BrickLink takes on tax burden in post-Brexit VAT changes

BrickLink has decided to shoulder the burden of collecting VAT on UK orders following the new post-Brexit tax changes.

As of January 1, 2021, the UK is no longer part of the European Union. A last-minute deal reached between the two parties has minimised immediate disruption, but there are still plenty of changes that have already taken effect. One of those concerns the way VAT is paid on goods shipped from the EU to the UK.

Until now, the buyer has been responsible for paying that sales tax on goods over £15 from outside the EU. The new system transfers that responsibility to all overseas sellers – including those in the EU. To comply with the new rules, individual sellers based in the EU must register with HMRC and pay the sales tax directly to the UK government.

For a time, it seemed like that might drive BrickLink sellers to drive up their prices for UK buyers, or simply stop shipping to the UK altogether. However, the burden on the seller only kicks in on purchases above £135 – below that, the onus falls on the online marketplace (in this case, BrickLink).

Now, BrickLink has announced that it’s planning to shoulder the entirety of the new tax burden, even on orders above £135. According to BrickLink administrator Russell, the platform is now officially registered as a UK marketplace.

“Continue to send packages as you would have before,” Russell wrote in a forum post. “It will take some time before we can implement a solution for collecting VAT on orders sent into the UK, but since we are now registered, the burden of that falls on BrickLink, not our users.”

Unfortunately, it may not necessarily be as simple as that. The new VAT process is already in play in the UK, and has been since January 1. That means that until BrickLink implements its proposed solution, any store owners who ship to the UK can expect a tax bill from HMRC.

If you’re a BrickLink seller who’s still planning to ship to the UK, your best bet might be to pre-empt that bill (and cover your own back) by registering with HMRC anyway – at least until BrickLink announces any further updates on solving this particular problem. We’ll keep you posted.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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