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importing something from us - vat question


Distinguished Member

If I import something from the US that I'm not eligable to pay vat on what will happen and what charges will I need to pay?

If for instance the item costs £1500 and it cost me £300 to ship here what will my charges be? presumably they will charge vat by default and I'd have to reclaim it? There will be some other duty charge too will there?

It's a disabled hoist for an above ground spa and I can't seem to find one that is suitable in the uk and even with the huge shipping charges it would still be cheaper than uk prices even if I could find a suitable one.

It's my understanding that I don't need to pay VAT on a product that I only need due to my disability.

Thanks for any help

Edit - Sorry not sure how I accidently got an angry smily next to the thread title, fixed to something better now :smashin:
Last edited:


Distinguished Member
Actually think I've found the answer for myself, sorry for any trouble

Imported goods for disabled people
You can import certain goods into the UK without paying VAT or duty, as long as they're for your own domestic or personal use.

Goods imported by post
If the goods are being sent to you by post, ask the sender to write clearly on the package and its accompanying customs declaration:
HMRC may send you a form to fill in and complete, together with a declaration. If the package isn't properly marked you may have to pay duty and VAT. If that happens, write to customs at the postal depot where the charges were raised, enclosing your original NIRU certificate, the VAT declaration and the document showing the charges. Explain what happened and if they're satisfied that you don't need to pay duty and VAT on the goods, they'll repay them to you.

Solomon Grundy

Distinguished Member
I'm not an expert in this area but the item may also have a tariff code which exempts it from VAT as it enters the UK...?


Active Member
I'd still price in paying of vat/customs duty or whatever. I remember taking a delivery of printed goods (which if I remember rightly were zero rated). When DHL turned up at the door they demanded the fees they had to pay at customs or else they wouldn't hand it over. Rightly or wrongly the goods had attracted charges, but when the courier "pays" these charges there is not much you can do when they turn up requesting payment.

To minimise charges make sure the goods are correctly identified along with supporting customs paperwork.

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