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Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Old Dec 18th 2007, 2:30 pm
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Default Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Hello All,

I have some gifts to post back home to my family for xmas and was wondering what the best way to send them would be without incurring lots charges on their end in the UK from customs. I took a look at the HM revenue and customs website and cant fathom out how it all works! Any advice much appreciated!
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by Peacefulove View Post
Hello All,

I have some gifts to post back home to my family for xmas and was wondering what the best way to send them would be without incurring lots charges on their end in the UK from customs. I took a look at the HM revenue and customs website and cant fathom out how it all works! Any advice much appreciated!
Complete the US customs form accordingly when shipping the item(s). There's a box for "gifts" so this means the recipient won't incur duty.

I mailed a bunch of Christmas gifts to the UK and all had the "gift" box checked on the customs form.

PS: you're leaving it a bit late, aren't you? If you're sending stuff by USPS, you should use the International Priority option but I'm not confident at this late date that items will be delivered before Christmas.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Yes it is rather late i know! Couldn't decide what to get everyone! .....I'm sending express so fingers crossed will get there in time. I was wondering, previously husband had sent me over a Nintendo DS nearly year ago from the US to the UK when I was living there for valentines day and I ended up having to pay 35 pounds charges in taxes even though he had marked the item as a gift! Most of the stuff im sending is cosmetics, purses and clothing the only single more expensive item is an ipod shuffle.....
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

I believe gifts are exempt from import VAT, but not customs duty.
A gift to my daughter via USPS/Royal Mail was charged import duty last year, even though clearly marked as a gift, with additional description "Birthday Gift".
This year I sent a new laptop. I declared the contents as the Apple retail part number (something like M8437/A) and value as $0 no commercial value; I shipped it DHL international and it arrived without expense.


http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...ument#P53_4320


Also this section states:
Please note the purchase of 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).

Originally Posted by NC Penguin View Post
Complete the US customs form accordingly when shipping the item(s). There's a box for "gifts" so this means the recipient won't incur duty.

I mailed a bunch of Christmas gifts to the UK and all had the "gift" box checked on the customs form.

PS: you're leaving it a bit late, aren't you? If you're sending stuff by USPS, you should use the International Priority option but I'm not confident at this late date that items will be delivered before Christmas.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by NC Penguin View Post
PS: you're leaving it a bit late, aren't you? If you're sending stuff by USPS, you should use the International Priority option but I'm not confident at this late date that items will be delivered before Christmas.
They can be, but it'll cost about four times as much...
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

I have looked into fedex, dhl and ups and all too costly for me. Illl be sending everything via US Postal Service. I was wondering if i took the items out of the packaging and took tags off if they would then appear to be used items that were just being sent from one person to another and no charges would be added at the UK end?
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by Pony View Post
I believe gifts are exempt from import VAT, but not customs duty.
A gift to my daughter via USPS/Royal Mail was charged import duty last year, even though clearly marked as a gift, with additional description "Birthday Gift".
This year I sent a new laptop. I declared the contents as the Apple retail part number (something like M8437/A) and value as $0 no commercial value; I shipped it DHL international and it arrived without expense.


http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...ument#P53_4320


Also this section states:
Please note the purchase of 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).
You were a bit naughty to declare the laptop as nil commercial value, especially since you rightly noted it was an Apple product. The laptop definitely had a a commercial value and you should have declared an amount.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by Pony View Post
I believe gifts are exempt from import VAT, but not customs duty.
A gift to my daughter via USPS/Royal Mail was charged import duty last year, even though clearly marked as a gift, with additional description "Birthday Gift".
This year I sent a new laptop. I declared the contents as the Apple retail part number (something like M8437/A) and value as $0 no commercial value; I shipped it DHL international and it arrived without expense.


http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...ument#P53_4320


Also this section states:
Please note the purchase of 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).
Section 2.4 refers to import duty and import VAT not being applied for various reasons including "the customs declaration is completed correctly". I always complete the customs declaration fully even though it is a complete pain in the backside when there's insufficient space to list even groups of items....

I have sent many packages outside the US since moving here and no recipient has ever been charged either import duty and/or import VAT.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Thanks for all the advice. I have a much clearer idea on how it works now and will be sending everything tomorrow
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by NC Penguin View Post
You were a bit naughty to declare the laptop as nil commercial value, especially since you rightly noted it was an Apple product. The laptop definitely had a a commercial value and you should have declared an amount.
Amount of people asking for people declare amazon/ebay sales as gifts means he's hardly the first nor likely to get strife for it.

Didn't some company in the US get busted for getting the postal loop hole, they were sending nuts/bolts/screws etc to the US army, they couldn't over charge for the product but there wasn't a postal limit, what tipped them, $960K postage fee for 2 washers.....they managed to skim something like $22M that way.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Originally Posted by NC Penguin View Post
I have sent many packages outside the US since moving here and no recipient has ever been charged either import duty and/or import VAT.
Neither have I, and I've sent gifts labelled birthday present/x-mas present etc. It's all hit and miss and a bit of luck if they bother to randomly check the package out.
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Old Dec 18th 2007, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Hmm. Best thing to do in all honesty is not worry about it in the slightest. Have done it hundreds of times without giving it a second thought, never a problem.

Irresponsible answer maybe, but sometimes these forums do have a tendancy to breed paranoia.
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Old Dec 19th 2007, 12:25 am
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

Because of the exchange rate at the moment customs are targeting more packages from the US. Even if you fill out as gift they can charge duty - especially if you have undervalued. The only time a recipient has ever been stung was when i shipped a PS3 this time last year!
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Old Dec 19th 2007, 4:12 am
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

On the last occasion the recipient was 'carded' (the package was not left, but a Royal Mail card was left instead) and told to collect the package from the local post office - after paying the duty.

I am no expert on this and can only offer my personal experience. My ex-wife could squeeze blood from a stone; if she didn't have to pay, then she wouldn't have done so The card was completed correctly, and in full - even detailing the birthday card as one of the line items. Maybe Royal Mail Lancashire are blood sucking leeches
I'd be interested to know if anyone else has been charged duty by the Royal Mail , I am feeling victimized

Originally Posted by NC Penguin View Post
I have sent many packages outside the US since moving here and no recipient has ever been charged either import duty and/or import VAT.
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Old Dec 20th 2007, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Tax question on gifts posted back to UK

i was sent some computer disks from a US company. It went via UPS. Months after the delivery I got a letter from UPS stating they had neglected to charge me for the import duty and asking for about 25 quid. So dont assume you got away with it totally like i did!
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