IF YOU ARE planning on importing a classic motorcycle from Europe, it might be worth getting your wallet out now, as you may have less than a month to do it without incurring extra costs.

Cross-border parts buyers and sellers can also expect longer delivery times, as new tax rules relating to the UK leaving the EU come into force.

Article continues below...

Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.

Importing a classic motorcycle more than 30 years old from Europe does not currently incur VAT payable in the UK or Duty. The Government has decided that such machines will still not incur Duty, but will be liable for 5% in VAT.

A spokesman for HMRC said: “Vehicles over 30 years may be classified as collectors’ pieces, which incur a 0% duty rate and a 5% VAT rate. The UK Global Tariff 2021 states that the duty rate will remain at 0%.”

This extra 5% charge will not only affect private and business importers of bikes they have just bought, but also may hit any ex-pats who want to return to the UK with vehicles, from motorcycles to motorhomes, that they have bought in EU countries for use there.”

Article continues below...

The process of buying and selling parts to and from EU countries will be another area that looks set to change from January 1, 2021, if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal, though customers should only see minor changes.

The HMRC spokesman said: “From January 1, import VAT on most goods with a value not exceeding £135 will no longer be due at the border. VAT will be charged on these goods as if they were supplied in the UK and accounted to HMRC on the UK VAT return.”

When sales are made through an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay, the marketplace will be liable to account for the VAT on these transactions.

Article continues below...

Low value consignment relief, which currently applies to imports of goods up to £15 in value will also be withdrawn.

Overseas sellers and online marketplaces will be required to register for VAT in the UK and account for the VAT due on a VAT return.

This would remove the need for VAT to be charged at the border, or by buyers when they get the items delivered. UK sellers selling goods to the EU will now be classed as making exports. Any VAT due on these goods will charged in the EU on importation using a similar system.

Article continues below...

Traders do not anticipate problems for the customer. Paul Goff, who sends electrical and electronic components around the world from the UK, said he does not think there will be many issues: “I think it will be just like sending goods to the US, as we do at the moment. We ship goods out around the world and don’t anticipate any major changes, as we are a small operator.” Paul has been told to register for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number from the EU.

Rüdiger Paustian runs XS650 Shop in Hamburg and ships parts for the Yamaha twin to the UK. He says that he does not see any issues with selling goods, but buyers might need to wait longer for their items.

He said: “There is no problem for me to sell parts to the UK after January 1, 2021, but there will be a longer delivery time for the customers, because I don’t know how much time the customs declaration will need.”

Read more News and Features online at and in the December 2020 issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now!

Subscribe to Classic Bike Guide Magazine Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.