Have you ever paid duty on an imported item?

(108 Posts)
MyCatShopsAtAldi Tue 05-Jan-21 21:52:55

I’m looking at buying a toy for our kids (Pikler triangle so over £135) and as far as I can tell, if it’s from outside the UK (now we’ve left the EU), it will be liable for import duty but I’m really struggling to wade through the gov.uk website and work out how much this would be. I was assuming equivalent to VAT but got the impression it might be higher? Does anyone know?

OP’s posts: |
Robbybobtail Tue 05-Jan-21 21:55:23

Hi, I bought ds an item of clothing at Xmas which came from the USA - the item was approx £100 with shipping and DHL then sent a text saying they had the parcel but I had to pay £25 import tax before they would deliver it. I was a bit surprised as I hadn’t realised!

QuitMoaning Tue 05-Jan-21 21:55:42

I bought an item for just under £30 from Etsy and was hit with import duty of £7.80 and a handling fee from Royal Mail of £8.

So it was a bit higher than VAT and a really annoying handling fee.

barebetty Tue 05-Jan-21 21:55:53

I bought a T-shirt for DH about 8 years ago and it came from abroad (didn’t realise at the time). It made a £15 item about £30.

I can’t remember the details but I’m still fucking raging about it. He still has the T-shirt and I think of that fucking tax every time I see it.

I realise this doesn’t help whatsoever but hopefully it’ll give your post a bump for someone who can actually help smile

MyCatShopsAtAldi Tue 05-Jan-21 22:11:06

Thanks, all of you - it’s the not knowing how much it is that is bothering me. If it was a straight 20% VAT, I’d just sit here calculating whether it was worth it and shop accordingly, but I have this feeling that it probably isn’t, especially if I can’t find the answer easily online (and believe me, I have tried and I’m usually good at finding stuff like this and sifting through bureaucratic crap!). If the difference is that high, frankly, it’s not worth it.

@barebetty, I would feel exactly the same - and this thing is basically an indoor climbing frame so I’m going to be sitting looking at it in my living room every day.grin

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barebetty Tue 05-Jan-21 22:15:41

Well my kids are teenagers and I’ve made some whopping purchasing mistakes when they were babies.

I had a look at that piece of kit a few days ago as I saw it mentioned and I’m nosey.

I would think very carefully at the rage you will feel looking at it thinking you’ve paid over the odds. Also might be delayed at customs so more of a wait?

MyCatShopsAtAldi Tue 05-Jan-21 22:21:21

That’s another factor now lockdown has been announced! In theory, it’s a birthday present for DC2 but in practice it’s a joint gift. I think we’ll get our money’s worth but I’m already sucking teeth at the price and the absence of cheaper alternatives (it is significantly more than I would normally spend on a first birthday gift but we have grandparents who are happy to contribute, kids are very lucky) .

I have a poor track record buying pushchairs so feel your pain...

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AnnoyedByAlfieBear Tue 05-Jan-21 22:25:12

I work for DHL and deal with some of the import paperwork. I don't work out the figures owed (customs don't tell us how they work it out) but I do know that different items have different tariffs. There will also be VAT added on. I did hear that EY countries were only liable for VAT and not duty but I haven't seen any evidence yet. Each courier company/importer will charge their own admin fee for dealing with customs on your behalf and usually won't deliver until your paid.

AnnoyedByAlfieBear Tue 05-Jan-21 22:26:18

EU countries, not EY. confused

HoneysuckIejasmine Tue 05-Jan-21 22:30:24

Don't Babipur sell those? Or something very very similar. Might be worth a look, save the stress.

HoneysuckIejasmine Tue 05-Jan-21 22:31:16


Hohofortherobbers Tue 05-Jan-21 22:35:29

If you're buying from a private seller, as opposed to a company, you can just ask them to declare it as a gift on the paperwork and you don't pay import tax at all. I have not tried this myself however I found it out as a friend actually sent me a gift from USA and didn't do this, she specified the item and its value and I ended up paying import tax.... Ouch!

MyCatShopsAtAldi Tue 05-Jan-21 22:36:23

@HoneysuckIejasmine, thank you - that’s really kind to post the link. I had spotted these but they are so expensive from Babipur and we can’t really stretch to anything beyond the triangle if we buy from them - if we use an Etsy seller (and there are UK ones on there with good reviews), we can afford a ramp/slide attachment as well.

@AnnoyedByAlfieBear, thank you - that is helpful and confirms my suspicions that the costs will only go one way. I found a website calculating duty and VAT, and the duty doesn’t look as though it would be much but, once you allow for other fees, it’s a false economy, so we will stick to the UK sellers we’ve found.

Thanks again for your help, everyone.

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barebetty Tue 05-Jan-21 22:38:18

Let us know how you get on. I can see the attraction. It looks like a cool bit of kit.

Januarydontbecool Tue 05-Jan-21 22:41:07

@hohofortherobbers, you pay VAT and customs duty on gifts, too.

Omeara Tue 05-Jan-21 22:46:41

Amazon do a similar one with a slide for £155.

Alwaysfrank Tue 05-Jan-21 22:55:46

One of my children bought a secondhand designer coat with his birthday money. He was very shocked to have to pay about £26 on top in duty when he had to collect it from the sorting office. A valuable lesson was learned. He had the last laugh though - he sold it a few months ago and made a handsome profit!

LondonBus38 Tue 05-Jan-21 22:57:52

I bought an American Girl doll from the US for DD1 about five years ago. Had to pay an additional £36 duty, plus Royal Mail charged £18 handling charge / cost for sending me the letter to say come and collect the parcel, which was not even local, I had to trek halfway across London to collect. Never again. still bitter

barebetty Tue 05-Jan-21 22:58:51

@LondonBus38 I hear you!!!

MyCatShopsAtAldi Tue 05-Jan-21 23:07:28

@Omeara, thanks - I saw that too - but it ships from Slovenia so same issue! If only I’d been more organised and done this in December, eh?! Thanks, Brexit.hmm

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IloveJudgeJudy Wed 06-Jan-21 01:45:08

Another one saying that mostly it's not worth buying from abroad because of the import duties and then the insult of the handling fee angry. I need to take my own advice; I've been caught a couple of times. Never again.

earsup Wed 06-Jan-21 01:50:59

Seems to be usually items from USA. I never paid taxes on eu and China delivery.

Sparrowfeeder Wed 06-Jan-21 02:17:10


Seems to be usually items from USA. I never paid taxes on eu and China delivery.

You will now pay on EU goods because of Brexit. China you should always have but they flout the rules a lot.

Oreservoir Wed 06-Jan-21 02:29:07

I'm in France. Used to order from Next fr. Now the delivery firms are asking for extra payment on delivery. Next atm have promised to reimburse this.
Some companies are trying it on though, I heard of a Brit ordering an item posted in Paris and a driver tried to get extra money on delivery.

StealthRoast Wed 06-Jan-21 02:40:09

We’ve ordered 2 separate American Girl dolls in the past for 9yr old dd and no extra fees were needed but for Christmas just gone I ordered a set from a famous Roblox/Youtuber “merch” shop which cost around £40 including shipping from America.

Around 2 weeks before Christmas I received a postcard from Royal Mail stating that they had the parcel in the local sorting office but I needed to go online to pay the customs charge of £14.81 shock which of course I did and it was delivered a few days later.

It’s bizarre that a doll costing £150 plus didn’t incur any fees but a set containing a headband, fluffy socks and several other little bits did. It needs to be more transparent.

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