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Belgian consumers face extra charges on purchases from UK web shops

Purchasing from UK-based web shops has often become a more costly affair since 1 January and the introduction of Boris Johnson’s free trade deal with the EU. In future consumers may face a bill for extra VAT or even import duty!

Francis Adyns of the Belgian finance department explains the impact of the UK leaving the EU for online purchases: “The UK is being treated like China or Australia.  If you purchase anything from these countries above 22 euros, you will need to pay Belgian value added tax (VAT).  If the value of your parcel is in excess of 150 euros Belgian duty will also have to be paid”.

And it’s getting worse!

“Starting this summer VAT will be due on all online purchases from non-EU countries whatever the cost, so starting at zero euros!” says Mr Adyns.

Belgian VAT rates vary depending on the type of product but can total 21%. Some UK web shops deduct UK VAT from your bill, but later you will then have to pay the Belgian rate. 

Francis Adyns: “You will have to pay the VAT and any import duty to the postman or courier who delivers your parcel. They will give you a receipt and make sure the money reaches Belgian customs”.

Some web shops give an all-in price and claim no extra costs will be added.

“These firms strike a deal with the couriers to include all costs in the purchase price, but the problem is the customs have no idea of these deals.”

Some UK businesses are charging ‘customs costs’ too, but that doesn’t cover the duty.  It’s simply a fee charged to cover the cost of the business fulfilling customs formalities!

The message is clear: don’t be surprised if you face extra charges on online orders from Brexit Britain!  

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