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that I shouldn't have to pay 130 pounds for a gift that's for me

(18 Posts)
MadCap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:18:02

to HMRC?

My lovely (not so computer literate) aunt from the USA sent me a birthday gift of some clothes and shoes. I haven't received the package yet, so don't know exactly what is in it, but I did receive a letter from the postal service demanding 130 pounds for duty and VAT! My Aunt did ask before sending apparently if she could prepay any charges that might occur, if any, but it was impossible.

Also, a WWYD, how can I nicely tactfully suggest that she just sends money or orders from a UK website next time or even doesn't send anything without sounding ungrateful? She is a really lovely lady and I don't want to upset her in any way, because she'd be mortified that her gift put me that much out of pocket (which I can't really afford!) This is especially because she is already talking about what she wants to send to the kids this Christmas.

JustSpidero Thu 18-Oct-12 16:20:42

Could you set up an Amazon wishlist and suggest she buys from there and gets it delivered to you from the UK website 'to make life easier for her'?

MadCap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:22:00

That's a good suggestion. Might help her too as she's not that good with the interweb.

plutocrap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:24:26

Was it alcohol or something?! How could anything attract that much VAT?

MadCap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:26:12

She suggested it was clothes, because I've lost weight recently. I don't really drink, so I don't think it would be alcohol.

JustSpidero Thu 18-Oct-12 16:27:04

Also, you could say that you've set it up as other family members have asked for ideas so she doesn't think it's aimed at her iykwim.

eBook Thu 18-Oct-12 16:29:25

Decline the delivery and "return to sender"?

bigsnugglebunny Thu 18-Oct-12 16:29:34

From here:

^Do I have to pay duty and VAT on a gift?

A gift is defined by customs as any item which:

has been sent from a private individual to another private individual AND
is for the personal use of the individual or his or her family AND
has not been paid for, either directly or indirectly by the receiver AND
is of an occasional nature only; e.g. for a birthday or anniversary

If the value of the gifts in the consignment (not including shipping and insurance costs) does not exceed £40 (€45, or equivalent in local currency) and the customs declaration is correct, duty and VAT will not be paid on the gifts.

If the value of the gifts in the consignment is greater than £40 (€45, or equivalent in local currency), then:

VAT is payable in all cases.
Duty will be payable unless:
the value of the gifts in the consignment (not including shipping and insurance costs) is less than £135 (€150, or equivalent in local currency) or
the duty amount payable is less than £9 (€10, or equivalent in local currency).
A flat duty rate of 2.5% applies if:
the value of the gifts in the consignment is less than £630 (€700, or equivalent in local currency) AND
it is to your benefit.
Otherwise the normal duty rate applies.^

bigsnugglebunny Thu 18-Oct-12 16:30:13

<frown> why didn't the ^ make it italic? <grump>

NatashaBee Thu 18-Oct-12 16:31:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squoosh Thu 18-Oct-12 16:33:30

Tis a bummer but unavoidable. When I'm buying presents for people in America I purchase from, no import duties that way. Ask your Aunt to buy you something from next time.

£130 is a lot to pay for a parcel the contents of which are unknown. What if it's one of those fleeces with a picture of a wolf on it?

MadCap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:39:45

I wish I knew what is was exactly, but I haven't gone to pick up the package yet. I hope she didn't overinflate it for insurance reasons. I'm going to just suck it this time, because it would really hurt her feelings if I sent it back to her. She has excellent taste so I doubt it's a wolfy fleece. arf grin.

I will suggest Amazon I think.

StuntGirl Thu 18-Oct-12 16:45:51

What if it's one of those fleeces with a picture of a wolf on it? Squoosh! grin

squoosh Thu 18-Oct-12 16:51:05

Well someone's buying them! grin

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 18-Oct-12 17:50:53

Maybe she forgot to mark Gift on the customs form.
I know Dh sent me something when I was in in UK and he was still in US, he didn't mark anything, so they charged me something like £15 for it.
I'd go in an argue about it with them, and then mark it return to sender if they won't let you have it. When it gets back to her, tell her that the Post office wouldn't give it to you due to the high cost she'd put on the label and not marking gift.
I bet they give in if you harp on about it being a birthday present. Offer to open it in front of them to prove it isn't as expensive as they seem to think.

GobTheGoblin Thu 18-Oct-12 18:07:19

Bloody hell that's a lot of duty and VAT for clothes.

California, there is no point in appealing to the post office or opening the parcel in front of them (I doubt they would let you anyway) because the post office do not charged the duty and VAT it's HMRC.

pigletmania Thu 18-Oct-12 18:56:33

She should have ticked the gift option, that is what my auntie dd when she sent me a designer bag from America

pigletmania Thu 18-Oct-12 18:57:35

The bag was £170

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