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Tax and duties on goods sent from abroad

20 December 2023

Special rules ensure proper taxation of goods from abroad, preventing disadvantages to UK businesses competing with VAT-free imports. VAT, Customs Duty, and Excise Duty may apply. Customs Duty exempt for non-excise goods £135 or less.

To guarantee proper taxation of goods from abroad and also prevent UK businesses from being disadvantaged, special rules exist. Especially when competing with VAT-free imports. This includes goods that are new or used and purchased online, purchased abroad and shipped to the UK and goods received as gifts.

This implies that you may need to pay VAT, Customs Duty, or Excise Duty for goods sent to:

  • Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) from outside the UK.
  • Northern Ireland from countries outside the UK and the European Union (EU).

VAT is charged on all goods (except for gifts worth £39 or less) sent from:

  • outside the UK to Great Britain; and
  • outside the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland.

Online marketplaces involved in facilitating selling goods are usually responsible for collecting and accounting for the VAT. If the VAT has not been collected, you will have to pay VAT to the delivery company either before the goods are delivered or when you collect them. If you need to pay VAT to the delivery company then they will charge it based on the total package value, incorporating goods value, postage, packing, insurance, and any owed duty.

There are usually no Customs Duty payable on non-excise goods worth £135 or less. However, there are Customs Duty payable above this level and on excise goods of any value.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Mon, 18 Dec 2023 00:00:00 +0100

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