Sellers exporting to the UK should note that e-commerce platforms such as Ebay and Shopify are now responsible for collecting VAT directly from American and Canadian sellers. The new arrangement applies Value Added Tax for all "B2C" online orders from North America to the UK. Sellers are required to register and collect UK VAT for orders* valued up to £135. The value of £135 covers only the value of the goods (i.e. transaction value) and excludes shipping costs.

The success of international cross border e-commerce has led to more stringent rules related to many regulations but most notably VAT. UK sellers have understandably been pushing for a level playing field by insisting that international orders should be subject to VAT. Similarly, European Union has also implement rules regarding payment of VAT prior to import to the EU.

Build your ecommerce sales to the UK by shipping direct from Canada.  Contact Jet's team for details

A few quick points to consider when shipping international from Canada: 

  1. Canada Post is the preferred option for individuals shipping small parcels and personal items internationally.
  2. Market dominant carriers, such as UPS, FedEx have crazy high base pricing  but discounted shipping can be obtained via resellers who provide  "comparison quotes"  that offer large discounts but can still be expensive.
  3.   Jet's logistics professionals will personally respond  to your inquiry within 1 business day sharing our expertise and helping you find the right solution (we freely recommend alternative carriers and methods that may better suite your needs). 
  4. Ecommerce shippers usually need a much lower cost than can be provided by traditional shipping methods and need direct shipping solutions (visit our ecommerce page).

This post provides a deeper dive and explores of the main elements of international shipping from Canada

VAT payment for online orders to the UK shipped from Canada and US

  • Shipping platforms (and sellers who do not use an online marketplace) are required by UK Customs to collect VAT for orders shipped to the UK valued under £135.
  • For goods valued over £135, the collection will be made from the receiver at the time of import.
  • See section below on the Canadian UK Free Trade Continuity Act TCA

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VAT Payment from Canadian Seller or Marketplace

The responsibility to charge, collect and report UK VAT is the responsibility of either the online marketplace or -if the seller sells directly to the UK - the seller them self. See definitions below.

The rules for collection apply for goods imported in consignments with a value up to £135. When the intrinsic value of the consignments being imported exceeds £135, then the responsibility to charge, collect and remit UK VAT will be collected at import.

We recommend that online sellers collect VAT for all orders the UK regardless of value so all shipments can be cleared without charges to the consignee.

Ship from Canada

Ship to Canada

Request a call back for your business shipping from Jet's logistics support team

Disclaimer: The information in Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information only and is not intended to, constitute legal and/or tax advice.  Producers, shippers, exporters, importers should confirm their processes with their customs brokers, carriers and regulating authorities. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is”; no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Package value versus individual orders

The rules related to the collection of VAT apply to the value of the package being sent, not to individual orders or items in the package. If shippers wish to stay below the £135 threshold, they must break up the order into different shipments.


jet-ecommerce-vector-graphic2Definitions to Consider When Shipping Online Orders to the UK

UK VAT:The value-added tax (VAT) is collected by all sellers of goods and services at each stage of the supply chain. That means that suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and end consumers all pay the VAT on their purchases. The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20% but it can be lower for some goods, such as books.

UK HMRC: VAT is administered and collected by HM Revenue and Customs / HMRC.

OMP: An Online Marketplace / OMP is considered to be any electronic interface that facilitates the sale of goods to a customer such as eBay and Amazon.

Seller: Canadian Online sellers who offer goods directly to British consumers (not via a platform such as eBay) are defined by UK VAT rules as the "seller." Sellers (who are not transacting via an OMP mentioned above) must register for UK VAT with UK HMRC.

UK VAT Registering Agents: UK companies that assist Canadian, American and other non UK sellers to register and administer their VAT with HMRC (mentioned above). Many sellers prefer using UK professionals to manage the complexities of VAT registration and reporting process (such as Kings VAT).

Contact Jet's team for assistance with UK VAT Registration.

READ-shipping-to-the-UK Read more:  VAT prepayment for Online Orders to the UK 

Shipping to UK businesses

The online marketplace must charge and account for VAT at the point of sale, unless the consignment is a business to business sale and the customer has given their UK VAT registration number. If shipping to registered business, the businesses UK VAT registration number must be noted on the invoice. Sellers can verify the businesses UK VAT number using the following website:

A sample statement to be included on a shipment purchased by a UK based business: Customer to account for VAT to HMRC: UK business customer: _______

Sellers from Canada are required to keep records to ensure the correct application of VAT.

While the default Value Added Tax is 20%, it is important to note for some specialized sellers that some goods benefit from lower VAT (such as books, food and children's clothes).


North American sellers should confirm compliance with their platform

Major Canadian and American shipping platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce have added functionality to facilitate this change. eBay will add VAT for all sales made by non UK based sellers to the UK based on the final sale amount. Sellers can change the default VAT % applied by eBay if, for example, the VAT was already included in their price.


Added VAT and the need for lower delivery cost to the UK

Contact Jet Worldwide’s team to stay informed on our new shipping options to the UK and EU. Having a fully tracking low-cost shipping option to the UK is more important than ever to offset the application of VAT and other costs.

Jet Worldwide has developed low cost direct shipping options to the UK from Canada and the USA. Contact our team for details and to establish best in class shipping solutions for online orders shipped direct to the UK.

E-Commerce Shipping Direct to UK from Canada

jet-logo-vectorDelivery to the UK from Canada via Jet Worldwide

  • Jet Worldwide:  A trusted brand offering international shipping for over 35 years!
  • Jet Worldwide offers options for shipping between the UK and Canada for parcels, pallets, and online orders (with Shopify integration)
  • Jet Worldwide offers transparency and logistics support.  We are not shy to recommend alternative options that are better suited for your needs.  


Added VAT: Also required for online orders to the EU

Shipments to the EU are subject to the similar "duty free but with VAT" status for online orders shipped to the European Union.


Shipping American and Canadian Shopify Orders to the UK and the EU

Jet Worldwide is building international shipping solutions for Shopify, Canada's leading e-commerce platform. Building on Jet Worldwide’s decades of Canadian cross-border parcel shipping experience, our team is currently developing Shopify-integrated solutions for shipping to the UK and the entire European Union, allowing businesses to “self-fulfill” their orders.

Shippers listed on various local directories including Le Panier Bleu (online sellers in Quebec), and Not by Amazon directories are searching for direct to country shipping solutions.

For updates on the latest international shipping solutions for Canadian online orders, connect with Jet Worldwide’s e-commerce team.


UK Canada Free Trade Continuity

The Canada-U.K. TCA  has been ratified providing Canadian and UK businesses with continued preferential access for goods shipped between both countries.    Canada and the U.K. are engaging in future negotiations on a more permanent bilateral free trade agreement that could include the U.K. potentially joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

jet-logo-vectorGetting a quote for shipping between the UK and Canada

Jet Worldwide gives access to all companies seeking for spot quotes from Canada to the UK for parcels pallets, and online orders.   For a quote, please provide:

  • Your company name and contact details
  • Ship from Address
  • Ship To Address
  • Weight and dimensions of each piece
  • Item(s) being sent
  • Value
  • If shipping online orders, provide information on your projected volume, item(s) being shipped, average weight and value of each order.

Click here to request a quote

Reminder: The information in this blog is for general information only. Producers, shippers, online sellers, exporters, importers should confirm their processes with their customs brokers, carriers and regulating authorities.


jet-logo-graphic-small About Jet Worldwide

CIF VALUE JET GRAPHIC How to declare values for your international shipments

Jet-Invoice-for-Customs-vector-graphic Learn about requirements for preparing an invoice for customs

jet vector template weightVolume weight and understanding why size matters for shipping

FREE-TRADE-GRAPHIC Take advantage of Canada's Free Trade Agreements

jet-ecommerce-vector-graphic2Shipping ecommerce and Shopify shipments


Written by Timothy Byrnes