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VAT on pressies sent from granny!

(3 Posts)
ElizaK Thu 13-Oct-11 20:19:41

I have just received a charming note from Parcelforce Worldwide, that they have impounded my daughters' birthday presents from their granny in Japan, until we pay £40 - and if we do not pay it, the box is sent back to granny.

I am too astonished to know what to think. The Parcelforce letter already says that they don't enter into discussions regarding the charge, which is a refund of monies they paid to HMC&E to bring the box into the country at all.

On the basis of previous 'birthday boxes' (which the children love), it will contain some clothes that granny may or may not have sewn with her retired neighbour, an alarming quantity of sweets, and some small paper or plastic toys of the party bag variety. And maybe a dodgy shirt for DP.

How can this incur £40 to the British Govt, and how can it possibly argue that they are entitled to said £40, in any way? This is birthday presents for children from their granny, for goodness' sake!

What say you - do I pay it? We really don't have £40 this month (partly owing to said birthdays), but granny would be truly distressed to get the box back, after lovingly planning it for the last six months...

fergoose Thu 13-Oct-11 21:05:06

I think if it is marked as a gift there is no duty to pay - sorry, not that it helps you now. I suppose she must have written a value on the parcel to say what it is worth, and they have calculated from that.

I guess if you don't pay it just gets sent back?

nocake Thu 13-Oct-11 21:43:19

Unfortunately the fault almost certainly lies with granny, rather than Parcelforce. They have to, by law, apply duty and VAT to imported goods and they determine the contents and value from the customs label on the parcel. If the label is filled out incorrectly they will charge the wrong amount. Gifts up to a value of £40 are not subject to duty or VAT but they must be labelled correctly on the customs label.

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