Brexit – Information Update (posted 20 January 2021)


The UK officially left the EU in January 2020 but on 31 December 2020 the transition period agreed expired. A Trade Deal has been agreed between both parties, although it is evident that negotiations will continue for some time to come.

As at the date of writing of this there has been evidence of some disruption, an absence of clarity and an inevitable learning process needed for businesses and consumers to accommodate changes in the trading arrangements between the two parties. With only five days, and over Christmas and in the depths of a global pandemic, businesses have had little time to familiarise themselves with their new requirements and to educate their employees and clients. However, we are positive that after what will be an initial period of difficulties and teething problems ‘the new’ will become ‘the new norm’. The Antique Floor Company has been shipping from our business premises in Burgundy, France into the UK for 12 years. That will continue as, after all, much of the documentation was always required by us for exporting outside of the EU and we have been shipping globally these past 12 years.

The following may look inhibiting and complex, but it is, by and large, a process that we handle administratively to facilitate the smoothest delivery to your door. That has always been our key objective; 100% satisfaction from you ordering to the tiles then being laid and you walking on them for the first time!


We are not increasing our prices but there will be some additional costs that are now chargeable.

VAT: -

VAT is chargeable at 20% on our tiles that are less than 100 years old and at 5% where they are more than 100 years old. In many instances, owing to having the original antique catalogues of the tile producer in our possession, we can date the tiles. Others we cannot and can only use information like the approximate dating of the house or building that they were reclaimed from, anecdotal evidence from the seller etc. In the latter instance we can provide a certificate of authenticity to state that based on details we have we believe the tiles to be older than 100 years but, given we cannot absolutely prove it, the UK Customs may decide to default to the higher VAT rating. We would only know with each specific order.

Research if you can claim VAT you have paid.

If, for example, you are a UK VAT registered business or a client ordering through a VAT registered business (like an Architect, Interior designer, Property development company, Builder, Tiler etc.) check whether the VAT is reclaimable as part of yours or their regular VAT return.

Customs Duty: -

We are advised that the UK Duty tariff is 0% on our tiles.

UK and French Customs authorities

The UK is no longer a member of the EU Customs Union so new Customs arrangements now apply between the two parties.

We are advised that until July 2021 the UK Customs authorities in UK ports will apply a ‘light-touch approach’ to customs clearance of merchandise to ensure that trade continues to flow while companies get up to speed with their requirements. This means, for example, they will allow a degree of tolerance to documentation not being 100% correct if evidently it is little more than a mistake or an absence of understanding the requirement. Obviously, companies will be doing all they can to ensure the necessary paperwork is supplied correctly, so we are referring here to a small number of genuine errors like having the wrong customs product codes, information missing etc. in documentation.


The raising of documentation is the responsibility of The Antique Floor Company and includes the commercial invoice sent to you, the packing list and the address label. The only additional document we will now produce is a shipping commercial invoice (which is a modified version of our commercial invoice) so the shipper can make a customs declaration on our behalf for the freight he is carrying.

Customs Inspection

As with any Customs border there will be the occasional random inspection of merchandise. The majority of inspections do not result in a charge, they are run of the mill, but if Customs for some reason wish to inspect deeper into a pallet then there may be an inspection cost. Technology makes seeing inside a pallet easy now, so again that is rare. Any inspection costs payable would be the responsibility of our client.

Transport and how we can ship your order

We charge all transport at cost. What we pay is what you pay.

We are witnessing a general increase in transport costs, largely due to transporters having to accommodate new documentation, most notably customs declarations.

We can facilitate delivering your order to your door or you can arrange collection from our premises, as a small number of our clients have done in the past and still express a preference for.

So, when ordering you need to advise us as to what you want us to do regarding shipping.

If you are handling the shipping of your order

We will work alongside you to facilitate a smooth collection from our premises and supply the commercial invoice, packing list and, where necessary, a Certificate of Authenticity to validate the tiles are over 100 years old.

If The Antique Floor Company is handling the shipping of your order

We ship on terms called DAP.

What does DAP mean?

DAP - 'Duty At Place' means that the import duties and taxes are not paid for prior to arriving in the UK. So the Antique Floor Company will have included on your commercial invoice from us the cost of the antique tiles you have purchased and the shipping charge (which includes the required customs paperwork) but not costs related to import duties (0%) and taxes (between 5% and 20% VAT).

Goods shipped DAP require the import duties and taxes be paid to UK Customs BEFORE the item is released by them for delivery.

  • UK Customs will contact YOU, or who you have nominated, to request payment.
  • Once paid, the goods are released, and your delivery takes place.
  • IMPORTANT:- As Customs will hold on to your order until payment has been made, this could result in additional delays as well as potential storage costs being charged if you delay responding to their attempts to make contact with you.

Making it easy for UK Customs to contact you – the role of an EORI number

What is an EORI?

An EORI is an ECONOMIC OPERATOR REGISTRATION INDICATOR. It is a number issued by governments in all countries to assist in the smooth transition of goods. The Antique Floor Company have had a French EORI for years, as we export globally, and have just registered a UK EORI number.

An EORI number simply allows Customs authorities, in the country where it is registered, to retain key information in the event that they need to contact you for any clearance of merchandise you are importing; - so the registration will include, in the case of a private individual information including your name, address, email address and telephone number etc. In the case of a VAT or non-VAT registered company this would include your company name, trading name, registered address and any VAT number you have.

Quoting an EORI number is mandatory on shipping documents. Which number to be quoted (yours or ours) will depend on how we ship (are we handling the shipping or are you collecting from us) and how any payments due are to be made.

Getting an EORI

The UK Govt is encouraging everyone, whether a business or a private individual, to obtain an EORI if they have not already. Its simple, takes around 4 minutes on-line to apply, and is issued immediately when you confirm your details. A link to applying for an EORI can be found here or simply cut and paste the following link into your browser

Should you need any further information or clarification, simply contact us at and we will be happy to help.

Please click here to download a PDF version of our latest Brexit – Information Update.