UK shoppers forced to pay duties post-Brexit

British shoppers are being hit with import duties after ordering items direct from European websites following Brexit, reports The Guardian newspaper.

Prime minister Boris Johnson had promised “tariff-free” trade between the UK and European countries following Brexit.

In two examples The Guardian cites, one woman from Norfolk was asked by courier firm UPS to pay £121 in duties, VAT and admin expenses on a £236 clothes order from Norwegian website Onepiece.com.

Another woman from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire was asked by UPS for a total of £93 after purchasing £292-worth of bed linen from Urbanara.co.uk, which is based in Berlin, Germany.

UK tax rules say online marketplaces - like Amazon, eBay and Etsy - will collect any taxes due on items up to €150 (£135) at the source of payment.

But there seems to be a problem with some purchases made directly with individual merchants, with buyers levied unexpected charges.

The UK tax rules demand that European sellers should register with HMRC - paying a fee - and then collect VAT at 20 per cent on the UK government's behalf.

This demand has understandably been slammed by some European sellers, and some have said they will stop selling to UK buyers as a result.

UK-based buyers placing orders of more than €150 with European websites also face having to pay import duties on top of VAT - which vary depending on what items are bought.

In both cases covered by the paper, the sellers have agreed to pay for the extra charges levied on the buyers.

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