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What you need to know when sending a gift between Spain and the UK post-Brexit

What you need to know when sending a gift between Spain and the UK post-Brexit
Many people have noticed that gifts travelling between the UK and EU sometimes with arrive with an unpleasant surprise: a hefty fee. Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP.
Sending and receiving gifts between the UK and Spain has become a bit more difficult – and expensive – since Brexit. Here's what you need to know to avoid any nasty surprises.

One of the first things that people have noticed since the UK left the EU is that to send and receive parcels between the UK and Spain you now need to fill out a customs form.

New rules that came into force on January 1st mean that new taxes and charges now apply to almost everything that goes back and forth between the two, including gifts.

Many people have noticed that gifts travelling between the UK and EU sometimes will arrive with an unpleasant surprise. In order to collect their parcel, many have been asked to pay exorbitant fees.

Twitter user William Kemble-Díaz said Correos asked his sister in Madrid to pay to receive her 60th birthday present that he sent her from London: “They won’t listen that it’s not a commercial transaction”.

Graham Hunt, an estate agent in Valencia that contributes to The Local, tweeted earlier this year that his “Daughter’s friend just received a package from the UK. Not allowed to pick it up without paying customs and taxes, in this case €79. That’s a price increase of 20% in effect. Watch UK exports dry up over next 6 months as EU buyers realise”.

So is there any way to avoid paying customs charges and extra tax?

Gifts valued up to a certain amount do not attract charges

If people in the UK are sending you a parcel with a gift worth under €45 or £39, they should say “No commercial value” or “Birthday gift” or “For private use only”, on the customs form and state the value is below the threshold. 

But gifts worth more than this amount are eligible for VAT and, if valued at over £135 (€156) customs duties, with the recipient receiving the bill.

Sending parcels as gifts to the UK

When sending parcels to the UK from Spain, the sender should fill in a customs form (CN22 or CN23), which are available at the post office

These custom documents have information about the goods you want to  ship including their cost, the sender and receiver’s details and which parties are involved in the shipping.

Packages which weigh up to 2kg valued up to €425 require a CN22 customs declaration while the CN23 is used for packages which weigh between 2 and 20 kg with a value of €425 or more.

You should have two copies of the completed form, and hand it in when sending the package. 


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