Wednesday 1/20/21
EU-UK DIVORCE

Brexit means more expensive online purchases

When the value of a consignment exceeds 22 euros, it must undergo customs clearance and is subject to VAT. If the consignment to be declared is transported by Posti, a handling fee (2.90 euros) is added to the value on which the VAT is calculated.

At the turn of the year, the United Kingdom will be a non-EU country in the same way the United States and China. If someone orders goods from the UK, parcels sent from there must be declared as of 1 January 2021, and possible taxes and customs duties must be paid for them.

The Finnish customs authority (Tulli) advises customers of online shops to not decide on purchases merely on the basis of prices given by the shops. A rule of thumb is that customs clearance adds about 30% to the price of the purchase. This price includes the purchase price of the product, the transport costs as well as any customs duty and value added tax (VAT). 

The VAT rate in Finland is usually 24%.

When the value of a consignment exceeds 22 euros, it must undergo customs clearance and is subject to VAT. Exceptions to this rule are alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, perfumes and eau de toilette products, which must always be cleared through customs.

For other consignments worth more than 22 euros and no more than 150 euros, customers only have to pay VAT on import. If the consignment to be declared is transported by Posti, the postal operator charges a handling fee (2.90 euros), which is added to the value on which the VAT is calculated.

In addition to VAT, possible import duties will be levied only when the value of a consignment exceeds 150 euros.

The total price

The total price of an online purchase includes the purchase price of the product, the transport costs as well as VAT and possible customs duty. Parcels can be declared via the Finnish Customs online declaration service.

VAT is always payable for example on alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, perfumes and eau de toilette products even if their value is 22 euros or less.

According to Tulli, "it is worth noting that customs duty and tax are determined according to the country from where the goods are delivered." The country of location of the online shop is irrelevant.

EU, Northern Ireland

If the goods are delivered from an EU member state and have been manufactured or declared in the EU, then they do not undergo customs clearance, and the customer does not pay customs duty or VAT to Finnish Customs.

As a special case, the EU customs legislation applies to Northern Ireland, meaning that Northern Ireland is treated as any other EU country. Goods delivered from Northern Ireland do not undergo customs clearance.

For those who order goods on the web, it is good to note already that, after 1 July 2021, all goods with a value of under 22 euros arriving from outside the EU need to be declared and are subject to VAT.

Goods ordered in 2020

What happens with the goods ordered in 2020 by delivered in 2021?

According to the Finnish customs, if the transport of the goods begins in 2020, the goods will be treated as Union goods when they arrive in Finland and no customs clearance is needed.

However, if the transport of the goods does not start until 2021, the consignment must be cleared through customs and the import duties must be paid even if they were ordered before the UK’s exit date.

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