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MissyA369 | 19:52 Tue 17th Jan 2006 | Shopping & Style
3 Answers
Is there some kind of website where i can estimate how much tax and delivery charge i will have to pay if i am buying items from america, thanks


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(2 part post):

The short answer to your question is 'No'. There are so many variables that it would be almost impossible to include them in a single site.

The first consideration is the carriage charges. Obviously, the sender can choose between many different carriers (each with their own charging structure) but, if they choose to use the US Postal Service, the relevant charges are available here:
To change dollar prices to pounds you'll have to divide by the exchange rate which is currently 1.7645. Remember, of course, that this is only the 'postage' part of 'post & packing', so there'll probably be something extra to add on for the 'packing' part.

Then you hit the problem of UK duty charges. Some items don't incur duty charges but many do. However, if the duty charges come to less than �7 then you don't have to pay them.

Then there's VAT to be considered. If the value of the goods is less than �18 you won't have to pay VAT. Otherwise you'll have to pay VAT on any goods on which VAT would have been charged if they'd been purchased in the UK.
HM Revenue & Customs have produced a PDF document which lists the charges (both duty & VAT) which are made on common internet purchases. This can be found here: File?contentID=HMCE_PROD_009989

It should be noted, however, that, because the United States is currently imposing certain import tariffs in contravention of World Trade Organization rules, the UK is (by way of retaliation) imposing additional charges on imports of certain items from the USA. (In particular, clothing items are affected). Details of the additional charges are in this PDF document: File?contentID=HMCE_PROD1_024184

If the item you wish to import isn't in the list of common internet purchases then life gets even more complicated! You have to phone the Tariff Classification Service (01702 366077) to obtain the relevant 10-digit commodity code for the item you wish to import. You then need to phone the HMRC National Advice Service (0845 010 9000) and quote the code you've been given. You'll then be told the charges which will be applied to the item.

OK, so perhaps you think you're just about getting to grips with it all? Unfortunately, there's a further additional charge which may need to be paid. Most of the checking of imported packages isn't actually done by highly-paid HMRC staff. Instead, much of the routine stuff is actually handled by the Post Office or, more accurately, by that part of the Post Office which is now known as Parcelforce Worldwide. They get paid for doing this by making a handling charge on each package they process. The good news is that, if there are
(I hate it when AB does that!!!)

.... no duty or VAT charges, then the handling charge is zero. The bad news, however, is that if there are duty and/or VAT charges to be collected, then the handling charge is an additional �8.


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