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Back to news... 15 June 2011 Simple Tips To Avoid Parcels Being Stuck In Customs

When it comes to importing parcels from abroad many people are blissfully unaware that there is a problem until their goods fail to arrive, but then you check with the seller and they give you all of the parcel delivery information as to when the goods were picked up and who they were sent via.

Often as not many people when buying goods from another country fail to realise that they are still liable for the import duty and the VAT.

Indeed with many people now ordering online and bringing goods in from other countries then this is an increasing problem for the UK and other customs authorities.
Many people fail to realise that the onus is on them as the importer to pay all the import taxes and duties, and as they vary from item to item, depending on what customs category they fit into, then the customs bill can make something that looked a bargain on the Internet seem eye wateringly expensive by the time that you have paid the customs duty.

Indeed you may find that you have ordered an item that falls into one of the UK’s many “Prohibited items” in which case the goods could be confiscated and destroyed, and yet you end up getting fined as well, for attempted illegal importation – try importing alcohol or tobacco by mail order without a license and this will prove to be very true.

HMRC have a very extensive website, as well as a helpline to call if you are in any doubt about what you maybe charged with regards to imports. It really is a good idea to check out their website before making a purchase.

The reason for this is if any of the goods that you are importing fall above their limits then they will charge you the customs duty and the VAT, and whilst they will send you a bill, commonly via the parcel courier or the post office, they will not under any circumstances release the goods until the relevant charges have been paid. There is no exception to this rule. If you do not like the charges, then tough, you will simply not be able to get your goods from them.

So when it comes to importing parcels, do your homework with HMRC or seek the advice of a parcel import specialist.

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