If even Discogs can’t understand it, what hope is there for the rest of us? Brexit related changes are even more complex than first thought…

Last Thursday, I published a post on this blog about VAT changes coming up on Discogs. The full details of the post – which I had to amend slightly after publication – can be found here, but the gist of it is that Discogs would work out the applicable VAT on any goods coming into the UK or the European Union. What was less clear was what happens between the two.

Barely hours after the ink on my post was dry, Discogs came back and updated their original post to state “Discogs will not be assessing VAT on intra-EU or intra-UK orders beginning on July 1st, as our original announcement suggested”. They will only deal with this if you’re importing into either the UK or EU from a country outside these two – for example, if a record has to go from New York to London.

Intra-EU refers to the internal boundaries of the European Union’s 27 countries. Intra-UK obviously refers to the four countries of the United Kingdom – which is where things start to get extremely complicated. In order to avoid having to put a land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, a number of things have had to be implemented which effectively put the EU/UK border into the Irish Sea.

It’s meant Northern Ireland being treated differently for a number of things, much to the annoyance of unionists. The update makes clear that Northern Ireland will remain inside UK shipping policies for the time being, but that “we plan to provide you with the option to segment Northern Ireland out for any unique shipping policy plans you may require”.

Does this potentially mean that Discogs sellers in Northern Ireland will be able to ship into the Republic of Ireland and therefore, the European Union, with less onerous requirements, something not available to customers in Great Britain? This remains unclear, but could lead to a situation where sellers in Belfast and Londonderry have an advantage over those in Bristol or Luton.

No wonder Discogs had to update the original post…