Post-Brexit rules could see Christmas gifts held at customs due to paperwork ‘burden’

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Almost everyone planning to send gifts abroad this Christmas is in the dark about new rules for sending parcels from the UK to the EU, a new survey suggests.

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Since the UK left the EU in January this year, new customs rules have been put in place on goods and gifts as the EU now treats post from the UK like any other non-EU country.

Parcels in excess of £39 will be liable for a fee. Gifts under that amount remain free of any charges.


This rule does not apply to goods and gifts shipped from Northern Ireland to the European Union.

The Customs Declaration Form has to be clearly filled and attached so that the duty can be correctly levied or waived.

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Which consumer organization? Be warned that failure to know and stick to the rules may result in parcel delays, recipients being hit to pay fees, or even missing gifts Huh.

Of the 1,058 people polled in September, only one said they were confident in their knowledge of the change in rules.

Half of those planning to send a gift to someone in the EU said they knew nothing about the new rules, and nearly as many said they thought they knew only a little.

About 17 percent of people are planning to send Christmas gifts abroad this year, which one? said.

And 83 percent of them said they were planning to send gifts abroad with just a month or less to go until the Christmas bank holiday.

Who? is warning that sending parcels to the EU can be troublesome and confusing, especially before Christmas, citing its own survey findings.

It said that, after Brexit, about 10 percent of its members sent a gift to an address in an EU country.

Of these people, more than a third experienced delays, 30 percent of them were affected by unforeseen charges, and about 10 percent of them said the gift went missing.

Who? Consumer rights expert Adam French toldInspector: “The changes brought about by Brexit have created a huge burden of customs paperwork for consumers and couriers alike.”

While parcels of £39 or less will not come with a fee, parcels costing more than that amount will attract a 20 percent import VAT and courier handling fee.

Parcels over £135 are subject to import VAT, courier handling charges and possibly customs duties. Customs duty may be waived if there are documents proving that the goods were shipped from the UK.

Typically, the recipient of the gift must pay the cost of customs processing or any handling fees and they must pay any customs duties or taxes in accordance with the customs regulations of their territory.

In addition to fees and rebates, senders should also be aware that customs forms will need to be completed which depends on the value of the content being posted.

If the parcel is worth £270 or less, Royal Mail requires people to fill out and attach a CN22 form. If the value of the parcel exceeds £270, a CN23 form is required.

Royal Mail has listed its final postage dates for shipping post and parcels internationally to reach their destination in time for Christmas.

They are starting next week:

Wednesday 1 December


Monday 6 December

Australia, Greece, Italy, New Zealand and Portugal

Wednesday 8 December

Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Far and Middle East

Friday 10 December

Cyprus, Malta and Sweden

Saturday 11 December

Eastern Europe (except Czechia, Poland and Slovakia), Turkey

Monday 13 December

Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland and USA

Thursday 16 December

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland


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