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Shopping on the Internet

HMRC have updated their guidance on buying goods on the internet explaining when duty and / or VAT will need to be paid.

The guidance has been updated in recognition that we are becoming increasingly global shoppers and may therefore benefit from some straightforward guidance.

The information includes warnings that although you may think that a website is quoting the full price for goods you may also have to pay Customs duty, Excise duty and / or import VAT.

An extract of the guidance confirms:

“If you buy goods online from within the European Union (EU)

You will not be charged Customs duty or import VAT.

Alcohol and tobacco products from within the EU cannot be sent to the UK unless arrangements have been made to pay UK excise duty in advance.

The 27 EU countries are the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, The Irish Republic, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.

If you buy goods online from a country outside the European Union, for instance the USA, Canada, China, Australia

You will be charged:

  • Customs duty if the amount of duty is €10 (£7*) or over
  • Import VAT if the value of the goods is €22 (£18*) and over
  • Excise duty for some goods like alcohol and tobacco.”

* The sterling value shown will be subject to an annual review, and may be adjusted, as a result of the Euro exchange rate announced in the European Commission Official Journal on the first working day in October to take effect from 1 January 2009.

For more information visit the links below.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Frequently Asked Questions

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