Specialist online retailers in several EU countries have said they will no longer deliver to good to UK customers because of tax changes caused by Brexit.
Small businesses across the trading bloc have halted sending supplies to the UK, with many saying they have stopped to avoid customs declarations and registering for VAT.
Some customers only found out about the change when they tried to place an order online and discovered the UK was no longer an option for delivery.
Bicycle part firm Dutch Bike Bits said that from now on it would ship to every country in the world except the UK.
“We are forced by British policy to stop dealing with British customers,” it said on its website.
Belgium-based specialist beer brewers, Beer On Web, said it was avoiding the UK “due to the new Brexit measures”.
The companies say higher costs and increased bureaucracy has made it difficult to comply with UK tax authorities.
Under the new Brexit agreement – which came into force January 1 – VAT will now be collected at the point of sale rather than at the point of importation – a move HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says will ensure good from the EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way.
This means retailers will have to register for UK VAT and account for it to the HMRC if the product is valued at less than £135. Similar tax rules will apply across the EU from July 1.
Dutch Bike Bits said the scheme was “ludicrous”.
“For providing this service, [HMRC] intend to charge a fee to every company in the world in every country in the world which exports to the UK,” its website read.
“Clearly this is ludicrous for one country, but imagine if every country in the world had the same idea.
“If every country decided to behave in the same way, then we would have to pay 195 fees every year, keep up with the changes in taxation law for 195 different countries, keep accounts on behalf of 195 different countries and submit payments to 195 tax offices in 195 different countries, and jump through whatever hoops were required to prove that we were doing all of this honestly and without any error.”
The firm added: “Not being able to send parcels to the UK does not work in any way in our favour and it is not what we wanted.
“If you’re angry about this, and you may well be so, please contact your elected representative in the UK.”
Other EU suppliers have temporarily halted deliveries to the UK.
Lubera, a plant nursery in Switzerland, said its products will not be available in the UK “before 2022 or 2023”.
It said: ” We are working on a solution… to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers’ home in the future.
“However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.”
HMRC has been approached for comment.