Since Brexit, my parcel gifts arrive in the EU with a big bill | Money


Can you please explain the rules for sending gifts to Europe post-Brexit, because every time I send one to my son in Germany he ends up having to pay charges to take delivery.

All the goods I have sent are well under the €45 (£37) that seems to be the threshold for paying VAT. But he always ends up having to collect the package from a depot and paying between €6 and €10. I have been using Royal Mail and printing my own labels and the CN22 customs declaration form. The most recent fee of €9 was for a paperback book, only worth £10.

How do I prevent these bills?

GH, Sheffield

I have received a lot of similar emails, mostly from people who sent Christmas gifts to recipients who ended up having to pay a fee before the carrier would release their item. It’s another post-Brexit disaster area, that even the Royal Mail struggles to explain.

The situation is confusing as VAT is now payable on non-gifts arriving in the EU from the UK. In contrast, as I understand it, gifts valued below €45 are not subject to VAT or duties, and therefore there is no reason for extra fees.

Royal Mail confirmed that your son has been wrongly charged and has refunded you for the December parcel, and another sent last week.

It told you that the “gift” tick box on the CN22 customs form is being “misinterpreted” by EU carriers and it is addressing this with a “redesigned” form due at the end of the month.

In the meantime, readers may want to “take back control” and hold off sending items to Europe. It may be better to buy online and have the item delivered from within the EU until this is resolved.

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