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UK Customs charges

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,960
This might clarify a few points for people, as there is a lot of speculation.

I received a package this morning. Value $59, I paid £15.55

This was the info with the package:


  • Customs charges are applied to imports into the EU with a value over £15 for VAT.
  • All items valued over £135 will attract import duty.
  • Imported gifts valued over £40 sent between private individuals will also attract VAT.

From that, I interpret it as you pay:

VAT only on merchandise £15 and up
VAT only on personal gifts £40 and up (that one is new to me)
VAT + duty on all items £135 and up

VAT in UK is 20%, Duty is 4% (???)

Also note that:

Whenever payment is due, Royal mail or Parcel Force will charge you an extra £8 "handling fee" on top
All calculations may be based on cost/value plus shipping charges

Some categories are duty exempt (e.g. computers?)
Some items are VAT exempt (as with normal VAT sales, childrens clothes, books, some food etc???)

If the seller does put "gift" and you actually paid, it would technically be a felony. It would be rare to be caught, but if for example the sender put an ebay invoice in with the package and customs found it, then there could be trouble.

If either seller or recipient address is a business, they may interpret this as a not a personal gift.

More info
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
If they start getting like Germany, customs will impound and you have to collect, and bring along documentation to prove gift/price paid.... And they're wise to ebay, false declarations as gifts, false valuations - for instance here they check ebay prices to apply a value to second hand goods coming in..... Here you have to prove what you actually paid with ebay/paypal receipts etc.

Import duty depends a lot on the category of goods. You must make sure that the category is correct, otherwise you may end up in a category which attracts a higher rate of duty.

Txns within the EU don't fall foul of these laws. But you must pay vat in the country of origin.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Emigrate to Australia. You'll have few problems with a consignment worth up to $1,000. I recently ordered some reeds from the US (cost above $100), and all I paid was the cost plus postage.
 

gnu

Member
Messages
39
Emigrate to Australia. You'll have few problems with a consignment worth up to $1,000. I recently ordered some reeds from the US (cost above $100), and all I paid was the cost plus postage.
Does that mean that you can import a saxophone bit-by-bit and not pay duty on it? :thumb:

Importing a saxophone from the US to UK attracts an import duty rate of 3.2% and VAT rate of 20% . Here's quite a useful link for calculating what the tax man will want:

http://www.dutycalculator.com/

Regards
George
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Does that mean that you can import a saxophone bit-by-bit and not pay duty on it? :thumb:

Importing a saxophone from the US to UK attracts an import duty rate of 3.2% and VAT rate of 20% . Here's quite a useful link for calculating what the tax man will want:

http://www.dutycalculator.com/

Regards
George
You could probably do that, especially if you are an inveterate risk-taker. But if you import a saxophone valued at less than $1000 you pay neither duty nor GST (VAT). I have done that. Ordered it in the US and picked it up at the local post office two weeks later. The Australian Customs people have concluded that collecting duty or GST for less expensive goods costs more than it yields. Just a word of warning: this doesn't work, for reaxmple, for cigarettes or grog .
 

felmartin

New Member
Messages
8
The way customs does things is so stupid sometimes. It's not even funny. Sometimes they charge you, sometimes they don't.

I got a package and had to pay $200 up front on the spot when they delivered it.
 
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