Re: VAT ... it looks like it's going to be difficult.
Indeed Robert and the same process is to be adopted by the remaining EU member states on July 1st 2021. It seems the UK has gone early with the change.
I believe your vendor could declare the item as a gift on the customs form and the correct prices and then you pay the VAT, duty and a fee to the PO for handling the taxes. If he sends it via TNT/FedEx they will also handle collecting the taxes etc. In both those cases, instead of him charging you and collecting the VAT and then paying HMRC, you pay a VAT free price to him and pay the taxes and handling charge to the shipping agent.
As to whether this will work, who knows but eBay is listing changes to how it will work, select help then type VAT and have fun reading what they say.
Changes to VAT treatment of imports into the UK
The UK VAT rate is 20%.
From 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a new model for collecting VAT on imports.
The changes at a glance
I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.
From: UKMicrowaves@groups.io <UKMicrowaves@groups.io> on behalf of Robin Szemeti - G1YFG <robin@...>
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2021 5:07 AM
To: UKMicrowaves@groups.io <UKMicrowaves@groups.io>
Subject: [UKMicrowaves] VAT ... it looks like it's going to be difficult.
Well, having had a guy I buy aerial parts off in Germany decline to supply because of VAT .. I did a bit more digging.
It turns out, that while I thought he was wrong .. he's actually right ... any small business or individual, anywhere in the world is now required to register for UK VAT if they want to sell small ( less than £135 ) items to the UK.
This is absolutely barking mad! I can't see small suppliers in the USA wanting to register for UK VAT for a handful of sales. The option of sending it in without VAT being charged at source and then having it collected by UPS/Fedex/whatever has been removed it appears.
This means things like small PCBs for projects like the ones I have ordered for 122GHz from Australia in theory either the amateur in Aus either registers for UK VAT or he cannot send them.
This really has not been thought through ... or maybe it has (in order to make sure there are no leaks through which the Chinese suppliers will slip) and this is just collateral damage the powers that be think is acceptable.
Robin Szemeti - G1YFG