MSE News: Bagging Christmas bargains from overseas? Make sure you get the tax right

"Shoppers looking to bag Christmas bargains overseas this year should beware import costs and taxes before they buy..."
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Bagging Christmas bargains from overseas? Make sure you get the tax right


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  • DJ_MikeDJ_Mike Forumite
    246 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Good old HMRC - why go after the big tax-dodging companies when you can screw the little guys.
  • KxMxKxMx Forumite
    9.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    This article made one mention of courier handling fees, and nothing about Royal Mail who charge £8 on packages liable for duty/vat.
    That's quite important because if you do end up liable and it goes through RM the £8 charge will be applied.
  • EdwardiaEdwardia Forumite
    9.2K Posts
    What about books ? These are zero rated for VAT in UK. It's often cheaper for me to buy them from USA even with shipping included, in GBP (so no currency charges from bank) because of rate of exchange.
  • zerogzerog Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    Every time I enter the UK I technically should be paying about £100 of tax.... Watch, laptop, tablet,phone, clothes, luggage itself...

    You are supposed to declare these when departing, if they were bpught in the UK, to prove that the appropriate taxes have already been paid else you are liable on return.
  • Would be interested in any advice people have about customs. Me and my boyfriend are going to New York over Christmas and are planning on buying clothes and trainers and possibly an iPad. We'll also buy Christmas presents for our families although we're not planning on spending a fortune on those. We were planning on removing the tags and packaging so they're not obviously new, especially from the iPad.
    Any other advice people have to avoid customs charges? I can see from MSE that we are only allowed to bring back £390 each VAT and duty free for personal use but have read somewhere else that gifts for others are an extra allowance.
    Any advice to avoid charges will be welcome.
  • Nosmo_King_2Nosmo_King_2 Forumite
    136 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Couriers working for DHL often have to collect Duty/VAT charges from the customer at point of delivery, There is also an additional £5 admin' fee regardless of the VAT, so, particularly with lower priced items, you can easily find yourself paying more than the items UK cost.
  • AntoineFRAntoineFR Forumite
    14 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Is the £390 allowance based on the value before tax?

    Let's say I buy a new phone in the US and I pay 8% tax in the US. let's say the price is 650$ + 54$ = 704$
    650$ is under £390 but 704 is over...

    Do I have to declare it in this case?
  • My daughter wants to order 6 bridesmaid dresses from China, can she place separate orders to avoid paying duty therefore just the vat?
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