Over the weekend we reported that cycling advocate David Hembrow’s website, Dutch Bike Bits, was now shipping to every country in the world except the UK. Yesterday, it was included in a BBC story about businesses that have stopped shipping to the UK because of a Brexit tax that came into force on January 1. Despite the owner of the bicycle parts website repeating that the change wasn’t necessarily a Brexit issue, only that the government couldn’t have made the change until after Brexit, his website was flooded with messages from Brexiteers…

One wrote: “I see you have removed the United Kingdom from your list of countries to which you supply. What a spiteful thing to do. I always loved the Dutch country and people but you have ruined the place for me now. We saved your asses during the war and as soon as it gets a bit hard for you, you turn and run. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Another said it would be “your [the Netherlands] turn next to pull from the corrupt clutches of the EU!” While someone else simply wrote: “Stick your bike bits.”

The changes brought in on January 1 mean that VAT is now calculated at the point of sale rather than the point of importation. Dutch Bike Bits said on its website: “For providing this service, [HMRC] intend to charge a fee to every company in the world in every country in the world which exports to the UK. Clearly this is ludicrous for one country, but imagine if every country in the world had the same idea.

“If every country decided to behave in the same way, then we would have to pay 195 fees every year, keep up with the changes in taxation law for 195 different countries, keep accounts on behalf of 195 different countries and submit payments to 195 tax offices in 195 different countries, and jump through whatever hoops were required to prove that we were doing all of this honestly and without any error.”

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