back to article UK govt cuts web shoppers a break

The banks may be unwilling to pass on their tax breaks, but at least the Government has one for internet shoppers importing goodies from outside the EU. From next month, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will only demand import duty on goods valued at £105 ($156/€123) or more. Currently you must – or should – pay the …


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  1. Gary F

    Wow. So what's the catch?

    Will vat be going up to 20% in April to compensate for this change? The government don't give anything away for nothing. At least not to law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

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  3. Iain Purdie


    Any news on a higher rate for gifts? Currently they're VAT and duty free up to a value of £36. I'd assume this limit would also be raised - but to the same £105 or to higher?

  4. Someone

    Bad Example

    If you buy a digital camera from a US website for £104 today, there still won’t be a penny of Customs duty to pay. Digital stills cameras do not attract Customs duty.

    Further, Customs duty is currently waived if it amounts to less than £7. So, if the item attracts 10% duty, that’s items up to £70 in value. For 5%, that’s up to £140. If this new rule completely replaces the old one, you’re going to be worse off for items with a rate x, where 0% < x < 6.66%.

  5. Richard Turton

    Plus Royal Mail handling fee

    On low value items (but still over the £18 VAT bar) the real killer is the Royal Mail handling charge of £8 to collect the VAT and duty.

    Check out -

    "Any package assessed by HM Revenue and Customs as being liable for Customs charges will also incur a Royal Mail handling fee of £8."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Duty on Cameras

    "Digital stills cameras do not attract Customs duty."

    True, but those with the capability to record video do - therefore, most "compacts" and some DSLRs (D90, 5D MKII) do.

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  8. James Pickett


    So, previously, the bar was £18 for both Duty and VAT, and now it's £104 for one and £18 for the other! I guess the gummint has to provide some new jobs somehow...

  9. Tim

    probably no catch

    @Gary F

    It probably is costing them more in admin to handle the low value items than they collect (civil servants don't come that cheap). If that's the case then they don't need to raise taxes as it's actually a cost cutting measure.

  10. Gordon Stewart

    Re: Wow. So what's the catch?

    Well, there is no longer 2 USD to the pound... so it's not as appealing as it once was :(

  11. James Pickett

    @Bad Example

    What an extraordinary list - I'd no idea that beer was duty-free! Not to mention 'massage apparatus'...

  12. Frederick Karno

    There could only be....

    Only a government could come up with a site like the customs and excise one.........

    What is needed a site where you can type in the item, country,price and it works it out for you...

    instead you get something that requires an old style A level to work through it.....

    perhaps students should study this instead of the Manchester tram perhaps not it is a bit too difficult....

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