The table below is a quick guide to the rates of import duty and sales tax that may be applicable when you purchase a product abroad and have it delivered or imported to your own country. The countries on the left indicate the countries that the goods are being shipped to.
Import Duty Rates
When cross-border shopping it is important to take into consideration the liability and amount of import duties that you may incur. Of course, not every purchase will be liable, and many of your overseas internet purchases will be able to pass across your borders and through customs without legally incurring an import charge.
Sales Tax ‡
Import Duty §
Click on your country to visit the customs website for that country. Where we have not been able to identify the data or there is no cost, we have left it blank and will fill it in later.
Have a good look at the exemptions, any item that is under this allowance or qualifies as a gift may be free of import duty to most countries.
Each good or product imported may be liable to a different level of import duty, each product is classified according to the Harmonised System, and a rate applied to each classification. This rate, of course, varies between all countries. See more about WHAT IS IMPORT DUTY.
* The personal allowance is the maximum value of a good or service that you can import free of import duties and taxes. For a purchase over this amount, you may be liable to pay some import duties and taxes.
† Other exemptions. For example in some countries you can buy gifts for someone up to a different value to your own allowance before the import is liable for duty and tax.
‡ Some imports are liable for sales tax or VAT, we have listed each countries standard rate where possible.
§ Import duty is also known as excise duty and import tax.
‖ Other fees that may be applicable.
*|| The method for calculating import duty, CIF = Cost, Insurance, Freight, and means all these costs are included when calculating import tax.
More information about UK import duty and VAT that may be payable on purchases to the UK form overseas.
VAT (sales tax) is levied on the total cost including duties and shipping costs, but this can be minimised by using a shop which is offering free international shipping, and gifts are VAT free if valued under £36. Normal rate otherwise apply, usually 20% but some goods have lower rates of purchase tax.
Likewise import duty is only due if the duty payable is over £9. Purchases worth less than £135 have no duty and gifts worth between £136-£630 only have duty at 2.5% (some goods have lower rates).
So, although the final cost is likely to be higher than the sale price on the overseas website. Shoppers can minimise the extras by taking advantage of free shipping and by ensuring purchases are correctly labelled as gifts and dividing shipments to come in under the thresholds.
UK VAT rates
VAT in the UK is normally levied at 20% but there are many products where the tax is less, for instance, children’s and baby clothes are zero rated, that means there is no VAT to pay if you buy from overseas the same as buying from a domestic shop. Children’s car seats, for example, VAT is only 5%. Books and other publications such as magazines and newspapers are also 0%.
Energy-saving materials installed in dwellings and buildings used for a relevant residential purpose VAT is only levied at 5%.
More to follow, if you have any more import duty data that you would like to share with us for others to read, please pass it on. Please comment below.