Folksy Ltd

Posting outside the UK

I have always offered my paintings for posting worldwide and that has never been a problem (even though International sales are rare). My paintings just fit into an envelope.
However, I am now selling crocheted items as well and although I am quite happy to post outside the UK, I have seen some comments on social media about import tax/duties.
I cannot find any information about this and would not like customers to find themselves facing extra payments on delivery of an item.
Does anyone know anything about import duties? (NOT for me BUYING but for my customers receiving items sent from me here in the UK) (I live in hope).
I heard of one story where a lady posted an item to the US and the customer was horrified at the extra charge and sent it back demanding a refund.
If this is going to be a problem then I need to restrict my crochet to UK sales only.
Any help from you knowledgeable people would be appreciated.

I think people buying from outside their own country should be aware of the limit of the cost of goods they can buy without incurring duty. Here in the UK it is about £15 and I won’t buy anything from overseas that exceeds that amount without taking duty costs into account. I think most other countries are higher than that but I’m not sure. I notice many sellers put a disclaimer on their listing which states the buyer is responsible for any import duty/taxes. Just one point to bear in mind for customers returning items though - make sure you ask them to return the item in the original packing and mark it as a return otherwise you may find you are stung for import duty on the item being returned as I found out to my cost (£13worth!)

The value at which customs duties kick in varies from country to country and the rate at which duty is charged depends on the nature of the item (eg finished jewellery might incur a 20% duty whilst loose beads on incur 5% duty). Here in the UK we get a £15 allowance before we have to pay vat/ duty/ fees but in other countries it is much higher - I’ve sent jewellery to the states with an accurately declared value of £125 and the customer didn’t have to pay any duty. I tried to find out what the allowance is for people in the states and failed to find the answer and I’m not prepared to spend an equivalent amount of time attempting to find the answer for each non EU country so I’m now putting the cover all phrase stating that any duties/ fee are the buyers responsibility and that they should check with their local customs office for further info.

thank you both for those answers…it seems like a bit of a minefield and like a lot of things the answer seems to vary according to which person deals with your parcel… I think maybe a disclaimer might be a good idea.
Roz…that is quite scary…
I am thinking that maybe any larger items should be UK only and small items would probably be OK…

I think the only time this is really a problem is for the likes of Norway because they are outside the EU but still have similar/the same VAT rules. So unlike the EU countries VAT is payable on imports and their threshold is quite low.
I have looked up the limit for the US in the past and it was, as far as I remember, $200 - and I did read somewhere, maybe on these forums? that it had increased by quite a lot recently.

So I wouldn’t worry about it, it is far more of a problem for us importing stuff. I would still add the ‘customers are responsible for all import duties and taxes’ line to your policies but I’m not aware of it ever having been a problem for a customer of mine.


It’s the buyers responsibility to know their own countries import laws retaining to import fee’s and what they can legally import… But the seller needs to know if they are legally allowed to export to other countries as well. Because if an item it illegal to be imported into a country it is liable to be destroyed and will never reach your customer or be returned to you.

The Royal Mail website has a list of items that can’t be exported to certain countries.

Every country has their own tax import fee’s those are not your responsibility.

If you want you can send your buyer a message reminding them they are responsible for any of their countries import tax laws but it’s not a requirement just a friendly reminder.

As said if a overseas customer wishes to return an item you must tell them to put ‘Returned merchandise’ on their paperwork otherwise our’s will think the item is an import not a return and you will be charged. If that happens you have to fill in a form with all the evidence that it’s a return and you’ll get your tax back but not the £8 Royal Mail handling fee. Oh yes also ask them to return it with the original paperwork you sent it out with.

Hope that helps.

1 Like

I wouldn’t worry about it at all. A short disclaimer in your policies is all you need. Most other countries have relatively high thresholds before any taxes or duties kick in anyway. Don’t let the odd ‘horror story’ put you off shipping overseas. It’s unlikely to ever be a problem and it’s not your responsibility anyway.

Based on my own experience it’s a total non-issue. I’ve sent thousands of international packages to many different countries and have never had a single customer complain about being charged any additional fees, even on parcels (sent outside the EU) containing hundreds of £s worth of merchandise. It’s possible that some customers had to pay taxes or duties on their parcels but if they have then I’ve remained blissfully ignorant about the matter! :slight_smile:

1 Like

oh I forgot to say just make sure you fill in the export form thingie you get at the post office correctly ie make sure you call it merchandise not gift as that is illegal. And to put down the correct invoice value of the item as well.

Make sure the correct invoice is inside but be aware they should also be a copy on the outside of the parcel if it’s going to Germany.

1 Like

Thanks everyone…that is very useful and helpful.
Eileen…just another (maybe silly) question but when I take things that I have made to the post office and they ask me what its value is…do I tell them the face value…eg the cost of a piece of paper , paint and envelope…probably just pence…OR do I quote the selling price…maybe a lot more. For instance not wishing to mention any auction sites but items can get bid up to a higher price, so is it then worth more?..(technically?)
Example from crochet…I can make an item from one ball of yarn…say £2 for the yarn but sell it for £10…which price do I quote at the post office?..(after all the other £8 is for my time …and talent…ha ha)
Just wondered.

quote the price of the invoice total minus shipping/posting fees.

It’s your net invoice value as it is commercial rather than a personal gift.

Hope that helps Brenda

I’ve done export/import for a large computer company in one of my past lives. lol

Thank you Eileen (and everyone else) you are a great help…xx