Omniva explains: Ordering from e-shops in the United Kingdom becomes more expensive from the new year

The post-Brexit transfer period ends with the start of the new year, meaning that from 1 January 2021, new rules apply when ordering packages from the United Kingdom. VAT is added to parcels worth more than 22 euros and customs duty must be paid on parcels worth more than 150 euros.

According to the head of the international segment of Omniva parcel business Marita Mägi, from the new year, the same conditions apply to UK parcels as those valid for all third countries. “This means that UK parcels are equal with, for example, US or Chinese shipments – mostly, this means 20% VAT in the case of parcels worth more than 22 euros. In the case of shipments worth more than 150 euros, customs duty must also be paid and this amount depends on the specific items,” Mägi explained. You can look up an item’s customs duty rate from the Estonian tariff system using the product’s commodity code.

Restrictions or special permit requirements are enforced for sending or ordering certain goods; therefore, you should read the rules provided on the website of the Tax and Customs Board before ordering. For example, it is forbidden to order medicine from online shops. Attention must be paid when ordering food supplements – before ordering, make sure that the other country’s food supplements are not listed as medicine in Estonia.

The person who orders may get an unpleasant surprise if the order is placed in December but the goods are shipped in the new year. “People have to consider that if the order is made in December this year, but the seller posts the items in 2021, the new rules will apply to the shipment and the person who orders must pay the additional fees. For example, if a 50-euro parcel ordered on 29 December is shipped from the UK on 2 January 2021, VAT will be added to that parcel,” Mägi said as an example.

UK online shops are popular among Estonian e-shoppers – the UK is among the first five destination countries both in terms of orders received and parcels sent. The main products ordered from the UK are beauty products, electronics and fashion items.

It is worth knowing that with Brexit approaching, most of the major online shops have moved their warehouses to EU countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Mägi reminds everyone that regardless of the online shop, always pay attention to the purchase and shipping conditions to avoid later problems.