e-commerce UK brexit

What does the Brexit mean for EU webshops?

The impact of Brexit for EU shippers

As you will be aware of by now, the UK has left The EU and has announced that it will be leaving the EU Customs Union on 31st December, 2020. Whilst there are ongoing negotiations with The EU to agree a Free Trade Agreement, the best that can be expected from these talks is an agreement to not impose quota or Import Duty on some or all commodities on EU origin goods and vice versa. In this blog you can read what impact Brexit has on your EU web shop and what will change with regard to parcel shipping to the United Kingdom. Are you a UK web shop and are you shipping to the EU? Then it is advisable to read our blog “What does the Brexit mean for UK web shops?“.

Who will be affected by the Brexit?

How much the Brexit will affect your webshop depends on the future relationship that is still under negotiation between the EU and the UK. Both British webshops and European webshops that sell to countries in the United Kingdom will have to take measures.

These measures pertain to shipping and sales policies. The disappearance of the free movement of goods and people can mean major changes in activities. The UK is likely to be considered a non-EU country and so the rules for shipping to the UK will change.

How B2C Europe can help

B2C Europe is a leading expert in eCommerce logistics. We have extensive experience in cross-border parcel delivery, customs and our own office and warehouse in the UK. Our expert team is there to help you in a smooth Brexit transition.

There will be a customs control process exiting/entering EU from/to The UK, to enable third parties, such as B2C Europe, to complete the necessary customs declarations. It will be necessary to make key changes to the data received from your customers. This page contains important information on the changes that will happen from 1st January, 2021 and how you can best prepare your eCommerce business for the Brexit.

Duties and taxes

Once the UK departs the EU Customs Union on 31st December, 2020, it will no longer be part of the single market. This means that eCommerce goods being sold across the EU/UK border will be subject to customs duties and taxes into the UK. The UK has announced that there will be no tax relief on any goods for EU sellers. These taxes and duties will depend on the value of the shipment being sent, the thresholds for goods entering the UK from the EU will be:

  • £0 – £135 – standard VAT (20%)
  • £135 + – standard import VAT and duties (duties dependent on WTO categories)

For goods over £135.00, duties will be applied and the value of the customs duties payable will be dependent on the category of good (based on HS code) and given by UK Customs. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to declare parcels to UK Customs in any other way, but as goods sold to UK consumers from outside of the UK. This means the seller or the OMP must register for UK VAT and collect the UK VAT at the time of sale. This would then be payable to the UK government by the seller /OMP rather than import VAT being collected for goods <GBP£135.00 by customs at the point of import. It would therefore be imperative that sellers/OMP’s are advised of this and have the necessary processes in place and also register for UK VAT before 1st January 2021. More information can be found here.

Register your EORI nr here.

Shipping methods: what are Incoterms?

If your webshop has never shipped outside of the EU before, you may not be aware of the term Incoterms. These are necessary for international shipments. So if the UK becomes a non-EU country with the same shipping rules, you will need to use Incoterms to ship from the EU to the UK. Incoterms are standardized international regulations for the transport of goods. They serve as a contract between seller and buyer and describe all duties, risks and costs associated with the transactions of goods. They are designed to avoid misunderstandings about:

  • Who is responsible for the cost of shipping, insurance, import and customs charges
  • Who is responsible for the transport and where to
  • When the risk and costs of delivery pass from seller to buyer

Of course, B2C Europe can help you through this process. We provide two options for shippers sending into the UK:

  • Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) Using a DDP option, the retailer (sender) is responsible for paying the taxes and duties and in many cases, retailers will apply these fees at checkout and directly collect payment from the consumer (receiver).
  • Delivery Duties Unpaid (DDU) With a DDU solution, the consumer is responsible for paying taxes and duties and they will be contacted directly to settle this balance before the good(s) are cleared and delivered to the recipient. There will be an administration fee per shipment plus duties & taxes. Once payment is made the item will be released and delivery completed. Now, 29th of October 2020, this solution is very unclear to be just operational from January 1st onwards.

You will have to decide whether to bear the costs mentioned above, or if your customer has to pay for them. That is why it is very important to determine your Incoterms, because they indicate who is responsible for these costs. Whatever you choose, always inform your customer clearly about this. If your customer is not informed, they can refuse the package. This means that as an online retailer you ultimately have to pay for the adjusted costs and the return of the package.

Data needed

If the UK leaves the EU customs union, all items going into or out of the UK will be required to have certain data to enable the item to be customs cleared. In addition to the minimal shipment data that is currently needed to send a parcel to and from the UK, you will need to specify the following data for each shipment so that the customs clearance processes can be completed. The following information will be mandatory for every shipment to and from the UK:

  • Detailed product description
  • Product quantities
  • Product sale price
  • HS codes (per product)
  • Country origin code
  • Currency code (EUR, GBP or USD)
  • Customer contact information (email and phone number)
  • Sellers/OMP UK EORI reference
  • Sellers/OMP EU EORI reference

Register your business here.

HS Codes

All items will be required to have HS Codes. This data is mandatory and necessary to complete the customs clearance process. The International Harmonized System (HS) is an internationally recognised system that is used to classify products. After Brexit all shipments into and out of the UK will require a 10-digit HS Code for the item to be cleared at customs.

For further information and to find out your product(s) HS code, please refer to the links below:
Taxation customs
Tariff Number

Extra reading material


Can we help you?

Once the Brexit negotiations are completed, we will have more concrete facts on how trade will unfold between the two entities. We will therefore immediately update this page.

In the meantime, you can already take a look at our page with the most frequently asked questions about Brexit. Do you want to know more about B2C Europe’s international shipping solutionsContact our experts and discuss the challenges in your business regarding Brexit.

  • Tracked and untracked delivery services
  • Multi carrier services through one provider
  • Expert advice regarding the Brexit
  • Cost effective International delivery solutions
  • Easy integration through many software systems

The benefits of B2C Europe

Since 2000, B2C Europe have served eCommerce companies of all sizes reach their international growth aspirations with innovative cross-border distribution and return services.

As an independent logistics provider, B2C Europe’s multi carrier solution utilizes domestic networks to reduce shipping costs and provide a local experience for the end consumer.

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