Folksy Ltd

VAT and Customs Duty

Wondered if anyone can help. I have bought items from overseas before but never to any great value - usually under £10 so have never had to worry about tax and duty to be paid. As far as I can work out if I was to order anything higher in value I would need to pay 20% VAT on anything over £15 and 2.5% customs duty on items over £135.

Has anyone got any experience of this - have I got the figures right or have I missed something. I have no objection to paying the taxes but don’t want to be landed with an unexpected bill. Also how are the taxes paid?

Thanks in advance

Yep, that’s correct. Anything over £15 in value purchased from outside the EU requires payment of the VAT at 20%. There is also an admin charge which varies depending on who the postal provider is. Royal Mail’s charge is £8, couriers can be more expensive. So essentially, for anything over £15 from outside the EU, you’re looking at a minimum fee of £11 … it’s a bit of a bummer!

You’ll be required to pay the charges before your package is delivered. In the case of RM they will let you know via a card in the post. This tells you how much you need to pay and how to pay it. You can either pay online or at your local delivery or post office (where the parcel is being held).

And beware of sellers outside the EU who make false statements on their customs forms and say the item is either under the threshold amount or lie about what’s in the parcel.

When these parcels get caught not only the Exporter (seller) will be liable for fines but so is the Importer (buyer). So the poor buyer can end up getting into trouble as well through no fault of their own making. Oh and the more you import the more the customs people check your packages and they do ‘spot checks’ ie they open packages.