British expats in Spain claim they were overcharged on letters from UK – ‘surely not!’

Brexit: British expat discusses difficulty of living in Spain

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Commercial letters are taxed when they come into the EU from a non-EU country, including the UK. However, personal letters are exempt from VAT taxation.

Correos is a state-owned company, similar to Royal Mail, in Spain which is responsible for delivering parcels and letters.

British expats have claimed the company has incorrectly charged them VAT on personal letters.

Lynn Reeves, a British expat in the Murcia region, told Murcia Today she had to pay over 10 euros for a letter.

She said she challenged the postman and said she did not need to pay but he told her she could not have her letters if she didn’t.

She said: “You have no option when you are put in the spot like that. You have to just pay up.”

On its website Correos states: “From January 1, 2021, in order for Correos to proceed to deliver shipments containing merchandise from the United Kingdom, except for the territory of Northern Ireland, to the recipients in Spain, it will be necessary to present them for clearance before the Spanish Customs.

“The recipient must bear the expenses corresponding to customs processing as well as the payment of taxes accrued in accordance with current customs regulations (VAT or IGIC in the Canary Islands) and Special Taxes.

“However, the payment of duties may be exempted when it is documented that the merchandise contained in the shipment is of United Kingdom origin, except for the territory of Northern Ireland.”

Despite the regulations, other British expats claimed they had also been wrongly VAT on personal letters delivered to Spain.

One said on social media: “Some UK residents in my small town, Arboleas, are being charged for receiving letters from the UK.

“I understand maybe some custom charges for parcels but surely not letters.”

Another person said: “A few weeks ago, my neighbour was charged six euros for some second hand magazines sent by his brother.

“Clearly there may be some monetary value on those but he was only charged six euros whilst I was charged over 10 euros for a few letters which have no value.

“We have had the same envelopes sent a couple of times sinceBrexit but they have just been left in the postbox with no charge.”

Lynn Reeves said: “Who is deciding what is to be charged VAT on? It seems like no one knows the rules.

“I think there needs to be a lot of training somewhere along the line. I know lots of people who have been charged more for the VAT than the value of the item.

“And the recipient has refused to take delivery and I believe the warehouses here are chock-a-block with unaccepted parcels.”

British expats are advised to make a note of any charges and then contact Correos directly with their queries. has contacted Correos for comment.

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