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Importing parts from Europe - brave new world

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Hi all,
I thought I'd start a thread on my experience so far with importing parts from Europe in 2021 as it's extremely hard to find any definitive answers online.

If anybody else has had experiences, or is better informed please share.

My experiences are below:

I ordered a couple of small pieces for my steering column rebuild from Germany that arrived a few weeks ago and wasn't charged VAT as they entered the country.†

I also took delivery of a Powersprint exhaust system yesterday, again from Germany which also seemed to whistle through.

I'm starting to notice that some items from on eBay coming in from Europe now have a warning that 20% will be added at checkout, which I imagine could be a tariff (?) but there doesn't seem to be any consistency.

Just chatting with a colleague who took from the reports at the time the trade deal was signed off, that so long as the goods produced in the UK, let's say an exhaust for example, are up to the same emissions standards of Europe there will be no tariff either way. On the flip side however, if the uk started manufacturing exhausts that were below European standards, we could then be hit with a tariff whilst both importing and exporting those goods/exhausts.

†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.

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20% would be domestic VAT, I would expect the exporter will not be paying domestic tax so in theory things should be cheaper and more or less the same at final payment, I would assume this only applies to new not used parts. † If there are any tariffs on parts then this will be factored in at checkout as well I would imagine but I thought they agreed zero tariff†

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Insofar as eBay goes (as it's likely to be the most common source of non-UK classic parts used by private individuals), this is a simplified explaination -

https://sellercentre.ebay.co.uk/global-sales/2021-vat-changes

Having several old cars, I've been getting classic bits'n'pieces that aren't available in the UK from Europe for years.

The VAT / extra cost implications aside, more worrying is a reluctance to send to the UK because of the increased administration / bureaucracy… Even you're prepared to pay the added costs, quite often sellers just don't want to do it.

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I have had similar issues with this type of thing sending parts from the US to Canada….it's . PITA as the receiver has to pay the customs duty… To get around it you had to declare no value and it being a gift.  This even was the case when I was shipping a new computer system from my company, to an employee of the same company in Canada…  

We have a saying over here BOHICA, Bend Over Here it Comes Again…. :)


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The problem is that since the Brexit "Deal" [actually a "Divoice"], is that we no longer have freedom of movement goods between us and Europe.
Apart from the added cost and time delays due to additional untold paperwork and forms and signatures† NOW required when buying (or selling) from Europe† the Uk Government decided that because (some) big cases of VAT fraud had happened in the past, then all sellers or exporters from Eu and otherwise have to register with the UK Revenue VAT department as Agents of the UK Gov in having to collect VAT at point of sale and its them that have to keep records for years and pay back the VAT taken and due immediately to the UK gov.That sounds good doesn't it? Or does it. Well, the mound of paperwork/complication and record keeping is making selling to the UK just too expensive and too risky and that makes the goods unprofitable.
So, many have had no choice but† to (try) to put these extra costs directly onto the Invoice to the consumer, so all goods are going to potentially rise in price significantly. This is bad for us all as consumers in the UK.
In addition the new customs checks and paperwork at ports, with its considerable† new records and multiple signatures required to import or export from the UK, has meant many international couriers have stopped delivering to and from the UK, for now at least. The ones that are left are only able to take the risk (to deliver) if they charge the buyer a huge surcharge to cover the potential liabilities -see below.
The risk is† that delays (especially for fresh produce)† leads† to goods arriving late,† so that the contents are spoilt and unsaleable or unwanted as too late for purpose. These cannot then be returned (re-imported) to the Uk as their now "waste" and the forms of export were for the original cargo- and not "waste" ! and so the exporter has no choice but to have the goods destroyed by incineration (!) at vast cost in the country they have arrived in. Not only has the value of the shipment been reduced to zero, but the whole cost of disposal financially prevents the exporter sending further loads given that the loss on one container can be tens of not hundreds thousands of ££'s. For the exporter this can crush their business. Many are now avoiding the UK which will reduce choice.
Given the above, it now appears that we are all going to pay for what has happened since we 'took back control'.
Instead of the promised "bonfire of red tape.." we have created vastly more…. to the detriment of us all.
So I am afraid that if we are unable, or unwilling to pay significantly more for our purchases (!) well then we won't have access to the to thousands of† VW, and other goods, that were available before….what a C*ck up.:'(Marcus.


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Thanks for all of the replies, really helpful! I'm aware that for my day job I'll now have to export and then reimport my equipment now using a Carnet,†where as before this was only when travelling to certain counties outside of Europe.

Concerning that we could now find ourselves not being able to purchase certain things as the tariffs and paperwork make it unprofitable!†

†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.

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Article on BBC that tried to explain it. †Items over £135 are charged when you receive item, under that are charged at point of sale

Brexit parcel price shock: 'I had to pay £30 for a gift' - BBC News

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I ordered recently in your country , and i have been taxed by the customs of 17 euros for an amount of 60 euros at Matt Lewis Racing.


LIGHTER IS† FASTER !!!

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is it not if its not manufactured with in the
eu buy materials that are outside the eu
you pay import tax ?

Do not know a lot but willing to help if possible

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nicci21paul said

is it not if its not manufactured with in the
eu buy materials that are outside the eu
you pay import tax ?
no paul.. Its everything now from the majority of europe, until individual countries make trade agreements with UK, and that UK Govt then allow tax reduction our side.
Buying from Netherlands, Germany is now costing as much to import as from USA and India. Ive not bought any thing from southern Ireland yet since before new year. But fully expect a TAX/Import duty.

Lask week clutch cables for mk2 polo was 10 euro to purchase, and bought 3 , †then got stung on shipping £16 †and still waiting see if i get them or have to pay import duty. †Its a bit cxxp, until parts arrive i cant even think of a price…i'll never be a millionaire, †but even trying to make a bit of pocket money is becoming hard. Stillhave to see how things settle down, as at the minute prices of shipping is varying and thats including internal,royalmail and hermes, i get charged daily differents rates for things.

VAT and overseas goods sold directly to customers in the UK - GOV.UK

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Kenneth Cartwright said

nicci21paul said

is it not if its not manufactured with in the
eu buy materials that are outside the eu
you pay import tax ?
no paul.. Its everything now from the majority of europe, until individual countries make trade agreements with UK, and that UK Govt then allow tax reduction our side.
Buying from Netherlands, Germany is now costing as much to import as from USA and India. Ive not bought any thing from southern Ireland yet since before new year. But fully expect a TAX/Import duty.

Lask week clutch cables for mk2 polo was 10 euro to purchase, and bought 3 , †then got stung on shipping £16 †and still waiting see if i get them or have to pay import duty. †Its a bit cxxp, until parts arrive i cant even think of a price…i'll never be a millionaire, †but even trying to make a bit of pocket money is becoming hard.

Not sure about who, if anyone, controls what P&P is allowed to be charged and it appears no one is sure who/where/when UK VAT is collected/not collect but there is no way individual EU countries would be allowed to make up their own import/export duties and trade agreements with non-EU countries. That was one of the principle points of BREXIT. †

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Early-1800 said

Kenneth Cartwright said

nicci21paul said

is it not if its not manufactured with in the
eu buy materials that are outside the eu
you pay import tax ?
no paul.. Its everything now from the majority of europe, until individual countries make trade agreements with UK, and that UK Govt then allow tax reduction our side.
Buying from Netherlands, Germany is now costing as much to import as from USA and India. Ive not bought any thing from southern Ireland yet since before new year. But fully expect a TAX/Import duty.

Lask week clutch cables for mk2 polo was 10 euro to purchase, and bought 3 , †then got stung on shipping £16 †and still waiting see if i get them or have to pay import duty. †Its a bit cxxp, until parts arrive i cant even think of a price…i'll never be a millionaire, †but even trying to make a bit of pocket money is becoming hard.

Not sure about who, if anyone, controls what P&P is allowed to be charged and it appears no one is sure who/where/when UK VAT is collected/not collect but there is no way individual EU countries would be allowed to make up their own import/export duties and trade agreements with non-EU countries. That was one of the principle points of BREXIT. †

May be the P&P is now covering the cost of management of shipping and customs paperwork (post and paperwork).. But as a starting point, without paying VAT (hopefully non as below threshold on the 3 items, i've got to double the price of parts to cover my costs at the moment.  my last big order was before christmas was just shy of 5K in parts… im reluctant to invest  anymore until prices ,taxes are confirmed.

On the drive
T25 Diesel…sameoldblueshi£ (currently under resto)
Rocco gt2….1990 secret 2…(currently under resto)
Mk4 99 1.8t indigo blue Gti with 43k miles
Caster 93 clipper JH Green cabby
Snowy 91 GTi White cabby( sat waiting for inspiration)
Myvalver 89 GTi Grey mk2 16v
Yuppy Flu 91 GTi Flash Red Sportline


Golf mk1 owner's club on Spotify

Mk1 golf owners club playlist: Golf mk1 owner's club playlist - YouTube

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Kenneth Cartwright said

Early-1800 said

Kenneth Cartwright said

nicci21paul said

is it not if its not manufactured with in the
eu buy materials that are outside the eu
you pay import tax ?
no paul.. Its everything now from the majority of europe, until individual countries make trade agreements with UK, and that UK Govt then allow tax reduction our side.
Buying from Netherlands, Germany is now costing as much to import as from USA and India. Ive not bought any thing from southern Ireland yet since before new year. But fully expect a TAX/Import duty.

Lask week clutch cables for mk2 polo was 10 euro to purchase, and bought 3 , †then got stung on shipping £16 †and still waiting see if i get them or have to pay import duty. †Its a bit cxxp, until parts arrive i cant even think of a price…i'll never be a millionaire, †but even trying to make a bit of pocket money is becoming hard.

Not sure about who, if anyone, controls what P&P is allowed to be charged and it appears no one is sure who/where/when UK VAT is collected/not collect but there is no way individual EU countries would be allowed to make up their own import/export duties and trade agreements with non-EU countries. That was one of the principle points of BREXIT. †

May be the P&P is now covering the cost of management of shipping and customs paperwork (post and paperwork).. But as a starting point, without paying VAT (hopefully non as below threshold on the 3 items, i've got to double the price of parts to cover my costs at the moment.  my last big order was before christmas was just shy of 5K in parts… im reluctant to invest  anymore until prices ,taxes are confirmed.

 This is what I understood re individual trade deals with member states as it'd go against all that Europe stands for. Still no nasty import surcharge notice through the door for the German exhaust system yet. Either the procedures aren't fully operational at the moment, the goods are exempt or there's something else I'm yet to learn.†

Last edit: by Campaigning for Dave


†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.

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Hi, I need some advice, I sent my loom off to France in November 2020 and paid for the work then, just received loom back via UPS and have been charged import fees, do you think I can claim this back from hmrc?

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Re:

Carl Jones said

Hi, I need some advice, I sent my loom off to France in November 2020 and paid for the work then, just received loom back via UPS and have been charged import fees, do you think I can claim this back from hmrc?
You can try requesting hmrc to look at refunding the part since 2021.  But  since now is February you are paying the France vat and then vat on the services rendered and shipping back. Or thats what's happening in practice on my orders/stuff. I tried today chasing Vat returns and was on hold for 2 hrs before I gave in. There i another form to fill to take tools or parts out short term.and then bring back..but I think you'd still have to pay the repair cost Vat.


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On the drive
T25 Diesel…sameoldblueshi£ (currently under resto)
Rocco gt2….1990 secret 2…(currently under resto)
Mk4 99 1.8t indigo blue Gti with 43k miles
Caster 93 clipper JH Green cabby
Snowy 91 GTi White cabby( sat waiting for inspiration)
Myvalver 89 GTi Grey mk2 16v
Yuppy Flu 91 GTi Flash Red Sportline


Golf mk1 owner's club on Spotify

Mk1 golf owners club playlist: Golf mk1 owner's club playlist - YouTube

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Carl Jones said

Hi, I need some advice, I sent my loom off to France in November 2020 and paid for the work then, just received loom back via UPS and have been charged import fees, do you think I can claim this back from hmrc?
 Bit of a nightmare but have you seen this in the link below?

Apply to pay less duty on goods you export to process or repair† - GOV.UK

†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.

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When I take my kit around the world with me I have always needed to export and then re-import it when I return. None of us would ever need a Carnet form as that pretty full on.

When visiting non Carnet countries I use the form below which is far less involved. Basically you're signing a declaration to prove that the equipment you're taking out of the country is exactly the same when it returns. The form is the C&E1462. Link below.

I'm not 100% sure if this is the appropriate way to handle car spares - also you would have needed to have declared the loom leaving and then signed it back in when it returned.

Declare Returned Goods Relief when using duplicate lists (C&E1246) - GOV.UK

Last edit: by Campaigning for Dave


†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.

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Thanks for the comments and advice.

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Importing parts from Europe - brave new world

Having the same debate with a mate today.
I’ve just bought some gear from my supplier in Germany and he didn’t charge VAT which is 19% in Germany.
Only thing he added was postage.
When the stuff got here I was hit with import VAT and a £12.00 handling admin charge.
Parcel force state that they act as tax agents and pay on your behalf any tax or duty owed to the government.
You then have to repay Parcel force before they will deliver your goods.
I’ve yet to sit down and work out what the VAT rate is.
I’d of thought it’d be the rate from the country of purchase and not the arrival.
My understanding is that no VAT should be charged from the source country as the end user isn’t there.
But should be paid in the destination country.
So if that’s the case we pay 20% instead of Germany 19% rate and add the handling fees.
The EU sets VAT at between 15 and 25%.
But it’s up to the members satiate to set their own.
If they want to set above the 25% limit then they need permission from Brussels.
Ironically VAT was introduced as taxation levy equivalence when joining the EU.
So in theory being as we are out VAT should be scrapped.


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chortle said

Having the same debate with a mate today.
I’ve just bought some gear from my supplier in Germany and he didn’t charge VAT which is 19% in Germany.
Only thing he added was postage.
When the stuff got here I was hit with import VAT and a £12.00 handling admin charge.
Parcel force state that they act as tax agents and pay on your behalf any tax or duty owed to the government.
You then have to repay Parcel force before they will deliver your goods.
I’ve yet to sit down and work out what the VAT rate is.
I’d of thought it’d be the rate from the country of purchase and not the arrival.
My understanding is that no VAT should be charged from the source country as the end user isn’t there.
But should be paid in the destination country.
So if that’s the case we pay 20% instead of Germany 19% rate and add the handling fees.
The EU sets VAT at between 15 and 25%.
But it’s up to the members satiate to set their own.
If they want to set above the 25% limit then they need permission from Brussels.
Ironically VAT was introduced as taxation levy equivalence when joining the EU.
So in theory being as we are out VAT should be scrapped.


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 Really interesting that it seems to be catching up. When I purchased a few bits of stainless from a well known exhaust manufacturer I questioned them on the VAT that I was being charged at the time of purchase as in theory I could have been charged upon arrival too. I wasn't charged this end so didn't worry but if I had been charged I'd have paid 20% on the original price in country plus a further 20% on the ongoing total that could have totalled over 40% of the base price of the item. I.e. if the product cost £20+20%VAT I would pay £24 to the European supplier. When it lands in the UK I could again be hit by 20% plus handling fee. Not sure if I'd pay 20% on the running total or 20% of the original base price minus the selling counties VAT? Anybody's head spinning yet?†

†Black 1984 MK1 Golf GTI Campaign.
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