Personalised Gifts

No-deal Brexit and customs charges on retail gifts

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
August 7 2019,

We’ve always got plenty to say, as anyone that subscribes to our blog will testify! But politics is something we steer clear of. This post is no exception but, as our retail gifts customers have been asking, we want to clarify what we know about the impact of Brexit at the end of October.


The current state of play

While still in the European Union, goods and services between the UK and other member states flow freely with no tariffs to pay. Prime Minister Johnson, recently coming into office, has publicly committed to the UK’s departure by 31st October.  Which doesn’t leave much time for the smooth and managed departure that many businesses had been hoping for.


Deal or no deal?

If a deal is agreed with the EU by then, we could expect to enter into a “transition period”. This would be likely to last until the end of 2020, though could be subject to a possible extension. The rationale being that all parties would have adequate time to prepare for the likely changes when trading, and to lessen any negative impact on the movement of goods. Without a deal however, there’s no official transition period and changes are likely to be sudden.


Why is it an issue?

If you’re currently having your gifts printed in another country, these items could be subject to customs charges after 31st October in the event of a no deal Brexit. In that event, you, or your customers, may have to pay those charges to receive them. Likewise, if your business ships from the UK to the EU now, the items you send won’t currently be subject to customs. Without a deal to the contrary, the EU is likely to deem that they will be treated as non EU imports and therefore subject to non-EU customs and VAT rules as the UK would no longer be part of the customs union. 1  


What are the risks?

In a nutshell, costs and delays.

With around 500,000 parcels being sent from the European Union into the UK every day, couriers and delivery firms are concerned.2 Because, when these become subject to the new VAT and customs charge, they may be left holding and storing them until the customer makes payment.3


If your customers are in the UK, working with a trusted UK production partner eliminates these risks.

It ensures that costs remain constant, customers take delivery when they expect to and with no unexpected, hidden or additional charges or taxes. And, with Black Friday and Christmas both on the horizon, why take any chances?

If your customers are in Europe, Prime Group is part of an international print and distribution collaborative network called DSCOOP.
By linking production partners around the world with similarly equipped and skilled printing businesses, we’re able to provide our customers with direct access to european printing services of the highest quality.


If you’re worried about disruption, delays and how that might impact on your service delivery please get in touch or telephone 01623 499943. We’ll be happy to talk you through the options.



  1. https://www.royalmail.com/brexit/no-deal
  2. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dpd-leads-courier-firms-to-warn-of-no-deal-parcel-pile-up-xxjhkrxp6
  3. https://www.parcelforce.com/brexit/nodeal/retail

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