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Customs/Importing/Charges

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD discs' started by Greg Hook, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    Hi

    This thread should hopefully answer all your importing, customs, charges etc related questions.

    If there is anything important I have missed off, or stated incorrectly, please post on this thread and I will incorporate it into this post.

    Basics:

    If you purchase an item outside of the EU that is over £18.00 and customs catch it, you will be charged duty and VAT for it.

    The £18.00 value is excluding P&P.
    For example an item costing £17.99 with £4.00 postage will not be liable for duty, but an item costing £18.50 and £4.00 postage will be liable for duty and VAT at the full amount of £22.50.

    £ values are normally established by taking the invoice value of the goods (including shipping) as declared; if this is in a foreign currency, the currency is converted at the HM R&C official rate for that currency, which is normally set monthly. It will be much the same as the "city" rate you might see in the newspaper.

    Charges are as follows:

    Duty is 3.5% for DVDs (other goods attract different rates), and VAT is then charged at 17.5% on the total of goods + duty. The carrier can then add their own collection charge. For the Post Office it is about £8.00. The charges will have to be paid to the post office/postman before you can get your item.

    Note: These charges are based on DVDs only through the post office, other items such as hardware will incur widely different charges and other carriers such as parcelforce, DHL etc will also vary with the addition that some carriers may deliver and then invoice later for the charges.

    Information:

    Purchasing from UK and EU based retailers will not incur any charges, but purchasing from non UK/EU retailers will.

    See this Customs link for detailed information:
    http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channels...ntent&id=HMCE_CL_000014&propertyType=document
    http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/downloadFile?contentID=HMCE_PROD_009989 - direct link to a customs common internet goods pdf listing lots of different items and their duty rate

    Additional Information:

    Many thanks to DaveP for this information :clap:

    If you have suffered a customs and PO charge on an item, where you paid under the £18 threshold but it has been declared above £18, there is a way to claim the charge back.

    To claim the customs charge back you need to send them the red label, the customs declaration and also a copy of the invoice showing the full amount and the discount given.

    The address to send it to is:

    The Correspondence Officer
    H.M. Customs & Excise
    Mount Pleasant Postal Depot
    Farringdon Road
    London EC1A 1BB

    If you want to phone them customs number is 0207 2392449.

    To reclaim back the post office charge you need to send them a covering letter explaining what happened along with a copy of the letter received from customs.

    Royal Mail Customer Services
    P.O. Box 740
    Romford
    RM1 1AA

    Their phone number is 08457 740 740

    Probably a good idea to send it all recorded just to make sure.

    Cheers
    Greg
     
  2. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    Thread tidied and some important information added to the first post.

    Thanks to DaveP.
     
  3. lurker75

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    I think the import duty on DVDs has changed from 4 per cent to 3.5 per cent .
     
  4. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    Hi Lurker, thanks for the post, I have checked on the HMCE website and as of Feb 2005 import duty on DVDs is now 3.5%.

    Cheers
    Greg
     
  5. bigrugbyballs

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    What about Gifts from outside EU & greater value than £18.oo????????? :lease:
     
  6. jouni

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    Items being 'gifts' shouldn't change anything. The only significant difference is that when something is shipped as a gift the commercial papers are left out of the package so you may be able to 'talk it thru' in the case that it is over the limit - this of course has natural 'limits.'
     
  7. jouni

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    It always pays to make as many separate orders as possible - and even perhaps to stagger them over a few days - when the shipper has said 'free shipping' - customs probably has the right to put several packages together if arriving to the same recipient at the same time.
     
  8. the_pauley

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    No they don't - each is treated as a seperate purchase.

    Gifts are exempt from duty up to the value of £36. However, to have an item designated as a gift, many online retailers insist that the delivery address must be different to that of the cardholder. So get a friend or relative, and send everything to them designated as a gift. The onus is on Customs to prove otherwise.
     
  9. jouni

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    I think there is some ruling that packages arriving from the same sender can be 'lumped' - these matters may vary across the EU also at this point - though there probably is some directive setting some date for standardizing them.

    I had understood that gifts in UK were not judged differently - but seemingly they are - that, too, may be one of the things gravitating to common application in the EU - where it will probably be that gifts are as taxable as anything else if coming from outside the EU
     
  10. Greg Hook

    Greg Hook
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    Unless it is a new ruling, there is nothing to say customs will lump items together. A few months ago I had 4 packages arrive from Canada from the same place. Each one was treated individually and charged seperately for customs.
     
  11. jouni

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    A lot depends on the 'aggressiveness' of the clerks too possibly. There's a lot of paperwork with getting those duties and taxes - and many may opt out of it - but then too there are those 'bad hair' days.
     
  12. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    There is no such ruling. Each purchase / package is treated uindividually.

    Doesn't matter what other rules are across the EU - the only ruling applied when the package reaches the UK is that of UK Customs. Besides, EU customs rules are irrelevant as we don't pay customs duty on goods sent from other EU countries.
     
  13. jouni

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    I was referring to packages coming from outside the EU - shipments from one EU cxountry to another are all the same though there are some exceptions re VAT type taxes depending on whether the seller is registered in the destination country

    The EU is now set up to unify all customs rules and practices over the coming years - so there will be no more UK or Portugese rules, per se - but a uniform system in all countries - this is supposed to happen in stages of course. Scandinavia has been allowed certain exceptions with alcohol for example because of 'social circumstances'
     
  14. Jonathan S

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    Are customs allowed to charge import VAT on the postage costs?

    I've just had a DVD box set costing $62.89 from Amazon.com (actually sent through Germany) and have been charged £7.12 VAT (plus £4 Royal Mail fee)which means that using Customs' own exchange rate ($1.715= £1) for December, they must have included the $6.98 shipping fee (total $69.87) in their calculation.

    Also, I wonder how long they are allowed to sit on an item? (In this case, "sit on" may be appropriate as Amazon's gigantic cardboard box - probably why it was caught in the first place - is squashed and not even re-sealed, causing the DVD box to be badly creased on the bottom.) The packaging is marked "Royal Mail Mount Pleasant Primary Customs, Cleared 2 Nov 2005" then the red charge sticker is dated 7/12/2005 - over one month in their grubby hands! During this time the pound had weakened considerably - maybe that's why they delayed it, so they could charge more VAT!

    I was surprised they charge VAT on an item officially posted in Germany but presumably they are allowed to do this as it was originally from the US? Most Amazon items over £18 which I've ordered from the US have not had any charges.

    Jonathan
     
  15. LV426

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    Sorry to be so blunt, but have you actually read the informative post that heads this thread? The answers to your tax/cost questions are there.

    As for handling time - I couldn't comment.
     
  16. Jonathan S

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    Yes, I did read it - sorry but I didn't find the part about VAT on postage clear on first reading because it initially says, "the £18 is excluding p&p" but I think I understand the Customs' byzantine rule now!

    I did edit my previous posting when I realised that their long handling period had enabled them to use the less favourable (to me) rates.

    Thanks
    Jonathan
     
  17. Cloysterpeteuk

    Cloysterpeteuk
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    LV do you think it's a good idea if you include a list of customs friendly suppliers in your first post, I know Movie Tyme and Axel Music are but what about the others, CD-WOW?.
     
  18. LV426

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    The problem as I see it is knowing for sure that somewhere is friendly. Certainly those suppliers who are UK based or who advertise their goods as UK tax paid (etc) are going to be.

    But the charging of duty and VAT on untaxed imports has always been rather hit and miss with some carriers. Many peoples' perception is gained from simply having been "lucky".

    And the situation can change. It's actually illegal for anyone to mis-declare the value of a package that's being shipped internationally and some firms have been "clamped down on". So, tricky.
     
  19. ollie501

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    What does "customs friendly" actually mean? They leave out paperwork, mark it as a gift, or pay the charge for you?
    Does anyone know if DVD Pacific are "customs friendly"?

    Thanks

    Ollie
     
  20. LV426

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    It might mean that they actually ship within the EU (or even in the UK) in which case goods are already tax paid.

    It might mean they under-declare the value (an illegal practice).

    It might mean that people have been lucky with a particular supplier for an unexplained reason.

    It's all a bit vague really. There's no 100% reliable way to avoid paying the taxes which are properly due.
     
  21. discoinferno

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    is there a specific amount for customs in dollars?

    say if you payed $32, (works out just about under £18) and got them delivered to a uk adress, how would the customs be worked out then?

    would it to be the latest exchange rate?
    or something else?

    sophie x
     
  22. LV426

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    The value of the contents of the package are converted at whatever the current notional rate of exchange used by Customs is at the time the goods are inspected/evaluated. This gives a GBP value for the goods. The notional rate is set by HM C&E from time to time and is broadly in line with "city" rates.

    Suppose the current official notional rate of exchange is (say) 1.75. That means USD1.75 = GBP1.00.

    In this case, something "worth" USD 31.40 is therefore worth GBP17.95. It is under the threshold and no taxes are due. Even if shipping costs bring the value to more than this figure.

    Something "worth" USD 31.60 is therefore worth GBP 18.05 and taxes are due - not only on the GBP 18.05, but on this PLUS the cost of any shipping/insurance etc.

    So, if the package was "worth" USD 31.60 and shipping (etc) was another USD 5.00 , then tax is calculated on USD 36.60 (which is GBP 20.91 using the same example rate of exchange).

    There's no exact quotable US dollar amount, because the exchange rate varies from time to time in line with market forces.
     
  23. Mics49

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    This is the link to HMC's exrates and shows the rates used by UK customs.

    http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channels....portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageImport_Home

    They are submitted monthly in advance and get updated weekly only when and where necessary (whatever that means).

    Example: With May's rate of £1 = $1.789 you'll get a £18 threshold of US$32.20 - you wouldn't want to push your luck over the last cent though. ;)

    The page also includes FAQ and advise how to claim back overcharged fees.

    Last: The £ has appreciated a lot over the $ in the last two weeks (£18 = ~$33.90 on 15 May)! Odds are that from 1 June on the £18 threshold will be equal to ~US$33.50 or higher!!
     
  24. eilz

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    What if you send the item using standard post from a non-EU country, are your chances reduced, aren't delivery comapanies like DHL etc.. the ones who charge the end customer, would standard ppost do the same.

    Also, if you send an item as a gift from a non-eu country, where are you supposed to label the word GIFT, do you just put it in big letters on the item? Sorry for the daft question.

    If you buy an item from an EU to the UK are your chagred for any duty or tax.

    Also, what if the item coming from a non-EU country was a replacement item, of a faulty one you previosly sent off?
     
  25. LV426

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    The Post Office got slapped by HMC&E a bit back for being too lax at collecting taxes which are due. So they are quite a lot more attentive than they perhaps were.

    The term "Gift" is a checkbox on the Customs declaration slip that has to be affixed to the package. And it does NOT mean exemption from duty/tax.

    Goods shipped from one EU country to another do not incur additional taxes beyond those which are paid, normally, as part of the purchase price. In other words, buy something from, say, Germany, and the price you pay already includes German VAT and Duty. You don't pay any more than this.
     
  26. inbrednut

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    Ive just bought 3 seasons of trailer park boys from movietyme and was wondering will i have to pay customs on it?

    Ive never been in this situation so im kinda worried at the amount thats due as ive spent around 70 quid :lease:
     
  27. Indiana Jones

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    No you wont, Movietyme are a customs friendly company.
     
  28. Conn

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    They (Movietyme) repost from within the UK.
     
  29. danjaq

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    I am looking to buy West Wing Season 6 from Amazon - the price is $29.97 (£15.93) which is under the £18 limit - but then with the cheapest shipping - $6.98 (£3.71), the total equates to $36.95 or £19.64.

    Is the £18 threshold on the goods 'ex-shipping'? ... so Will I be stung is my question?

    Many thanks.
     
  30. Indiana Jones

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    If under £18 its excluding shipping.

    If the goods are greater than £18 though they include the cost of shipping when working out the charge.
     

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