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Posting stuff from the US to the UK without incurring import / custom charges

(10 Posts)
misssmilla1 Sat 11-Nov-17 20:20:31

After nearly 7 years I still haven't figured out how / what to do, to be able to post stuff (usually gifts so not letter size) from the US to the UK without incurring extra charges at the UK end. I can't work out whether its parcel size, value on the customs form or something else.

Can anyone shed any light on how to either present the info on the customs form, or how to send / wrap stuff up so it doesn't get impounded at the UK end until further charges are paid?

This is all low value present / gift stuff ( so well under $100) and its been a bit random. One was a costume jewelry necklace, the other was new baby bits and bobs, the other was some clothing.

I'm trying to work it out for this year's Christmas gifts or deciding whether to get stuff mailed from within the UK

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 11-Nov-17 20:30:33

I thought if you put ‘gift’ on the customs label they didn’t normally. Different country though!

ChinaRose Sat 11-Nov-17 21:50:33

Put zero value and gift. Or have it sent from the UK!

misssmilla1 Sun 12-Nov-17 00:17:15

I think the zero value and gift combination are key - I've put gift and the value before, and even if its low its been held up. Bit embarrassing when you're sending a present for someone and they have to pay customs charges to get it!

Mistigri Sun 12-Nov-17 07:16:13

Gifts have to be sent from a private individual not a company. You have to pay VAT on gifts worth more than £39, customs duties if the gift is worth more than £139.

There are different rules for things like perfume and alcohol.

I would think that declaring a zero value would make a check more likely.

Hassled Sun 12-Nov-17 07:30:54

I really wish there was a sure-fire solution to this - I have a very generous American relative who sends over lovely boxes of gifts which I then have to pay £££ to receive. I'm too embarrassed to tell them - seems ungrateful - but last year it was a ridiculous amount.

wonkylegs Sun 12-Nov-17 07:38:45

Does this help at all https://www.tripsavvy.com/sending-gifts-to-the-uk-1661518

shhhfastasleep Sun 12-Nov-17 08:08:27

Our US family send us “low value” items at Christmas with gift on the customs form and , I think, the item listed - can’t remember too busy being excited at opening the box. It contains gifts that are wrapped but with one side open so customs can examine if they want.
I put low value in commas because, obviously, they aren’t low value to us.

realhousewife44 Sun 12-Nov-17 17:42:18

Don't mark it as zero, thats makes is looks like you're trying to avoid any charges and more likely to get opened and checked. Here's the Royal Mail link, as someone else said it's £39 for gifts without the recipient being charged VAT or duty. Remember to use current exchange rates when you put the $ value on the customs form.

www.royalmail.com/sites/default/files/International-customs-charges-leaflet-Jan-2017.pdf

misssmilla1 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:59:46

Thank you! This is all really helpful, I wasn't aware of the VAT on gifts (makes sense now)

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