What are Duties and Taxes?
Shipper’s Guide to Duties and Taxes
|Who is Responsible for Payment?|
|Taxation Across Borders|
Receiver’s Guide to Duties and Taxes
|What goods are subject to Duty and VAT?|
|Who is liable to pay Duty and VAT charges?|
The person receiving the shipment is legally obliged to pay Duty and VAT unless the sender has agreed to accept these charges in the contract of sale.
Learn your responsibilities! HMRC advice for goods sent from abroad
|Customs Duty, Excise Duty and VAT Explained|
|Goods Purchased Online for Personal Use|
Duties and taxes may not be included in the price of the goods you purchase online, and therefore might not be included in the overall shipping costs you pay to the online retailer. Check retailers’ websites as to whether purchase prices already included duties and taxes.
When purchasing goods online, some or all of these goods may not originate in the country you reside in, therefore are subject to a customs duty and/or taxes, which is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders.
When goods are not shipped domestically (within your country) or within a single customs union, such as the European Union, you are liable to pay any inbound duties, taxes and other fiscal charges which your local customs authority deems appropriate and as mandated within the legislative framework in the country of import.
To ensure the DHL courier can deliver your goods in shortest possible time after entering your country or customs union, DHL pays the customs authority on your behalf for any duties and taxes that are due on the goods (and charges you).
DHL will typically notify you about payment of duties and taxes (to DHL), such as send a link to pay online. Prompt online payment ensures the smooth delivery of your shipment.
What is payable, if anything, depends on where the goods are sent from, the type of goods, their transactional value and the weight of the package, and other costs that the customs authority determines must be added to the value of your shipment for such calculations.
When buying goods online, you should always check whether they are either being sent to you from the UK or another country.
Note: Different rules apply when buying goods for commercial use.
|Gifts Bought Online|
|Why doesn't DHL include Duty and VAT charges in its tariff?|
These charges are not included in our tariff because the Customs authorities in the destination country determine whether any duties and taxes are applicable when the shipment arrives.
|Why do I have to pay an Advance Payment or Disbursement charge?|
When DHL pays Duty and VAT on your behalf, an Advance Payment or Disbursement charge will be added to your Duty and VAT statement/invoice for clearing the shipment through customs.
The charge is currently £11.00 or 2.5% of the total Duty and/or VAT incurred, whichever is the greater.
If the total Duty and/or VAT incurred is less than £440 then a flat amount of £11.00 will be incurred as this is less than 2.5%
For example, if the total Duty and/or VAT amount equals £125.80, then £11.00 will apply.
The 2.5% will be incurred if the total Duty and/or VAT is greater than £440.00. For example, if the total Duty and/or VAT amount equals £490.00 then an amount of 2.5% will apply i.e. £12.25.
|Can I pay the Duty and VAT myself?|
If you are a regular importer, you can apply to HMRC for a duty deferment account for the payment of most customs charges, such as import VAT, customs duty and excise duty. A duty deferment account lets you make one monthly payment via Direct Debit instead of paying for individual shipments.
|Are there any reliefs from Duty and VAT?|
|How is Duty and VAT calculated?|
Customs assess the amount of Duty to be paid based on the information provided on the DHL Waybill and customs paperwork, in particular where the goods where sent from, the type of contents, their value and the weight of the package.
The value for VAT is the declared value of the goods plus the transport costs to the country of destination plus the Customs Duty.
Example of Duty calculation
Value of goods £80 + transport to the UK £35 = £115
Total value for Duty £115 x 3.5% Duty = Total Duty payable £4.02
Example of VAT calculation
Value of goods £80 + transport to the UK £35 + Duty charges £4.02 = £119.02
Total value for VAT £119.02 x 20% = Total VAT payable £23.80
Total import Duty and VAT charges payable on import of these goods = £27.82
For more information and advice about Duty and VAT, contact your local Customs office, visit hmrc.gov.uk or call HMRC directly on 0300 200 3700.