Brexit and your eBay business

Last updated: 7 January 2021


The UK and EU have now reached a Partnership Agreement which governs trading rules from 1 January 2021. Thankfully, this is a “zero tariff” deal, so no new tariffs will be generally applied for UK goods. However, please note that goods will still have to comply with Rules of Origin to benefit from zero tariff arrangements. For more detail on these rules, please visit the UK Government’s Brexit checker.

Please also note that, while tariffs will generally not apply, lots of other rules are changing. For example, customs processes will change, new rules will apply when shipping goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and the rules around import VAT will change (see below). Therefore, it’s important to prepare for these.

Where can I find the new rules for Brexit?

Official advice on the new rules for Brexit can be found here:

For advice tailored to the needs of retailers, you might also wish to review the Brexit Hub of the British Retail Consortium (BRC): here

New UK VAT arrangements for imports

On 1 January 2021, the UK government introduced a new model for the VAT treatment of goods arriving into Great Britain from outside of the UK. The new arrangements include the abolition of Low Value Consignment Relief, which relieves import VAT on consignments of goods valued at £15 or less.  Online marketplaces (OMPs), where they are involved in facilitating the sale, are now responsible for collecting and accounting for the VAT. More details on these changes can be found here.

Do you have your EORI number yet?

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between Great Britain and the EU.

Apply for an EORI number as soon as possible as it can take up to a week to get one. If you use a post or parcel company they’ll tell you if you need an EORI number. If you do not have an EORI, you may have increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees.

In general, if you send your parcels by post from the GB to the EU through Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide and if the value of the items in each parcel is less than GBP 873 (or EUR 1,000), you will not need an EORI number for filing a customs declaration which, for such parcels, takes the form of a CN22 or CN23.  For more information, see here.

Do I need an EORI number for both the GB and the EU?

This depends on which party in the transaction is the exporter of record (EOR) and the importer of record (IOR).  If you are sending goods across the customs border after the end of the Brexit transition, both the EOR and the IOR will require an EORI number.  If you are clearing customs into/out of any EU member state, you will only need an EU EORI number. If you are clearing customs clearances into/out of the UK, only a GB EORI number will be required for customs clearances into/out of the UK.  One EU EORI number will be sufficient for all EU countries.  You can find out how to get a GB EORI here and how to request an EORI number for EU Countries here.

Shipping goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Until 31 March 2021, HMRC is adopting a temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for the movement of goods in parcels by express carriers and the Royal Mail Group. This recognises the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, the impacts of any disruption to parcel movements in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and specific challenges for operators moving express consignments.

Details of this approach can be found here.

UK Trader Scheme

Traders are also urged to consider whether they need to sign up to the new UK Trader Scheme (UKTS) to ensure traders don’t pay tariffs on the movement of goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain where those goods can be shown to remain the UK’s customs territory from 1 January 2021.

Businesses can apply for a UKTS authorisation, allowing them to self-declare goods not “at risk” of moving on to the EU after entering Northern Ireland. This means they will not be subject to EU duties on goods being sold to or used by consumers after entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, regardless of the outcome of the UK-EU FTA negotiations. Businesses who do not sign up could have to pay tariffs on their goods, unless they are eligible to claim a waiver.

Registering for UKTS is a simple and straight-forward process. Businesses can do this online at GOV.UK. The scheme is open to traders of all sizes and across all industries who operate under the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP).

Estimated Delivery Day(s)

We're actively working with carriers and international logistics providers to identify any impact on the delivery network. For a short period, time has been added to buyer-facing delivery estimates to account for any delays that may be experienced to goods moving to and from the EU.

Useful links

UK Government 

The UK Government has released its Border Operating Model for the GB border from 1 January 2021 here.

Decision tree on importing goods from the EU into GB from 1 January 2021 here.

Decision tree on exporting goods from GB into the EU from 1 January 2021 here.

Making customs declarations on EU imports after 1 January 2021 here.

Advice on accounting and paying any cross-border VAT in GB from 1 January here.

Policy paper on moving goods between GB and NI from 1 January here.

European Commission 

Preparedness notices from the European Commission can be viewed here.

Have you considered the Global Shipping Programme (GSP)?

To support businesses that export from the UK, our Global Shipping Programme can give you access to buyers in over 100 countries.

With the Global Shipping Programme international postage is simple. You post your items to our UK Shipping Centre and duty payment, customs clearance, tracking and all the rest of the delivery are taken care of under the programme. Plus, your seller performance standards are protected. You'll pay for the cost of posting to the UK Shipping Centre, other standard eBay fees (including international payment fees) will apply. Find out more here.