UK Order Changes - Brexit 2021
This update page will be used to keep track of changing policies and updates in regards to the UK - Post Brexit situation. Customers from the United Kingdoms have played a large part in this studios early success, which is why it disturbs me so greatly that we are being forced to implement policy changes that will hurt our UK customers. These changes are being forced upon not just us, but many other small businesses who are based elsewhere in the world but regularly ship to customers within the UK. These restrictions are put in place by the UK government regulatory agencies and are in regards to the new VAT policy being adopted towards all incoming packages from online retailers world wide.
You can read the official statements from the UK Government HERE
To put it into the most basic terms possible, the customs offices in the UK are no longer allowing low value packages into the country as being VAT free. In addition all purchases under 135GBP from any online retailer outside of the UK are now required to COLLECT and submit VAT payments to the UK government on their behalf. IF this sounds insane to you, its probably because it is. Basically I would be required to register for a UK VAT account despite being a Canadian citizen and having no UK citizenship or any registered businesses within that sphere of influence. I then am expected to charge current VAT rate on all orders being shipped to the UK and file a VAT payment every 3 months in accordance to UK import law. No where else in the world at the moment is a foreign citizen of any country responsible for collecting and paying goods and services tax to the receiving countries government. Orders OVER 135GBP have the option to have VAT collected in advance or you can opt to have the customer handle the charges at the door once delivery is made. Why the UK Government is not allowing this standard operational practice to be carried out for packages under 135GBP I haven't the slightest clue.
So this situation puts me in a really uncomfortable position. As of this posting on Feb 6th 2021, there is still much confusion on how the actual implementation of this system is supposed to be done and operated. I consulted a local export expert and even he wasn't able to give me concrete information on how I was to register and file these VAT payments to begin with, let alone how the processing times for packages would be going forward. Beyond that, I have large concerns of what the process would be in the case of a VAT dispute and its resolution. As a small 1 man business I would be hard pressed to even find the time to process a separate tax return for another nations government, nevermind to have the resources needed to hire a legal expert that would be able to defend me in the event of some kind of VAT payment issue/overpayment reclaiming situation.
New Restrictions to Orders Placed on This Site From UK Customers
As a result of the above issues, I am forced to make some changes to the ordering requirements for UK customers. Effective Feb 1st 2021, all orders that require shipping to the United Kingdoms need to be $200 USD or greater in value. This is the required amount needed to safely clear the new restrictions and have the option for VAT to be collected by the customer at time of delivery. Please understand I absolutely loathe these new restrictions, but for the time being until this has some time to addressed by the UK government or at the very least the system is understood by the experts I consult with, we cannot risk it as a small business. DIGITAL products, such as STL's will continue under the normal conditions and no changes will happen on that front.
Please note that any order over $200 USD may have VAT charged upon delivery, this will again, be outside of our control. Please plan accordingly!
I will lift these restrictions at the earliest possible moment once the dust settles on this issue. Thank you for the support over the years, fingers crossed we can return to normal operations soon.