Importing to the UK from outside Europe

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I've seen so many sellers from China, Hong Kong and the USA trying to sell items to people in Europe for ridiculous prices that I've decided to write this guide for both buyers and sellers.

Most items imported to the UK or Europe can be subject to import duty and VAT. Some ebayers do label their items as gifts on the misunderstanding that this will exclude them completely from duty, this is not the case since customs does check items now and again and gifts sometimes still have duty paid on them.  Although there are a few things you can legally do to reduce duty.

First thing is make sure your item is clearly documented using the same descriptions that customs use, these can be found at by searching for TARIC on google.   Just describing your item slightly different can result in the item being charged incorrectly at 100% duty instead of 0%.

Next thing is make sure you use a postal service in your country that will result in the item being delivered in the UK by the Royal Mail.  Royal Mail charge at the point of delivery were as some couriers send a invoice later.  Also a item sold on eBay under £18 most of the time will not be charged duty or VAT when delivered by Royal Mail and Gifts won't be charged up to £36.  Whereas some couriers will invoice import duty and VAT on items far less than this and since this can be up to three months later this can suddenly make that barging far more expensive!

Sellers to get a idea what price to set for your item search eBay completed items for prices of items that have sold in the UK, there's no port in selling your item for £10 cheaper if import duty and VAT is going to add another £50 to the cost!  Search on comparison sites like nextag, shopping, kelkoo, pricerunner and pricegraber to name a few.  Next check at the TARIAC website for the import duty then divide by import duty stated and then 1.175 (divide by this to work out price on most items without UK VAT)

Hopefully these guidelines should help but you should also take into account that sometimes items won't always be charged correctly by customs and that sometimes the retail value of a item in the UK can often drop vastly over just a couple of months!




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