe is just the same as if you were buying from the USA, China, Hong Kong, Australia etc so second hand goods will be classed as being imported with VAT and Duty charged on the TOTAL cost INCLUDING any shipping and insurance charges, plus a courier collection fee (Royal Mail etc). If the purchase is from a seller who pays local gov taxes in their country they should deduct them from your purchase as they will be charged on entry to the UK. There appear to be no charges if the item is under £135 but if you look at the information on the HMRC site it seems to be in a state of flux since I first checked it. They have a list as follows

Type and value of goods                                                                        Customs Duty

Anything under £135                                                                              No charge

Gifts worth £135-£630                                                                            2.5%, but rates are lower for some goods - call the helpline

Gifts above £630 and other goods above £135                                 The rate depends on the type of goods and where they came from - call the helpline

https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad/tax-and-duty

Edited by Glissando
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