Selling and buying objects to or from the UK will be affected by changes related to the UK’s recent departure from the EU. Here you’ll find everything you need to be aware of.
We’ll keep this page updated if legislation changes, so check back for the latest info.
Does the right of withdrawal scheme still apply?
If you’re a buyer based in either the European Economic Area (EEA) or the UK, nothing changes. You’re still eligible for the EU’s right of withdrawal scheme.
If you’re a professional seller in the UK, nothing changes. Buyers that live in the European Economic area (EEA) as well as the UK still have the right of withdrawal.
Shipping between UK and EU
Customs clearance is now required for all goods moving between the UK and the EU, including return shipments. The seller will need to declare the goods they’re sending by completing a commercial invoice. This can be found on the relevant shipping company website.
As a seller, do I need an EORI number now?
As of 1 January 2021, you’ll need an EU Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number if your business was established in the EU and imports from or exports to the UK, when you file an export declaration, or a service provider/customs agent files the customs declaration on your behalf.
An EORI number is not required if you use a logistics provider (i.e. shipping company) to handle customs declarations.
EORI numbers are provided by national authorities (full contact list is available here).
Is my personal data still safeguarded in transactions involving the UK?
Yes, the current setup of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still applies to UK sellers and buyers. No related changes are expected until at least 1st May 2021.
If I’m based in the UK, can I still file a claim with the European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)?
No, buyers and sellers in the UK are no longer eligible for this service.
Cultural heritage goods
If you’re selling cultural heritage goods from the UK, you’ll now need a license.
You can find more detailed information on what goods fall under this category here.
There aren’t any licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK. However, if buyers are importing items from the EU to the UK or a country outside the EU, they’ll need to comply with the individual country’s export licensing requirements. More info about these rules can be found here
Plant and animal specimens on the CITES list
The UK implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the relevant regulations still apply.
Buyers and sellers will need an import or export license for the UK, and sellers will need to file a customs declaration. Additionally, species covered by CITES can only enter and leave the EU through designated customs posts.
Excise goods (e.g. mineral oils, alcohol and tobacco)
New rules apply for the UK when importing or exporting excise goods.
Import from UK to EU
- Excise goods are subject to excise duty and strict controls upon entry into the EU but also inside the UK (for Northern Ireland a separate arrangement is in place). This means that excise goods shipped from the UK to the EU and inside Great Britain will incur excise duty liability.
- Sellers will need to submit an electronic customs export declaration.
- A separate regime applies for exporting excise duty-suspended goods.
- Detailed info
Export from EU to UK
- Sellers from the EU exporting to the UK must complete a customs declaration and use the relevant customs procedures when they arrive at the place they enter into the UK.
- Detailed info
- For the import and export of wine to and from the UK please find detailed information here.
VAT and customs
The new legislation on objects being sold and purchased between the UK and the EU is very complex and varies case by case. Unfortunately we’re not able to give you any detailed advice that covers all situations, so we strongly recommend that you contact your local tax advisor for guidance. Please also check the HMRC website.
EU seller and UK buyer
If an object meets the following criteria:
- sold after 1 January 2021 by a professional seller
- shipped from outside the UK (or from inside the UK by a non-UK seller)
- won by a buyer with a shipping address in the UK
- the highest bid was below 135 GBP (excluding VAT, custom duties, shipping costs and commission) or the equivalent amount in Euros or USD. (Note: there is no limit on the highest bid for objects shipped within the UK by a non-UK seller)
- not considered excise goods
The buyer doesn’t have to pay any additional VAT when they receive the object. We’ll then pay the amount due to the HMRC (UK tax authorities).
For all other objects, buyers will be responsible for paying any applicable VAT and customs fees. The VAT and custom fees depend on the type and origin of goods and only apply if the intrinsic value is more than 135 GBP. In most cases, this will be charged by the shipping company to the buyer before they can receive the package.
If you’re a seller from the EU, it’s important to make sure your UK buyers are aware of these additional costs. We recommend including a note about it in your object description.
UK seller and EU buyer
If an object is shipped from the UK to the EU, the EU buyer will be responsible for paying any applicable VAT and customs. The VAT and custom fees depend on type, origin, and value of the goods. In most cases, this will be charged by the shipping company to the buyer before they can receive the package.
If you’re a seller from the UK, it’s important to make sure your EU buyers are aware of these additional costs. We recommend including a note about it in your object description.