BLUF merchandise: a note on Brexit

BLUF • funding • policy

Submitted by Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 15 December 2020



At the end of 2020, the United Kingdom - where BLUF Ltd is based - will no longer benefit from the transitional arrangements following its exit from the European Union.

This blog is an attempt to explain what we believe will happen with regard to the various BLUF merchandise that is available.

BLUF gear shops

For T shirts, hoodies, mugs, jacket, and similar items, we have shops that can be found at These are operated on our behalf by a company called Spreadshirt. Their European centre is based in Leipzig, Germany.

Since Spreadshirt acts on our behalf, and collects VAT where necessary on good that are sold, we do not anticipate that members buying anything from the store will see any change in procedures (though it is possible that prices may change).

When you visit the store, you may be prompted as to which country's store you want to visit. Right at the bottom of the page you will see a globe icon and a country name next to it. We recommend that you check to make sure the correct country is selected. That will ensure your order is priced correctly, and manufactured in the appropriate place (Spreadshirt also has operations in the USA), reducing the chance of any additional import charges.

BLUF accessories

For tie clips, key rings and badges, we sell directly from the BLUF Store and post items from London. This means that people within the EU may be affected by changes.

First, note that we ourselves are not VAT registered. The price you see on the website is the price that you will pay. And regardless of where in the world you are, you are responsible for any import taxes, fees or duties that may be levied, as stated in our terms and conditions.

UK customers, and those outside the EU will see no change to the present arrangements - all items posted outside the EU already have a customs declaration.

Until 31st December, items posted to the EU can be posted as easily as if they were posted to the UK, with no customs declaration, and no VAT formalities.

Orders posted to the EU from 1st January 2021

From 1st January, we will have to attach a customs declaration to EU orders, which will also be sent electronically, which allows mail that needs no extra payment to be delivered much as it is now.

For a package to qualify for no charges, it must have a value of less than €22. If it is over €22, then VAT may be charged and, in many countries, the local post office or customs authority will also add a fee for handling the customs formalities.

To give an example, in Germany the VAT rate is 19% and the fee levied by Deutsche Post is €6.

If you order one tie clip (£17.50, €19.30) then your order should reach you with no problems, and with no extra payment due.

If the value of your order is over €22, then charges may be applied. For example, if you order two tie clips, the total order will be €38.60. VAT will be applied to this, making €45.93, then the service charge of €6. This would be a total of €51.93, with the first part being paid to BLUF Ltd, and the remaining €13.33 being paid to the post office to obtain your parcel.

This will represent an increase in costs to customers in the EU of around 35%. Accordingly, we recommend that from 1st July-30th June 2021, you make sure that the total value of your order remains below €22 or the equivalent in £.

Orders posted to the EU from 1st July 2021

Unfortunately, things get worse. The €22 exemption from VAT is only in operation until the end of June, after which VAT will be liable on all items ordered from within the EU and shipped from outside it.

This means, that if we post a single tie clip for €19.30, a recipient in Germany would have to pay a total of €28.97 including the VAT and fees of €9.67, representing an increase in cost of 50%.

We are investigating how easy it will be for us to charge VAT directly to EU customers, so that items can be delivered without incurring the extra handling fees. We will update this page when we have a solution.