The B Word

Every so often we get to publish a post on such thrilling topics as VAT, shipping rates or last posting dates for Christmas (just in case you were wondering – you’re too late now). Today we tackle everyone’s favourite, Brexit – and we’ll keep it brief, we have no more desire to write a long-winded post than you have to read one. But we want to reassure any of our European customers who may be concerned about ordering from us after January 1st.

Firstly, this only really affects customers in the EU – so if you live in a country outside the EU, including the UK, feel free to stop here.

As we write, ten days from the end of the year, we’re still none the wiser about whether or not there will be a trade deal in place on January 1st – but that probably won’t affect things for us either way. The UK government has published plenty of guidance for business-to-business transactions with EU companies post Brexit, but not much we can find for companies like us that ship directly to EU customers – so what follows is how we understand things.

Currently, EU customers pay VAT on orders from us at the standard UK rate of 20%. As of January 1st, this will no longer be charged, so everything will get 1/6th cheaper. As far as we know shipping rates will remain the same as well, and you’ll no longer be charged VAT on shipping either. So far, so good.

However, you may be liable for import duty and taxes when the package arrives in your country. We can’t estimate how much these will be as they vary from country to country even in the EU, but VAT is likely to be at your local rate. You may also have to pay a processing fee. Most countries have a minimum order value before charges are applied (in the UK it’s £15) and not every parcel gets caught, it can depend on how busy or diligent your customs service are – it’s quite hit and miss here, and the smaller the order, the greater the chance of it slipping through the net.

From our point of view we will have to fill in a customs declaration for each order stating the contents and their value. The value we put is for the contents, we don’t include shipping, and during a sale we would enter the discounted value (ie what you actually paid, not the full price). Some countries will charge different rates on different types of item, so if we can help by describing the contents in a certain way (eg ‘Toys and Games’ or ‘Gaming Miniatures’) then let us know and we’ll do what we can. However, please do not ask us to understate the value of your order – we will always enter the correct value on the form.

So, in summary

  • you’ll no longer pay UK VAT on items or shipping
  • Shipping rates and shipping times shouldn’t be affected (unless there’s some initial short-term disruption)
  • You may be liable for import VAT and/or duty, but this will probably be similar to what you’d have paid in VAT directly to us before Brexit
  • Smaller orders may not be liable at all
  • If you’re lucky, you might not have to pay anything, in which case our models will be cheaper than before Brexit 🙂

OK, that’ll do – if we can help any further then please ask, and if anyone has a better understanding of the process (quite likely!) then let us know and we’ll update this post.