Skip to main content

This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Posted Mon, 20 Nov 2023 17:22:00 GMT by
After much research on the topic I was of the opinion that if I, as a consumer was to import goods from the EU and the value was under £135 then the VAT would be paid to the retailer and that there would be no more to pay on import. I was also under the impression that in this case the value declared on the customs declaration forms would not include the cost of postage so if I bought an item for £130 and the postage was £25 giving a total cost of £155 the UK VAT would still be collected by the EU retailer who should then declare a value of £130 on the customs forms? I was also led to beleive that any company that wants to trade with UK consumers from the EU MUST register for UK VAT and collect the VAT due at point of sale for goods valued at under £135 and that this is mandatory and is not something companies can opt out of by choice? I ask these questions as I recently purchased an item from Slovakia which had a value of £120 but the retailer declared the value including postage which came to a total of £137 which then triggered an unexpected charge from DHL. In the past when I have purchased from the EU and the value has been above £135 the retailer has reduced the price by their countries VAT amount which I then paid on arrival of the goods. This current company that I am dealing with did no such thing so it looks like I am paying double VAT plus collection charges for this item. Can someone clarify if my understanding of the rules regarding consumer imports are correct please?
Posted Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:01:01 GMT by HMRC Admin 25
Hi Laura Curtis,
Customs value of the goods at the time of importation is determined by the value of the goods, postage, packaging, insurance and any duty you owe. You pay VAT when you buy the goods or to the delivery company before you receive them.
If you have to pay VAT to the delivery company, it’s charged on the total package value.
More information on thresholds explained in below link.
Tax and customs for goods sent from abroad
Thank you. 
Posted Fri, 24 Nov 2023 09:51:36 GMT by Customs oldtimer
Hi Laura Curtis There is a duty exemption for any goods whose value is less than £135. It is not specific to imports from the EU. As HMRC Admin has said the VAT is charged on the whole cost of the purchase including postage packaging etc. It may be that the retailer you purchased from has not registered for UK VAT as they should have and therefore not followed the correct procedure and included the UK VAT. That is a separate matter that you could report to the customs fraud line. Each retailer will have its own charging structure so you should always check their specific terms and conditions specifically on customs charges and importantly that they include the UK VAT in their prices. Nor can you assume that you are being charged both the retailers domestic VAT and UK VAT or that the retailer will deduct domestic VAT from the price you see. Some of the overseas retailers may already have different websites for different markets so the domestic VAT will not be included in the price they show. If you think you have been overcharged duty and vat then you can submit a reclaim request to HMRC or raise the issue with the courier who delivered you import. Given the large quantity of imports mistakes can happen. ( I do not work for HMRC so cannot add links)

You must be signed in to post in this forum.