Buying Christmas presents overseas

I am thinking of having some Christmas presents sent over from Asia, and I just wondered if there were any tax issues I should be aware of.

1st December 2011

There are a few limits you ought to be aware of with regards to bringing goods into the UK from outside the EU:

  • You can bring goods (excluding tobacco and alcohol) worth up to £390 in from non-EU countries via commercial sea or air transport without paying VAT or duty (excluding tobacco and alcohol)
  • You can bring goods (excluding tobacco and alcohol) worth up to £270 in from non-EU countries via any other transport without paying VAT or duty

Please note the allowances above are per person and cannot be combined if you are travelling as a couple or group. Furthermore, if the package exceeds the allowance, the duty is charged on the full value of the item; not just on the amount in excess of the limit.

  • Should you buy goods over the internet or by mail order worth over £15 from outside the EU, you will have to pay VAT. If the package is worth over £135, duty may also be due

For more detailed information, please feel free to discuss this with your local TaxAssist Accountant.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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