How are customs duties and import fees calculated in the UK?
When buying goods from outside the European Union, there are certain customs duties and import taxes shoppers must pay to UK Customs in order to have the goods released into the country.
A vast majority of shipments are subject to UK Duty and VAT which remain irritating mysteries to many shoppers. UK Duties and VAT are controlled by HM Revenue and Customs
and are paid directly to them. The purpose of these fees is to bring the cost of imported goods up to the same cost as those produced within the EU in order to keep competition fair.
How is UK Duty calculated?
UK Duty is dependent on the declared value of the goods and the type of product you are importing. Each product is given a different duty rating. To work out the UK Duty on your product, we recommend visiting the
How is VAT calculated?
VAT is not based on the shipping price, but rather on the taxable import. This includes the amount that you pay for your goods, plus the shipping cost and the UK Duty. To put it simply, you pay VAT on everything that it costs for you to buy the goods and get them to the UK.
When shopping with Big Apple Buddy, the team prepares all the necessary customs documentation, and submits them electronically to expedite the customs clearance process so customers rarely encounter customs delays.
For a mobile phone, for example, the customs duties are estimated to be 0% and the sales tax is estimated to be 20%. The same estimates apply for a laptop. For an activity tracker with Bluetooth (such as a Microsoft Band 2
or Garmin Vivoactive HR
), the estimates are 4% customs duties and 20% sales tax. Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and the actual rates may differ.
When buying products shipped by FedEx, DHL or UPS, the shipping company will contact you via phone or email regarding duties and taxes once the parcel is in transit. Once the charges have been settled, the shipping carrier will complete delivery of your goods. Duties and taxes are paid directly to the shipping carrier or the customs office in your country.
If you’d like to learn more about custom duties and import fees, here are some resources recommended for UK shoppers:
- Duty Calculator – www.dutycalculator.com
- Fedex - www.fedex.com/gb/dutyandtax
- DHL - www.dhl.co.uk/en/express/customs_support/duties_taxes.html
- UPS - www.ups.com/content/gb/en/shipping/cost/additional.html
- UK Customs Office - www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad/overview
ABOUT BIG APPLE BUDDY
Big Apple Buddy is a New York based e-commerce company, founded by two former Australian corporate lawyers. Our shopping concierge service helps consumers around the world buy the latest tech products from the USA.
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