Frequently asked questions
Can I still use my account?
Absolutely! Brexit does not prevent you from using your account with any of our brands, and it doesn't change your net pricing. You should continue to place orders with us in the usual way, and you'll still get a confirmation or proforma invoice.
What about VAT?
Now that the UK is no longer in the EU's Customs Area and Single Market, VAT works a little differently. Previously when you supplied your UK VAT number to an EU supplier, whilst VAT still applied to your order, you didn't have to physically pay it and then reclaim it from HMRC.
This process has now changed. EU suppliers will no longer charge VAT on your order, and you'll need to pay it to HMRC when your order is imported. This will usually mean that the courier (such as DHL or FedEx) will contact you once Customs has cleared the parcel and they'll send you an invoice for payment of the VAT. They may refer to this as 'government charges', 'local taxes' or 'sales tax' depending on the courier.
HMRC have introduced a new option for importers to postpone the payment of VAT - this may mean that you do not have to physically pay VAT at the time of import, but just account for it on your next VAT return (it's a little like how the EU intrastat method used to work). You should speak to your accountant or VAT adviser to find out more about this, or visit this link:
Will I have to pay duties?
Under the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), no duty is payable on products manufactured in EU member states, and imported into the UK. This is determined by the 'Country of Origin' and the Commodity Code.
Most of our brands' products have a Country of Origin within the EU, so no duty applies on import to the UK. A small number of products may have a Country of Origin outside of the EU, and may be subject to additional duties.
In these cases, you should check the Commodity Code against the UK tarrif tool to check the rate of duty which is payable. Payment of duties is usually collected by the carrier, along with import VAT, but will be detailed separately so there's no confusion over what you're paying for.
To access the HMRC Trade Tarrif tool, click here:
The courier is asking for payment before delivery?
As has always been the case for imports outside of the EU, VAT (and in a very limited number of cases, duty) is due when products cross the UK border. In most cases, the payment is collected by the shipping company (such as DHL, DPD or FedEx) who then pay it to HMRC on your behalf - this avoids the need for a Broker (although you may have an appointed broker that you can use instead).
The courier will usually send you a notification that the shipment is cleared and a payment is required before delivery - they will usually offer a number of payment methods including online.
You are not paying transport costs, it's only import charges as determined by HMRC. In most cases, the carrier will include an admin fee for handling this payment, which may be a fixed amount or may be based on a percentage of the amount collected. We have no control over this fee.
How long will my delivery take?
Due to the significant change to how imports into the UK are handled from EU countries, there are some delays. This is exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic which is reducing freight capacity and increasing border crossing times.
As a result, your shipment is likely to take longer than before. We advise allowing a minimum of one week from despatch. Many shipments are arriving sooner, but some are delayed longer - unfortunately there's nothing that we or the brands can do to directly effect a faster transit.
Where possible, we will continue to provide tracking information, however please note that this is not always available. Where provided, please monitor this tracking for the most up to date information about your delivery.
What if delivery is within the EU?
Generally our brands are not able to deliver to third party addresses, and all shipments will need to come to the address you have registered on your account.
In the event that an order is billed to you in the UK but delivered to an address in the EU, VAT will be charged on your invoice at the rate in the EU country of billing.
Equally, if the order is billed to an entity in the EU (such as if you have a subsidiary in Ireland) but delivered to the UK, domestic VAT will be charged by the supplier.
You will need to check with your accountant or VAT adviser about reclaiming this VAT.
I have a subsidiary in the EU
If you have a susidiary in the EU, it is possible to open an additional account with our brands so that you can place orders from and deliver to this EU-based company. This is particularly useful for businesses who are shipping onward within the EU, and removes any of the new paperwork requirements on import to and export from the UK.
If this applies to you, please contact us as normal so that we can make the necessary arrangements.
Incoterms are used in shipping to determine who is reponsible for shipping, handling customs procedures and paying for duties and taxes (including VAT).
View more information about Incoterms here:
Our brands use a number of different Incoterms, but the most typical ones are:
EXW - Ex-Works - The supplier will make the goods available for collection by the buyer, who will assume all responsibility for the transportation and import.
DAP - Delivered at Place - The seller covers the cost and risk of transporting goods (the cost of delivery may be separately charged to the buyer by the seller), and goods are classed as delivered once they arrive at the destination and ready to be unloaded. The buyer is responsible for the payment of any duties and taxes - the carrier will normally handle this for you.
DDP - Delivered Duty Paid - in this case the seller is responsible for the payment of any duties and taxes on import, not the receiver. Our brands typically do not use this Incoterm unless it is specifically agreed otherwise.
DDP VAT Unpaid - Delivered Duty Paid - VAT Unpaid - In this scenario the seller is responsible for the payment of any duties, but the VAT is paid by the buyer (recipient). our brands generally do not use this incoterm unless it is specifically agreed otherwise.
Will there be a lot of extra work?
Generally no; our brands are exceptionally experienced in shipping globally and they're already set up to ship to the UK since leaving the EU.
As long as you have your EORI number, you're ready to go!
The only major difference is that you will now need to make a payment of VAT (and in an extremely limited number of cases, duty) to the shipping company before they deliver the order to you - see the section on VAT.
There's no other paperwork you need to complete to receive shipments from our brands. There may some short-term disruption whilst the changes become commonplace, and the coronavirus pandemic continues to have some impacts on capacity, but otherwise it's very straightforward!
I'm still unsure!
Don't worry, if you've got any questions that aren't covered here, just get in touch we'll do our best to help you out.
How does it affect any returns (damaged shipments)?
In the unlikely event that there is a return shipment to organise because of any damaged products, the process will be slightly different. In most cases, our brands will provide a return shipping label and book a courier collection - but you will now also need to provide a commercial invoice which covers the items in the shipment.
Often, the brand will provide this for you just to print off and hand to the driver, but occasionally they may ask you produce one using a standard template (you can download one here: https://www.tnt.com/express/en_gb/site/how-to/create-commercial-invoice.html - you can use this with any courier, not just TNT).
If you're asked to produce the commercial invoice, simply use the same Commodity (HS) Code and value as shown on the original invoice you received with the shipment - this will ensure the return shipment can pass back through customs succesfully.