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MattC

Posting to the UK

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Hello chaps.

Just thought I would flag this up as an issue for anyone sending items here to the UK from outside the EU.

When the package arrives in the UK and is transferred to our postal service, they use the postcode for the delivery and do not always look at the actual address.

Where this is an issue is in relation to duty being paid. The latest ruling is that all items sent here from outside the EU are subject to a 20% tax if the value of the item is greater than £18. The item will be held until the duty is paid.

The delivery agent is meant to send a letter to the recipient informing them that duty is required, but again, they only look at the postcode and building number for this.

What this means is that if you live in a flat or other multiple occupancy for one address (as in Flat X, 10 Whatnot Street, HS107GH) they simply look up the postcode and send it to any random address.

In my case, my flat is above a shop, and the requests for duty were sent to the shop, who simply threw the letters away.

UK Customs are now looking at virtually everything that comes into the UK, and whether the item is a gift or a purchase, are seeking duty on everything.

So, a word of advice to folks sending stuff here, to make sure that the actual address is written extremely clearly, to ensure that if a tax demand is sent, it goes to the right person, otherwise, the item will be sent back to the sender.

It may also be worth putting a value of less than £18 on the customs ticket, or, put on the ticket that the item is a gift, in which case, the threshold for duty rises to £40, so even if an item isn't a gift, if you claim it as a gift on the customs ticket, then you can claim a value up to £40 without duty being requested and this might speed it through the system without duty being payable.

Cheers

Matt

Edited by MattC

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Ahem. Asking someone to put a lower than actual value on an imported package to avoid paying tax on the item is fraud, and you could be prosecuted for it. If you get a lot of packages from overseas that hit the £18/£40 limit, you may well be visited by a nice man from HMRC....

Vince

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Also if your going to write the amount on it make clear what currency it is as they will just assumes its GBP, got a £20 vat bill for a testors SR-71 with used CE exhausts...

Jamie

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Just charter a jet and fly over here to make your purchases :) It'd be cheaper I bet...

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Asking someone to put a lower than actual value on an imported package to avoid paying tax on the item is fraud, and you could be prosecuted for it

Who decides what the actual value is? If I pay £18 + £10 postage for a kit, there's nothing anyone can do about it I would have thought, the whole amount is paid in one shot, who is to determine what the package is worth?

Just charter a jet and fly over here to make your purchases

Ah but I'd get stung bringing them back in, so I'd have to stay there...

Edited by MattC

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The VALUE of the item NOT the COST of the item!

The VALUE of the item is decided, the COST of the item is what was paid.

I love all these guys who preach about defrauding the TAX man... what a joke it looks like to most, and even those who comment to the contrary.

Oh and by the way, before you poo poo the idea about Cost and Value.

One of my cars is VALUED at about £2500..... it COST me about one third of its VALUE...

So if I was to apply the same reasoning to any other salable item, what do I put on the customs form, the COST or the VALUE?

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The VALUE of the item NOT the COST of the item!

The VALUE of the item is decided, the COST of the item is what was paid.

I love all these guys who preach about defrauding the TAX man... what a joke it looks like to most, and even those who comment to the contrary.

Oh and by the way, before you poo poo the idea about Cost and Value.

One of my cars is VALUED at about £2500..... it COST me about one third of its VALUE...

So if I was to apply the same reasoning to any other salable item, what do I put on the customs form, the COST or the VALUE?

Take a look at a customs declaration sticker next time you see one. They don't mention cost, only value. This is to prevent high value items being 'bought' at low cost and shipped around to avoid paying tax. What you paid for the item is irrelevent to HMRC, it's the value of the item that counts. 99% of the time the value and cost match, so the shipper puts the amount paid. The customs declaration sticker is there to initially aid the customs officer in assessing the likely taxable amount due.

So, for example, I could buy a work of art from the US valued at £1m but sold to me for only £18. I then could, in theory, get it into the UK without paying any tax at all, and then sell it on for £1m. However, should HMRC find out then I would be in line for a tax bill based on the value of the item when it was shipped to me, not what I paid for it. This is all tied up in legislation to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.

The chances of any of our model transactions falling foul of the regs is slight - but to specifically request that the shipper declares a lower value that the item is worth is still tax evasion, no matter how small the amounts are. There's nothing wrong with tax avoidance (such as buying two items that come to more than £18, but having them sent in two different packages to get below the threshold), but tax evasion is still a crime. And, whilst it's fine to deride those 'who preach about defrauding the TAX man', don't forget that those same taxes go towards paying for our armed services.

Vince

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I think I'm just going to break up the package next time, to avoid the 18 pound limit.

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I think I'm just going to break up the package next time, to avoid the 18 pound limit.

Given the postage from the US at the moment this might actually cost you more.

One small point it this is Value Added Tax being charged not Duty, and as such it is a Value you put on the form not the cost.

Julien

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It is up to the customer to provide the correct shipping information including an accurate postal code, especially for international addresses. Our USPS system over the years has collected address data and when you try to enter a mismatch it tells you about it. Most boils down to the zip+four as our system is highly automated.

Value: On orders I ship it is the purchase price of the items themselves which does not include shipping. Routinely I am asked to devalue or code items to prevent them getting attention from Customs at the destination. I've had to verify the value of the items shipped on more than one occasion...I simply refer the Customs official inquiring to my website which has pricing. That usually satisfies them.

Vendors such as myself regularly get complaints about the high costs of shipping and VAT fees...we have no control over neither especially the destination VAT and other related fees, yet it is our fault the receiver has to pay them. We don't even get a rebate!

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Is see.....So when you pay £800 for a Cutting Edge conversion on ebay its the value you write down....That is about £250 because that is what it cost when it was new.I know exactly what it says in the customs form, thats exactly my point, it is the VALUE that is enquired, not the COST.The VALUE of a cutting edge conversion to me is much less than the £800 some people paid for it.The system is, like it or not, in some ways open to interpretation, especially when regarding things like the OP is talking about.

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Also if your going to write the amount on it make clear what currency it is as they will just assumes its GBP, got a £20 vat bill for a testors SR-71 with used CE exhausts...

Jamie

And make sure the person sending the parcel writes clearly and within the spaces provided. A simple slip of the pen has cost me a few quid occasionally.

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It's been a while since I shipped something overseas but the (US) postal worker that helped me with the paperwork suggested that I put a 'replacement value' on the form.

They also said that a lower value helps prevent packages from getting slolen (lost) in addition to the recipient having to pay higher taxes.

I've also read that it is the recipients responsibility to claim the correct value if it is different from the paperwork and that the sender won't get in trouble if they put a lesser value.

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Given the postage from the US at the moment this might actually cost you more.

Yes, but it would cost the recipient less, and avoid the difficulty that initiated this topic.

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