Gibraltar is a VAT free zone. VAT for non-British readers is value added tax, the equivalent of Spanish IVA, or basically a sales/service tax.
Por eso, or rather, for this reason, fags, spirits and petrol are dirt cheap here. Well, petrol isn’t as dirt cheap as it was, but it’s still cheaper than it is in Spain.
Most weekends Spaniards happily cross the border to fill up with all the above. I think perfume is probably included in the list of cheap buys too but that isn’t one of my addictions. Neither are any of the others I hasten to add.
Now, because we are VAT free, this means that when ordering goodies from the good old UK – because there is a limited choice of shopping in a population of 30,000 people – we should not be charged VAT.
I’ve primarily bought Land Rover stuff, books, small parts, larger parts and never had a problem. I’ve also bought boots and shoes from the excellent Ethical Wares (of which more on another post), again totally VAT free.
Although we don’t have to pay VAT, we do have to pay import duty on some products, the rate is either 6 or 12 %, either way, it’s less than 17.5% VAT, going up to 20% as of next year I understand.
So, I was singularly displeased when trying to buy a dog coat for my rather large dog who gets very wet going out in sub-tropical rain, to find two companies refusing to deduct the VAT.
Pippa is getting on in years and basically we don’t want him getting cold and wet in his old age and getting poorly. So I looked at some pretty expensive and good quality coats.
One of my dog friends gave me a couple of suggestions and some info about coats she had seen, which I very much appreciated.
I looked at and contacted some sites to check if they realised Gib was VAT free. I quote part of the response from Canine Spirit:
Unfortunately, because of the paperwork and time involved we only do VAT free shipments for large group orders valued at over £500.
We do ship internationally though – the postage is dependent on the final order value but ranges between £8-£12.
I hope this is helpful
No, it is not remotely helpful. Why should I pay import duty and VAT because you can’t be arsed to deduct it? Other companies can. So despite the good looking coat, that one was a no-no.
Next up, Muddypaws, which sell the very up-market and designerish Hurtta jackets. Mmmmm – what a large furry dog would really like very much.
And what did they have to say?
We would charge £6.95 for delivery to Gibraltar, but unfortunately we are unable to provide a VAT free price as our systems are unable to process and we end up losing 17.5% to the government (sorry!)
What sort of reply is that might I ask? Even if they were sorry. Apart from one that does not get my custom.
I have just dealt with another very accommodating firm today called Bourgeois Boheme (yeah it probably suits my image down to my soon-to-be Bourgeois Boheme bootily-clad feet) who said - let us know if you have any problems with inputting the forms and we will change it manually for you. So why can’t exclusive Hurtta-selling Muddypaws do that?
Back to the dog coat saga. I mailed doggiecoats.co.uk and received a prompt reply the same day with a VAT free price and a quote of £3.40 for postage.
Hello! other firms out there. You are charging between twice and four times as much for delivery of a dog coat. You refuse to deduct the VAT saying you have to pay it or can’t be bothered with the paperwork.
What on earth is wrong with people? Is making a living so easy that you can just ignore potential repeat sales?
We are well pleased with Pippa’s dog coat. After collecting it from the PO today, I have ordered another one. I wish <a href="http://www.doggiecoats.co.uk
“>doggiecoats.co.uk much success and highly recommend them for the quality of their product, prompt response to emails, and for not charging me 17.5% tax that I do not need to pay.
Pippa modelling his new coat, size 28 in in olive green for those of you interested in details.
He’s not happy with being a fashion model, perhaps we need to wait for the rain.