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Guest Birdiesinoz

Beware when sending gifts to the uk! Customs charge fees - robbing thieves

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Guest Birdiesinoz

Hi All

 

I am not sure if people are aware of the charges by customs in the UK for gifts sent to family and friends.

 

I have lived here for 6 years and posted (as you may imagine) many presents over this time. The last few i have been late sending so used Express Courier International. This is a 'quick' service which has proved to be a joke! They are suppised to take around 3 working days, each one i have sent has taken at least 2 weeks! They get held up at the sorting office, then when tracking it states 'delivery attempted' NO CARD IS LEFT, then when they do deliver they take to to any neighbour who happens to be in and get them to sign for it! Very secure NOT!!!!

 

Anyway, i paid $80 to send my sisters 50th birthday presents on 1 October, they got held in customs and she has had to pay VAT and clearance fees on her present. Apparently these fees have always been there (even though there have never been charges before), so i have checked into this, after speakng with a 'stroppy Essex Girl' at Romford ( and i am from Essex so this is not a dig), who told me to call customs and then calling customs 10 times (from Brisbane at 11.41pm so i am tired and feeling stroppy) only to be constantly cut off as soon as the call goes through - i can hear them talking to each other!!!!! :arghh: I have found the following:

 

2.3 What are the limits for customs duty and import VAT?

 

 

 

  • Commercial consignments of £18 or less are free from customs duty and import VAT. For example, goods purchased over the internet with an intrinsic value not exceeding £18, will not be charged any duty or VAT but this does not include alcohol, tobacco products, perfume or toilet waters, see paragraph 2.5, 2.6 and section 3.
  • If you are sent a gift with a value of £36 or less, and which complies ,with the rules shown in paragraph 2.4. it will be free from customs duty and import VAT, but this does not include alcohol, tobacco, perfumes and toilet waters.
  • Customs duty becomes payable if the value of the goods is over £120 but duty is waived if the amount of duty calculated is less than £7.

 

There are a number of other circumstances where relief from some or all customs charges may be available. If you think your goods may be eligible for a relief you should contact the Helpline for further information.

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2.4 Gifts

 

Goods sent as a gift that are over £36 in value are liable to import VAT. Customs duty also becomes payable if the value of the goods is over £120 but is waived if the amount of duty calculated is less than £7.

To qualify as a gift:

 

 

  • the customs declaration must be completed correctly
  • the gift must be sent from a private person outside the EU to a private person(s) in this country
  • there is no commercial or trade element and the gift has not been paid for either directly or indirectly
  • the gift is of an occasional nature only, for example, for a birthday or anniversary.

 

Please note if you purchase goods from outside the EU to give as a gift to a relative or friend, whether or not addressed to that person, is treated as a ‘commercial consignment’ for which the import VAT relief threshold is £18 (paragraph 2.3 refers).

top ^

2.5 Do gifts of alcohol and tobacco products qualify for relief from import duties and import VAT?

 

NO. Excise duty is payable on all alcohol and tobacco products regardless of whether they are a gift.

Oh, and to top it all, she arrives here on Monday for a 3 week holiday so i should have just held them till she arrived!

 

So, in future i will be sending several small parcels, all under 18 pounds in value or otherwise just lie about the value!!

 

Rant over

 

Cheryl

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I don't know if it helps, but my fiance is in Canberra and I'm in Edinburgh waiting on my visa application being processed/granted but my fiance usually finds websites in the UK and buys through that method to send me things......he says it's less postage to do it that way


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Guest shawgorbys

my sisterlaw was 60 the other day and all her family are in adelade and they sent her a lovly gold bracelet over which cost them a small fortune and when sisinlaw got her pressy she had to pay £75 costs ouch so an expensive pressy so be aware xxandrea&family

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Guest clatterbucket

I too am furious.I have just received a reminder to pay £92.54 on Christmas presents I received from sister-in-law in Canberra.............I am so angry. Why should I have to pay for gifts sent to me that I didn't ask for? I was not told when they handed the parcel over on the doorstep that I would receive an invoice, I should have had the choice to say no thanks, take them back. I have been told it's because each item must be under a certain value but that's not my fault now is it. Will not take this lying down lol! Thanks for the info.

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Guest

It's crappy.

 

It's always worth remembering to order for the UK from UK sites so avoiding postage costs and taxes. We always get family to order from Aus using UK sites to get round this. Set up wish lists on Amazon so people can choose from a list of things we'd like. If its more pricey they can use other sites. We had some hampers, Christmas pressies and more from family and friends in Aus, all ordered from the UK.

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Amazon and the like are fabulous - not only do you avoid the VAT problem (cos you're already paying it in the price) you don't have to remember to do it as early.

 

And I don't think I've ever remembered to send a present early enough for it to get there in time!!


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Just use a UK website or send cash or lie about the value. It is pretty crap but you can blame the UK government AND the EU for that. At least in Oz you can buy stuff abroad up to $1000 before you have to pay duty etc.

 

If you buy things from the UK or EU to go to Australia remember that VAT does not apply and should not be charged. Some sites I've been on still charge VAT when they shouldn't so I avoid using them.

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Guest Guest31881

I no longer send gifts to the UK as the import duty threshold is something stupid like about £15, reduced from £18. I use online shopping such as Argos and M&S to send gifts to my family in the UK.

 

A few months ago we had a member make her daughters Bridesmaid dresses to save her daughter having to buy them, The daughter was hit with a very big bill for importing the dresses and tried to explain that they were gifts but it made no difference. Be very careful when sending items to the UK, The import threshold is only £15 per parcel and sending individual parcels would cost a fortune in postage from Australia.

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If the fees have never been charged before. it may well be that this is one of the "revenue raising" practices now being rigidly applied due to economic pressures in the UK

 

Like Bogan bear says, no fees are applied in OZ unless over $1000 in value. I recently bought some camera gear from Hong Kong and although the postage was extraordinarily high, the cost of the gear was over 30% less than buying in Australia. The shipment arrived in three seperate packages each costed as less than $1000. The wily sellers (and self unwittingly) had beaten the $1000 clause and it was only then that I realised why the postage quoted at the "shopping basket" was so high........they had already sussed a way to beat Oz rules..............to the customer's benefit, and theirs.


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Guest Guest31881
If the fees have never been charged before. it may well be that this is one of the "revenue raising" practices now being rigidly applied due to economic pressures in the UK

 

 

 

The fees have always been there, but I do not think they were rigorously applied, now the UK government have lowered the fee to £15 from £18 they seem to be enforcing the rule on everything. More money for the government.

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I worked for The Aussie Customs Service a few years back and there was a regular flow of outraged people coming in demanding to know why they were charged duty on presents they sent from Italy - Murano Glass - UK - Wedgewood - Ireland - Waterford Crystal - etc. Some of those companies would pack goods up separate parcels to post back to OZ - did not matter as we soon put them all together.

 

Every country charges customs duties - that's the way it is.

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Guest Guest31881

Just been digging around on the Customs site for the UK and found that gifts are allowed up to the value of £40 (approx $58), the goods have to be marked as gifts on the customs form. this is not in the main table about imports, just happened to find it in a small paragraph......

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I.ve just had a look at the Australian Customs website http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page5549.asp#Calculating. If you import goods over $1000 you are charged duty at 5% and GST n the cost of the goods and shipping and duty so make sure your goods are under $1000 and if they can be split up into smaller parcels, make sure they are not sent at the same time as they may consider them to be one lot of goods. Sending/ordering them a week apart might be a good idea. $1000 is about 680 pounds

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We just got stung £36 for a gift my mum sent my Daughter. not best pleased and its the first time in 12 years it has happened to us.


made the move, living the dream, happy families and happy days ....

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Guest guest66832

I know this isn't the same thing but when I returned from Oz the last time, I had a bottle of wine taken off me at customs that I had purchased in one of the shops at the airport. It was going to be a gift for my parents but it exceeded the liquid limit for taking on board in hand luggage. It just never occurred to me that this would be taken off me and so it woud seem it didn't occur to a lot of other people passing through security. One elderley man had a rather expensive bottle of whisky taken off him and there were other people falling foul of the same thing. Once through the security screen I wasn't allowed to go back out into the airport so I had no choice but to hand it over to customs.

 

I understand why it was done and it won't happen to me again but I was annoyed at the time.

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so are we not supposed to send small gifts to our families? 2 shirts to Uk for mothers day have just cost my sister 18.75 to collect

I paid $60 to buy them, $17.00 to post them. It's a joke

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Like others have said, M&S, ASOS etc is your new best friend. My mum is always pleased as punch to receive gifts from M&S. Quite honestly, I've never found anything in Australia that I want to send back to the UK, or that isn't better value when purchased from a UK site and delivered to the recipient directly.

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so are we not supposed to send small gifts to our families? 2 shirts to Uk for mothers day have just cost my sister 18.75 to collect

I paid $60 to buy them, $17.00 to post them. It's a joke

 

As above. UK HMRC have got really hot on it, I think it's driven by the amount of people buying stuff cheap online from the US and shipping it. Just not worth it any more

 

Order online from the UK and get it delivered. Pointless sending anything from here these days

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Never had anyone charged in UK to receive gifts from me - as someone else said you must tick the box that says gift on the customs declaration or there will be a charge - This is not new - it has always has always been like this.

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Guest chris955

I have never been charged in the past and never heard of anyone receiving anything from us being charged. It can be the luck of the draw sometimes. As has been said it is just too easy to order withing the UK now anyway.

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Hi all, this is my 1st post

 

The UK have only been hot on it since 2012, we got stung on this last year from a box full of gifts for numerous friends and family from my sister in Brisbane.

 

She filled out one customs declaration with the value of all the goods listed on it.

This was taken that the goods were all for one person.

 

The limit for gifts is now £36 with customs duty > £135.

 

If she fills out 3 customs declarations for the 3 recipients and puts the 3 items (under £36) inside all wrapped and labelled differently then referring to UK HMRC regulations paragraph 2.7 on multi- gift packages it's my understanding that there should be no VAT, provided that the postage and insurance does not bring the value of each item above £36. Now the question is, how does the value of the postage get allocated to each item if they are all in the same package? If it's split evenly can you put extra light weight goods of little value in to spread the postage per item cost out more?

 

Edit: I just reread the regulation for about the 7th time, it appears that the £36 per person is for duty, but it's still £36 per package for VAT. Damn it.

Edited by Carver
Update

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I have been stung by UK customs many times when buying 2nd hand records from USA etc. I have argued that they are 2nd hand therefore have already had local tax applied, they are 2nd hand and therefore should not be valued as new (even though their value is much higher) and asked tax be applied against price paid. No joy, always just end up paying and leaving feeling very sore!

 

Money making and anti competitive!


Thames Migration appointed Jun 12 and 189 Visa granted Jan 13:wink:. Landed Sep 14 and roots being quickly established. Brisbane, what an amazing place with incredible opportunity.

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Yep, we were caught out as well. My poor Best Friend had to pay 32GBP, for the priveledge of collecting her Birthday pressie from the post office, due to customs charges, and that was ticking the box that said "Gift"

The goods were valued at about 35GBP, so it was a sickner.

Obviously I sent her the money,but its very annoying, and very costly.

I dont send any pressies now, I just buy online from a British store and get the goods delievered.Most will even gift wrap, which is nice.

Thorntons have been great , I have had some lovely boxes of gift wrapped choccies sent for birthday and Christmas pressies

Even if you dont get clobbered by customs charges in the UK, the Aussie post prices are crazy anyway now, so I just wont do it anymore.

Edited by Sapphire
added text

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Sent my daughter 3 pairs of uggs one adult pair for her a child's pair for my grandson and a pair of baby boots. Parcel was clearly marked as a gift but she got charged 140 gbp. I phoned to ask why and was told that as the boots were not wrapped and labelled seperately they could not be classed as a gift. I also why I was being charged vat on children's items which are vat free to be told that's standard and we could claim that element back but it takes six months to process!

 

Learnt my lesson that's for sure.


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