A look at VAT imports via bpost

In an infographic, Belgian bpost has shown the issues around VAT for parcels entering the EU through the country.

Parcels are no longer exempt from VAT if valued below €22. This impacts e-commerce from suppliers in the UK and China and the US amongst other regions.

One of the key findings was that many senders wrongly claim that their parcels is a gift and thereby exempt from VAT. The postal operator investigates these claims and will charge the buyer VAT if not the case.

Parcel volumes requiring VAT payments have increased by 2000% since July when the new rules were introduced.

The bpost data also shows that where a shop is not signed up to the bpost one-stop-shop scheme, the postal operator must charge extra to process a parcel. Some 90% of importing senders are registered, saving their customers the extra charges. The customer is offered the choice to refuse the parcel with the added fee, and of the 10% of parcels treated this way, 30% are returned to sender.

Olivier Leruth, Executive Vice President Cross Border Europe & Asia at bpost: “The new law introduced on 1 July 2021 brings significant changes for consumers and parcel handlers alike. Today, we can justifiably say that the process runs smoothly.  Most of the major international online stores (such as AliExpress, Amazon, eBay and Wish) already comply with the new EU law and customs rules. So you can shop there with peace of mind, without risking additional charges. It’s easy to check, incidentally. If your shopping cart states that VAT is included, then you’re good to go. And at bpost we’ll make sure parcels are delivered swiftly.” 

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