Small online purchases outside the EU will cost more from 1 July
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Small online purchases outside the EU will cost more from 1 July

Credit: DMITRII MELNIKOV / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Consumers buying goods from websites outside the European Union will have to pay more for them from 1 July, after the current VAT rules change.

Under current EU rules, external online purchases of up to €22 are exempt from VAT. EU sellers do not have this advantage.

From 1 July onwards, however, VAT will be charged on all purchases from non-EU sites, says Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem. Sellers will have to submit an electronic customs declaration on all goods.

So what does this mean for consumers?

From July, there will be a difference between registered and unregistered webshops. In the latter group, VAT will not be calculated at the time of purchase.

As a reminder, this change will also impact the UK as a result of Brexit.

Delivery services such as bpost or PostNL will charge VAT and pass it on to the tax authorities. The buyer will then have to pay a surcharge to the carrier. The delivery service may, in turn, charge a fee for this service.

To determine whether a seller is registered or not, the consumer will have to check whether VAT has been charged. This can be seen on the invoice. Most of the major players are expected to join the registered webshop system.

The Brussels Times

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