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Shipping to Great Britain possible again
The technical problems of the customs data transmission at the British GLS network partner have been solved. From January 20, 2021, shipments to Great Britain can again be made with Swiss Post GLS. The number of customs tariff numbers per export is currently limited to 30 tariff numbers. For further information, please contact Swiss Post GLS customer service at e-mail [email protected] or by phone on 0848 858 686.

The UK's exit from the European Union will affect the shipping of goods to the UK. Shipments of goods from Swiss business customers to Great Britain are guaranteed in the usual quality.

The following changes came into force on January 1, 2021:

  • The exemption limit for commercial consignments up to GBP 15.– does not apply, meaning that every consignment to the UK is subject to VAT from the first pound.
  • For shipments up to an intrinsic value of goods (excluding VAT and excluding transport costs) of GBP 135.–, the seller or the sales platform is responsible for paying the VAT owed to the British tax authorities HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs). There are basically no customs duties. To do this, business senders in the UK must register for tax purposes by applying for a UK VAT number and a UK EORI number.
  • If the recipient has a UK VAT number, the VAT will be settled using a reverse charge. The note "reverse charge: customer to account for VAT to HMRC" must then be noted on the commercial invoice.
  • Shipments with a value of goods over GBP 135.– can, as before, be sent to the UK without VAT registration.
  • For consignments with goods subject to excise duty (including alcohol and tobacco products), the existing regulations continue to apply
  • The existing regulations apply to non-commercial shipments of goods between private individuals and are exempt from import duties (VAT and customs duties) up to a value of GBP 39.00.

According to current planning, parcel shipping with Swiss Post GLS to the UK will be possible for the last time on December 28, 2020 under the import regulations that apply today.

  • UK VAT number and UK EORI number when using the GLS-inco-terms 10 and 18 (VAT Registration Scheme)
  • Description and number of goods with associated customs tariff numbers (HS code) and their respective value
  • Name and address of the consignee with telephone, e-mail and contact person
  • Delivery address if this differs from the billing address

You can find more detailed information on commercial invoices at www.swisspost.ch/swiss-post-gls under “Necessary invoice content”.

  • GLS-inco-term 10 (DDP)
  • GLS-inco-term 20 (DAP)
  • GLS-inco-term 30 (DDP, VAT unpaid)
  • GLS-inco-term 40 (DAP, cleared)
  • GLS-inco-term 60 (Pick & ShipService, Pick & ReturnService)

You can find more information on the existing GLS-inco-terms at www.swisspost.ch/swiss-post-gls

The new GLS-inco-term 18 must be used for your shipments with a goods value of up to GBP 135.

  • GLS-inco-term 18 (DDP, VAT Registration Scheme): Free domicile, duty paid, taxed - with this new inco-term, the sender pays for freight and customs clearance. VAT is borne by either the importer or the sender after registration in the UK. There are no customs duties.
  • For shipments with a goods value of up to GBP 135.–, the use of the GLS-inco-term 18 is mandatory for commercial senders.
  • VAT is paid directly to the UK Tax Authorities (HMRC). This may require a prior import VAT declaration on the UK government website and a UK EORI number application.

When using the VAT number of a UK importer, the invoice must contain the following wording: “Use importer account for VAT to HMRC”.

The GLS-inco-term 18 may not be used for shipments with a value of goods over GBP 135.–.

Swiss Post GLS charges CHF 23.– per customs clearance for inco-term 18 shipments.

Depending on whether you are sending to commercial (B2B) or private recipients (B2C) and the value of the goods, the British government prescribes different rules when choosing inco-terms. The following table shows all available GLS-inco-terms for shipping to the UK from January 1st, 2021. To find the right inco-term, go into the dialog with the importers in UK and determine who will pay the inco-terms Bears import sales taxes, duties and customs fees.

The GLS-inco-terms 50, 11, 15, 17, 21, 33, 41 and 91 are then no longer possible for shipping to the UK.

Swiss Post GLS parcels from Switzerland reach their destination in the UK within a standard delivery time of three to five working days (Mon - Fri). We strive to keep these transit times stable even after the new customs regulations come into force. Initially, however, there may be delays due to the customs clearance process over which we have no influence. In the case of incomplete or incorrect accompanying documents or incorrect declarations, there may be delays in parcel and customs clearance that are not caused by Swiss Post GLS.

When using the GLS-inco-terms 10 and 18, the UK VAT number and UK EORI number of the consignor must be shown on the customer's invoice.

When using GLS-inco-terms 18 and 10 (for B2C traffic), the sender is obliged to register for tax purposes in the UK in order to have a UK VAT number and a UK EORI number.

For B2B traffic, the sender only needs to register in the UK if the sender wants to pay the UK VAT directly.

When shipping to commercial recipients (B2B) for shipments with a value of goods over GBP 135.– with the GLS-inco-terms 20, 30 and 40, the sending business customer needs a UK-EORI number. However, a separate UK VAT number is not required.

Further information can be found on the GLS website.

URGENT Business shipments are processed and delivered worldwide in the TNT / FedEx network. Their team in UK is prepared and informed on a specially set up website. The basic information on Swiss Post GLS and PostPac International on the subject of registration, value of goods and the area of ​​validity also apply to URGENT Business. The EU clearance option is no longer possible after the UK.

Parcels and small goods shipments PRIORITY and ECONOMY

Here you will find answers to questions about the commercial dispatch of goods with PostPac International and small merchandise shipments.

From 01.01.2021, every consignment from Switzerland to the UK will be subject to VAT. Depending on the value of the goods, two different procedures are used:

For commercial PostPac international and small goods shipments "Business-to-Consumer" up to a value of GBP 135.–, the business sender in Switzerland must now always collect British VAT and deliver it directly. In order to avoid possible delays due to customs blockades, the sender is strongly advised to register for tax purposes in the UK. If a sender is registered for tax in the UK and settles British VAT with the British tax authorities, the consignments are delivered to the recipient at no additional cost (such as a customs clearance fee) analogous to a DDP customs clearance solution (duty paid and taxed). For commercial shipments up to an intrinsic value of goods (excluding VAT and excluding transport costs) of GBP 135.– there is no longer any possibility of importing goods into the UK using the Incoterm DAP / DDU (Delivered at Place or Delivered Duties Unpaid = duty unpaid and untaxed).

PostPac International and small goods shipments “Business-to-Consumer” with a value of more than GBP 135.– will be subject to VAT and, if applicable, customs duties for the recipient, regardless of whether the sender is registered in the UK or not. The sender is not allowed to collect UK VAT on the above-mentioned shipments and must send the shipment via inco-term DAP.

In the international letter and parcel channel, there is currently no customs clearance solution for shipments with goods values ​​over GBP 135.

Every commercial consignment will be subject to VAT in the UK from 01/01/2021. Exceptions are gifts sent from private individuals to private individuals up to a value of GBP 39.– and consignments with goods subject to excise duty (including alcohol and tobacco products). Shipments with such products are treated as shipments with a value of goods over GBP 135, as they also incur customs duties.

For all shipments containing goods, the EAD data (Electronic Advance Data) must be recorded electronically. For PostPac International, this takes place automatically with the electronic creation of the waybill and, in the case of small goods shipments, with the use of accompanying documents International or the Webshop Connector International (WSC).

No UK tax or EORI number will be noted on the shipment by the shipper. Based on the sender information in the EAD data, the customs authorities recognize whether the sender is registered in the UK and processes the shipment accordingly. PostPac International strongly recommends that you include the UK tax and EORI number on the waybill and commercial invoice.

From 01/01/2021, shipments to Great Britain can no longer be sent with the DDP customs clearance solution. If you are sending shipments with a value of less than GBP 135, you can register in the UK and still send your shipments taxed and duty paid (DDP). Customers who use the DDP customs clearance solution can still process GB shipments in the Connector International webshop or the web service (e.g. create the shipping label for it). The EAD data are automatically transmitted in the background and do not have to be recorded separately under accompanying documents international. Further important information on the submission modalities can be found here.

Additional Information:

The postal parcels to the UK are processed and delivered by our local partner Parcelforce, the parcel division of the state-commissioned postal company Royal Mail. Information on Brexit can be found on their website.

Documents and press releases

From 01.01.2021, every consignment from Switzerland to the UK will be subject to VAT. This also includes press products (magazines, newspapers, periodicals, etc.). There are no changes to documents (letters, postcards, invoices, etc.). There are two different processes used for press products, depending on the value of the goods.

In the case of press products up to a value of GBP 135.–, the seller or the sales platform must now always claim and deliver the UK VAT. In order to avoid possible delays in delivery times due to customs blockades, it is recommended that the sender register in the UK. If a sender is registered for tax in the UK and the UK VAT is settled with the British tax authorities, the consignments are delivered to the recipient at no additional cost (such as a customs clearance fee) analogous to a DDP customs clearance solution (duty paid and taxed). For commercial shipments up to an intrinsic goods value of GBP 135.– there is no longer any possibility of importing goods into Great Britain using the Incoterm DAP / DDU (Delivered at Place or Delivered Duties Unpaid = duty unpaid and untaxed).

Press products with a value of more than GBP 135.00 are always subject to VAT and, if applicable, customs duty at the recipient, regardless of whether the sender is registered in Great Britain or not. The shipper is not allowed to collect UK VAT on the above shipments and must ship the shipment via Incoterm DAP. In the international mail channel, there is currently no customs clearance solution for shipments with goods values ​​over GBP 135.–.

Every consignment containing goods including press products of any kind will be subject to VAT in Great Britain from 01/01/2021. There are no changes to documents (letters, postcards, invoices, etc.). Another exception are gifts sent from private individuals to private individuals with a value of up to GBP 39.00.

Likewise, shipments with a goods value of up to GBP 135.– may not contain any products with consumption tax (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, etc.). Shipments with such products are treated like products with a value of goods over GBP 135, as they also incur customs duties.

The EAD data (Electronic Advance Data) must be recorded electronically and a correctly completed CN22 must be attached for all consignments with goods including press products. No UK tax or EORI number will be noted on the shipment by the shipper. Based on the sender information in the EAD data, the customs authorities recognize whether the sender is registered in the UK and processes the shipment accordingly.

The Swiss consignor registers with the British tax authorities (HMRC). Registration includes the application for a UK VAT number. As a result of tax registration, the shipper is required to file a monthly or quarterly UK VAT return.

If a consignment with a goods value of less than GBP 135.– arrives in the UK from an unregistered Swiss consignor, the consignment will be blocked by the customs authorities. The sender will be contacted.