“The IOSS helped us come back into the EU after Brexit because it simplified a lot the tax that was required. It made life a lot simpler.”
We spoke with John Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of the UK-based online shop A Year Of Dates. He shared how he saw the doors of the EU closed to him after Brexit, and how Eurora’s IOSS service helped him get back to business in the EU.
UK retailers faced both post-Brexit red tape, and new EU tax regulations imposed on non-EU sellers. As a consequence, many UK businesses had to cut their activities in the EU because parcels were getting lost or held in customs. Yet, the EU doors are not completely locked to UK sellers. The Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) paves the way for a hassle-free return to the EU market. Find out below how John’s business successfully came back into the EU post-Brexit with Eurora’s IOSS service!
Facing the EU wall post-Brexit
Being an online seller is tough. John shared that one of the main challenges is the fierce competition. Over the last 2 years with the outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of people have started online businesses and many sellers have moved online. As a consequence, the number of retailers trying to sell online skyrocketed. If we look at figures, statistics prove John’s concerns right. According to TechCrunch, The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to ecommerce ahead by five years, meaning online sales reached levels in 2020 that weren’t previously expected until 2025.
But harder than being an online seller is being an online seller in the UK since Brexit, especially if you want to sell to the EU. John, who was selling his goods to the EU with no hurdle before Brexit, had to shut everything down. “When Brexit came, we stopped selling to the EU. We just sent a few parcels, but everything went missing, got returned, got lost, so we just turned off the EU selling.” John’s case is far from uncommon.
Jeff Seymour, Managing Director of 2 UK companies, previously told us that when Brexit came into force, his goods were not reaching his customers and were held up in customs. Figures also confirm what John and many other UK retailers have been through. 94% of UK online brands said they have lost EU customers since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020.
Considering the IOSS to reconnect with the EU
According to John, overcoming the post-Brexit red tape was no easy task. However, after some time without activity in the EU, he started hearing about the IOSS. “Once people knew what was happening with the IOSS scheme, I started to research online to find an IOSS partner and did a lot of googling.” The IOSS scheme facilitates tax matters for non-EU sellers. With the IOSS, online UK shops like A Year Of Dates can sell to EU customers without having to deal with the EU VAT puzzle. They partner with a fiscal representative like Eurora that will get their IOSS number and transfer the VAT to the relevant tax authority each month.
John came across Eurora while looking for an affordable IOSS service on the internet. “In the past, I have used another company that helped us in the US, but we just found it ridiculously expensive and not very helpful. They were just too big to be helpful. So, I searched for alternatives, and I came across Eurora with a Google search.” John explained that the primary drive for choosing Eurora was the price. “The sign-up costs were less than everyone else wanted, and your general running costs were a lot less. As we turned EU shipping off, we had no idea how many orders we’d have. So, we needed something affordable.”
Successfully coming back to the EU with Eurora’s IOSS service
Even though his initial motivation for choosing Eurora’s IOSS service was price, John found out many other benefits upon onboarding. “The onboarding process was very simple and efficient. From the point of signing the contract, I got my IOSS number in 2 days which was incredibly fast.” Above all, John welcomes Eurora’s unique personal approach. “I like the fact that I have a personal contact at Eurora helping me every month, while most companies just have a plug in installed on your website. If it’s a person, they can get back to me if there is a mistake, and we change it.”
John has been using Eurora’s IOSS service since September 2021. Each month, his personal tax consultant reaches out and makes sure he is fully compliant with the EU taxes on his EU sales. “My primary contact is Triin, who is absolutely lovely. She emails me each month and I send her my list of EU sales in the format we previously agreed. She processes it, gets back to me if there is any error. Then she sorts it out with the tax authorities, I don’t have to think about it, it’s just taken care of.” John points out that it is quite a unique approach. “With a lot of other companies, it’s just like ‘here have this plug-in installed in your website’ and there is no help, nobody to respond that is not from the helpdesk system. It’s nice to have a personable and pleasant company like yours to partner with.”
A Year Of Dates, and Eurora
A Year Of Dates is an online gifting business based in the UK. Its primary product is a date box containing 52 sealed envelopes, each containing a surprise date idea. They also expanded their range of products to birthday, Christmas and friend gifts. A Year of Date has been in business for 6 years and sells around the globe. Its main cross-border markets are the US, Australia, Canada, and the EU.
Eurora offers end-to-end solutions suited for all types of eCommerce sellers dealing with global sales. We combine advanced AI technology with a personal approach to make sure you delight your customers with cost transparency and faster delivery while reducing your manual labor and time spent on compliance.
In addition to the IOSS service, you can use Eurora’s cross-border compliance platform to:
- Assign HS codes: Get the correct HS/HTS code for your goods in real-time. We support up to 10 digits HS codes and country-specific nomenclatures.
- Calculate Duty & Tax: display the applicable VAT and duty rates in real-time at checkout. We support any currency and more than 160 countries.
- Check for restrictions: screen all your orders against national and international denied parties lists to make sure you comply with import and export regulations. Our database covers most countries in the world.