Back to news... 27 June 2011 Import Duties For Parcels Into The UK
When importing goods into the UK in parcel form and are of such a value as not to be able to claim a duty free allowance or a gift duty free allowance then duties must be paid to the British Government prior to the goods being delivered to the recipient.
VAT is payable on all goods imported over the value of £18 (to be reduced to £15 on the 1st November 2011) for commercial goods and £40 for gifts based on the value of the goods plus the cost of postage and packing and plus any customs and excise duties.
Customs duties are payable on all goods over the value of £135. Customs duty is generally paid as a percentage of the value of the goods. The amount of customs duty charged depends on the type of goods imported and the value stated on the customs declaration form. The percentage varies not only with the type of goods but also the country of origin. Duty is again based on the value of the goods, plus the cost of postage and packing and any insurance costs. Where the value of any single gift package is less than £630 in value the flat rate of duty of 2.5% per Member States will apply.
Excise duty is charged on alcohol and tobacco products and is additional to customs duty and VAT. The excise duty on alcohol depends on the alcohol content and volume. Duty on cigarettes is based on a percentage of their recommended selling rate. Other tobacco products, such as cigars and loose tobacco are charged at a flat rate per kilogram.
It is noted that the EU while being a free trade area there is not that option given to the import of alcohol, tobacco or perfumes in quantity from the EU. In this case alcohol, tobacco and perfume products will be liable to full customs and excise duty as well as VAT.
The value of the duties payable is calculated by The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) at various postal receiving offices around the country. The payment for the duties can be made via Royal Mail with an appropriate handling charge. In some cases you may be able to solve some of the taxation paperwork by prepaying the VAT on the Internet. To do this a special arrangement must have been made. This operates under a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and some other countries.