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  1. #1

    Customs Charges Questions

    Well a day doesn't seem to go by without this question being asked. I reckon the following details should be stickied up and placed in the Q&A board.

    Duty and VAT must be paid on all items with a declared value over a set limit will be taxed.
    For merchandise the limit is ?18
    For items marked as gift it's ?35

    To work out how much you will have to pay please follow the steps below:

    [NB: Purchase Price Abroad (PPA) = cost (inc. any local Sales Taxes) + postage, packing and/or freight + insurance]

    1. Look up the item?s Duty Rate % and VAT %.
    2. Multiply the Purchase Price Abroad (PPA) by the Duty Rate %. This gives you the amount of Duty to be paid. Call this AMOUNT A.
    3. Add AMOUNT A to the PPA and multiply the result by the VAT %. This will give you the amount of VAT to be paid. Call this AMOUNT B.
    4. Add AMOUNTS A & B together and that will be how much you have to pay.

    For example:

    You have to pay duty & VAT on some Compact Discs. The total cost of these CDs was ?100 sterling. Following the steps above:

    1. The Duty Rate is 3.5% and VAT is 17.5%.
    2. ?100 x 3.5% = ?3.50. This is AMOUNT A.
    3. ?100 + ?3.50 = ?103.50 x 17.5% = ?18.11. This is AMOUNT B.
    4. ?3.50 + ?18.11 = ?21.61.

    You would pay a total of ?21.61.

    The duty rate for games is the same as CD's- 3.5%.
    For the duty rate of other items check here and download the PDF with all the rates.

    On top of that amount you will have to pay an admin fee. This is dressed up as many different things but amount to the same thing- the postal agents fees for getting it through customs in the 1st place. The cost varies from each agent:

    Royal Mail charge ?4
    Parcel Force charge ?8
    Parcel Force with EMS ?13.50
    UPS charge ?11

    If people can add the admin charges that the likes of TNT, UPS etc charge then that would be great.
    Last edited by bowser123; 06-03-2005 at 08:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Er, where do you get your information?

    Allowance from the US to the UK (where most people import from) is about $60 or ?30.

    I have ordered many PC titles from and only ever paid tax on one item that totalled ?100. That tax was ?20. Other items that have cost in excess of ?20 when converted from US dollars to UK pounds have been tax free.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Daragon
    Er, where do you get your information?
    he is taking the stance that all items are merchandise

    and that value is ?18, gift value is around ?35

    even if you ask it to be marked as a gift, if customs believe that you have paid a penny for it, its no longer a gift its merchandise

    weird thing is recently my parcels from play asia have had a $60+ value marked on them and i havent been charged

    even one of my PSP's had a value of 30,000jpy (?148) and parcel force never charged me

    either they cant be bothered checking conversion rates or i've been very lucky

    if you go on holiday you are allowed something like ?125 in your suitcase - why cant it be the same with imported parcels

  4. #4
    Well I looked it all up on Customs and Excise after I was charged ?7.50 on two occassions this week after my DVD's we're declared at $35. Yep, taxed for ?18.50 worth of stuff. 90% of that text is cut and pasted from what C&E said. The people at Mount Doom said the same.

    I think certain sites packages are targetted ahead of others or it's just luck why Buster got away with it this time and I got caught on stuff 50p over the limit.

    What Buster said is also right.
    ?18 is the threshold for merchandise, ie stuff you've bought.
    ?35 is the threshold for gifts.

    BTW, C&E also don't use the same currency conversion as say
    They set their own rates at the start of the month, which can be found on their site. It's currently $1.86 to the ?1 they use, which is less than the $1.91 published on XE. I queried this as the currency value fluctuates, meaning there's a chance my packages weren't over ?18 when caught. They didn't have any of this argument.
    Last edited by bowser123; 26-02-2005 at 12:07 PM.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bowser123
    If people can add the admin charges that the likes of TNT, UPS etc charge then that would be great.
    UPS = ?11.00

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Great idea...I was getting pretty tired of all the customs questions.

  9. #9
    Where can you find out the rates that C&E are using currently?

  10. #10


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