I would like to ask a question that relates to this existing question: Do new VAT rules apply to gifts from non-EU countries?

Suppose I am a private, non-business seller on an online marketplace similar to ebay, and I sell an item worth less than €150 to a buyer in an EU country, e.g. Germany, after 1st July 2021.

My understanding is that in this situation, VAT is due, even if:

  • The item is second-hand
  • The item is being sold from one private individual to another, with the online marketplace only facilitating the sale
  • The item is instead being sent as a gift, rather than sold

If I was selling on ebay, I would provide ebay's IOSS number when arranging shipping, and ebay would collect VAT on my behalf. The item would then be delivered to the buyer without them having to pay the VAT first.

Now suppose that the marketplace I am using has not signed up for IOSS, or for whatever reason is unwilling to provide me with their IOSS number. Is there any legal way for me to post this item to the buyer without it being held up by customs until the buyer pays the VAT?

Bonus question: is the answer different if the item is small enough to be shipped in a standard envelope? A post office staff member told me no customs declaration was required at all for small letters, even if I was using them to send goods I sold, which seems rather incongruous with all the other rules.


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