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wlaidlaw

Mainland Europe Leica dealers will no longer send to UK

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In another joyous little wrinkle of Bobo the clown's brexit fiasco, some German, Dutch and Italian Leica classic dealers will no longer send mail/online order items to the UK. This is because just to make things more bureaucratic and difficult, the UK tax authority (HMRC) has insisted than anyone sending goods to the UK, which attract VAT, the sender has to register a UK-overseas VAT account with the HMRC and then remit the VAT tax to them. They would also have to provide regular reconciliations and annual audited accounts. No other country does this. Bobo really needs to get hold of the mandarins at HMRC and tell them to wind their collective necks in or European-UK trade is going to grind to a halt.

I was talking to a large German dealer today and he said he sends items to nearly 70 different countries. He said: "Can you imagine if I had to set up 70 different VAT accounts in the separate countries?" He is sending nothing to the UK until this is sorted. The sensible approach is to levy the VAT domestically at the location of sale, not at the country of the buyer. 

Wilson

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For new Leicas, there may be some internal (and I think to meet EU competition rules - unofficial) sales agreement between dealers, that they don't poach on each other's territories. I think you would have found the classic Leica dealers very happy in the past to sell second hand items to Germany but not sure about at present. I suspect that if such an agreement existed between Leica dealers, it was very loosely interpreted by some German dealers. I have bought a number of new Leica lenses at very healthy discounts from them. 

Wilson

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5 minutes ago, wlaidlaw said:

For new Leicas, there may be some internal (and I think to meet EU competition rules - unofficial) sales agreement between dealers, that they don't poach on each other's territories. I think you would have found the classic Leica dealers very happy in the past to sell second hand items to Germany but not sure about at present. I suspect that if such an agreement existed between Leica dealers, it was very loosely interpreted by some German dealers. I have bought a number of new Leica lenses at very healthy discounts from them. 

Wilson

There are several large German Leica dealers who have not traded to the UK for quite a few years so nothing really new here. On another site it would seem that some USA dealers will no longer trade to the UK.

 

Edited by Matlock

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It is not just Leica dealers. Some time ago I was looking for a limited edition Montblanc pen which was no longer available in the UK. I located a supplier in Germany only to be told they no longer sold to the UK (this was before Brexit), I eventually bought one from a dealer in Italy.

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1 hour ago, wlaidlaw said:

In another joyous little wrinkle of Bobo the clown's brexit fiasco, some German, Dutch and Italian Leica classic dealers will no longer send mail/online order items to the UK. This is because just to make things more bureaucratic and difficult, the UK tax authority (HMRC) has insisted than anyone sending goods to the UK, which attract VAT, the sender has to register a UK-overseas VAT account with the HMRC and then remit the VAT tax to them.

Wilson, I may be wrong but I have a suspicion that this is a 'price-capped' idea and that it refers to low value items (but why this should be I have no idea). Even so it is an extremely efficient way of causing chaos. That said, there can be no comebacks on a dealer who sends something into the UK as before because they are in a different sovereign state where UK tax law is irrelevant ..... unless Bojo thinks that he can confiscate anything sent in like this of course. I think that the word for such a mess, is untenable.

Edited by pgk

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The requirement to register for VAT with HMRC is for selling items under £135 and I believe is aimed at large or largish EU businesses regularly exporting goods to the UK. I imagine that the thinking behind it is to benefit the consumer in that it means that goods under the threshold will have had the VAT already paid and the purchaser won't be chased for VAT by the shipper (a process that is an all round pain in the arse and typically incurs a £10+ processing fee). Goods costing more than £135 are supposed to be exported to the UK from the EU net of VAT. In truth there is little in the Leica catalogue that costs less than £135 so the new rule shouldn't really be a barrier to any EU business selling Leica goods to the UK provided they can easily demarcate goods costing more than £135 from others that the shop might have for sale.

Edited by wattsy

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Paul, 

The German Leica dealer I spoke to today, says he will not send anything to the UK until the VAT is resolved. 

Wilson

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FWIW in Australia GST (our version of VAT) is paid by the purchaser when the goods arrive.  The courier company or AustPOST get in touch, you pay the GST and then the item is delivered.

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1 hour ago, wlaidlaw said:

Paul, 

The German Leica dealer I spoke to today, says he will not send anything to the UK until the VAT is resolved. 

Wilson

I think the VAT is resolved. There is a rationale for the arrangements that are supposed to bring benefit to HMRC. Not sure that they.anticipated that traders would stop selling. A bit like truck drivers loosing their sandwiches at the Border. It is becoming real.

Edited by pedaes

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7 minutes ago, AZN said:

FWIW in Australia GST (our version of VAT) is paid by the purchaser when the goods arrive.  The courier company or AustPOST get in touch, you pay the GST and then the item is delivered.

Same system applies in South Africa. If I order from a European dealer for SA delivery, they sell the goods to me less their VAT.  Then prior to the goods' arrival in SA, I pay SA VAT @ 15% & the goods are cleared by customs & delivered to me.

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22 minutes ago, pedaes said:

I think the VAT is resolved. There is a rationale for the arrangements that are supposed to bring benefit to HMRC. Not sure that they.anticipated that traders would stop selling. A bit like truck drivers loosing their sandwiches at the Border. It is becoming real.

If such a system worked it would already have been adopted elsewhere. I thought Brexit was sold as reducing bureaucracy, not increasing it and expecting it to disappear overseas. I suspect that the resolution will be that we, the individual importer, end upping the import duty/vat/shipper's fee as ever🤨.

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The problem is the UK is not set up to collect VAT from the customer for EU parcels, like it is for example for items from the USA, which get sent tax free and then attract import duty, processing charge, collection fee and then VAT on the whole lot including postage from the US. I thought tax at point of origin was the whole idea behind the customs/tariff free borders or is that just yet another lie we were told. I presume because the UK imports more from the EU than it exports, HMRC could not bear the thought of losing out on VAT for the difference. All the processing and collection fees that HMRC charge can nearly double the cost of cheaper items. There was an argument a few years ago that VAT should  not be levied on these fees, as they did not add value at all but of course, with unlimited funds behind them, HMRC won. 

Wilson

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Welcome to the post-Brexit. As a Norwegian I have had all those problems with VAT and import tax. It was obvious that you brit will get the same problems.

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