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Thread: uk import tax

  1. #1

    Default uk import tax

    Has anyone bought new frags from the US over the internet
    I`m wanting to order some frags and samples but I`m not sure about import taxes and custom charges. Will only be spending $85
    thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Manchester, UK

    Default Re: uk import tax

    It really depends on whether customs decide to charge you. I've only ever been stung by them twice and both those times they were art materials and were quite big packages and about $150 in value. Technically speaking they can charge you if they bother. It's just whether you want to rake the risk but if they charge you it depends what classification it comes under and then they charge VAT and some kind of import tax I think but the VAT is the main charge. For fragrances they've never bothered me and I've had stuff come from USA and Canada without any problems from parfumebay, ebay, fragrancehut etc. I've noticed these charges may come if you ship by FedEx or UPS rather than USPS (us postal service). Infact once UPS or FedEx (cant remember which) sent me a baliffs letter because I didnt' pay their fees. Not surprising considering they never sent me a bill so I never knew of any charges (that was for art supplies) Its whether you want to take the risk.


  3. #3

    Default Re: uk import tax


    Found this link. Appears that you can import up to pounds 36 worth of goods without any import duties, but over that, it'll be subject to 3.5% customs and 17.5% VAT. I suggest you have it labelled as a gift, and have the sender set the value to 50$, that way, you should be safe.

    Another helpful link would be


  4. #4

    Default Re: uk import tax

    Thanks for the advice,think I will give it a try and see what happens.

  5. #5

    Unhappy Re: uk import tax

    hi if you import anything over the value of £18.00 from non eec countries you can get hit with charges of vat and a handling charge of around £4.00 from the post office at mount pleasant,a lot of american firms know the score and label the box with things like bathroom products but rest assured if the word fragrance or perfume is on the outside of the box the vultures at mount pleasant will be on it like a flash and as i work for royal mail even in our medium sized office i've seen plenty of victims in the to be surcharged bag that arrives daily.

  6. #6

    Default Re: uk import tax

    What Fenton T Fox says is correct anything over £18 from non EEC country. You get charged the duty and the as has been said the PO charge their handling fee for collecting on behalf of the Customs.

    Never ever mark anything as fragrance or perfume! I tried to post samples to a friend and was told at the PO is was not allowed to post fragrance through the post!!!!! I now mark as cosmetics.
    Always mark as gift but even then if over a certain amount you will be charged duty,this happened to a friend!

    It is just the luck of the draw whether you will get caught or not.

  7. #7
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Cambridge, MA

    Default Re: uk EXport tax

    I have the opposite question: When ordering something from the UK to be shipped ot the US, I still have to pay VAT, right?

  8. #8

    Default Re: uk import tax

    Why, not one and a half months ago I asked Her Majesty's Customs and Excise a similar question! Here's the reply:

    "Dear Sir

    Thank you for your letter dated 16 July 2006 concerning proposed importation of cologne from the U S A.

    Most goods imported from outside the European Union are chargeable with both Duty and VAT. This applies whether the goods are new, second hand, imported by a company or by a private person. There are small concessions for cologne hand carried in baggage by passengers but these do not apply to cologne sent in commercially.

    I suggest as a first step that you obtain a Tariff Classification for the cologne.The quickest way to obtain a Tariff Classification is to phone the Southend Tariff Classification Help Line (01702 366077). A Duty rate would then have to be obtained from the National Advice Service (0845 010 9000).

    Duty is calculated on price paid for the cologne plus Insurance plus Freight (CIF) i.e. the cost of the goods plus any charges payable to bring the goods to this country). VAT is based on CIF plus Duty multiplied by 17.5%. Both charges must be paid before the goods can be Custom cleared.


    There are three ways of obtaining Customs clearance.

    1. Using an International carrier such as DHL or FEDEX who will deliver door to door and usually invoice you afterwards for the Duty and VAT plus a fee for their services. If you choose to use a carrier I suggest you ascertain their fees before any goods are imported.

    2. Using a Shipping and Forwarding Agent. An agent should be used if goods are only shipped to the port. Agents are shown in Yellow Pages of most ports and airports under Shipping and Forwarding Agents. They are also available on the Internet under Yell.Com.The local yellow pages shows a number of Southampton Shipping and Forwarding Agents.

    3. Imports by parcel post. If the goods are imported by post, the examining officer at the postal depot will raise the charges which will be collected by the postman when the parcel is delivered. He will also collect a post office clearance fee at the same time. For postal importations the postage will be used as the freight for the purposes of assessing charges. Public Notice 143 gives more information on postal imports. All public notices are available from the Customs website

    I must emphasise that the advice given is based on the information you have supplied if the nature of the transaction changes in technical detail or the relevant details provided were incomplete or incorrect we will not be bound by this ruling.

    Yours faithfully

    I Patterson
    International Trade"

    So basically, get them sent over by normal parcel post and make sure you're friends with the guy who runs your local post depot

  9. #9

    Default Re: uk import tax

    Thanks for all for the info.
    Will just have to wait and see what happens,the costs will determine wether I order from outside the EU again.It`s just that frags are cheaper in the state
    which is a big incentive, and one I`m finding hard to resist.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Manchester, UK

    Default Re: uk import tax

    Yes its the luck of the draw but like I say they generally look for larger heavier expensive packages, especially those sent by the faster couriers. There are tons of packages come in every day and they do not have time to slap charges on all of them. I've never had any charges for fragrance orders but hey if I suddenly disappear from here one day I might have been arrested for tax evasion.


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