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Old 1st Sep 2021, 6:03 pm   #1
excalibur
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Default Importing from Europe and US....

Has anyone detailed knowledge of the extra costs now incurred when importing old radios, etc from Europe.Specifically France,Spain, Germany. I have horror stories from a friend in Belgium about the amount of duty he has been charged for relatively low value items?! Also the import/export situation in the USA seems to vary dependant upon how the article is shipped and the declared value (obviously!) The easy answer would be to declare everything as a gift but I'm sure this would become unstuck.
As a frequent buyer of miscellaneous articles, component and modules from China the businesses there seem to have a "special" arrangement regarding duty as the shipping times are usually very good and any duty seems a bit hit and miss--although I might just have been lucky!
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 6:38 pm   #2
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Default Re: Importing from europe and us....

It's an absolute minefield at the moment, as the arrangements are still bedding in.

Strictly no discussion of the pros and cons of Brexit please.

I buy lots of bits and pieces from China and have never had any Customs related problems, but these were all low value items.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 6:43 pm   #3
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Default Re: Importing from europe and us....

Quote:
from China the businesses there seem to have a "special" arrangement
They cheat and there are so many low value items no one can really be bothered. The best thing is to delacre the items (assuming they are old) as items of historical interest but of no real monetary value, say less than 10 euro.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 6:47 pm   #4
tony brady
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Default Re: Importing from europe and us....

and don't forget that the carriage is also included in the duty & vat calculations
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 6:50 pm   #5
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Importing from europe and us....

The main distortion with China sales is that China Post apply a ridiculously low charge for international small parcels. Royal Mail and the other national operators just have to suck it up, as the charges are supposed to be broadly equivalent.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 8:10 pm   #6
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

If we can take advantage when the going is good we have to suck up the disadvantages when they occur.

It's not as if you can argue your case!
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 5:53 am   #7
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

The way I understand it, which may or may not be correct, is that if I import something from Europe that's made in Europe, there should be no customs duty (whatever the value). There will however be VAT to pay. Whenever customs duty is applied the couriers also apply a handling fee which is in the region of 10-20 pounds, in addition to their normal fees

If I import something from Europe that's made in china or elsewhere, I pay customs duty (depending on value), vat and courier handling charge.

Of course in practice couriers don't know the origin of the item, so they will try to charge you customs duty more often than not, but I believe that there is a form you can submit to reclaim costs. Keeping the value of the item or items below the customs threshold saves you both the customs duty and the courier add on handling fees.

The same should apply in reverse

Regarding exports to the US, there was a thread on the forum that anything with valves could be blocked on the basis that they contain mercury. This is not rigorously applied.

Essentially when importing from the USA you get charged vat +/- customs duty (depending on value) +/- courier handling fee.

The best is to keep the value of the orders low so that they are kept below the customs duty threshold. Putting in separate orders some time apart when buying multiple items is permissible I believe, so that they are shipped separately and treated individually by customs.

I need to send a Philetta I've done for my dad who is in Malta and I haven't done so yet. I'm undecided whether to take it with me on the plane as hand luggage (but security may have a fit when they X ray it) or risk that he gets hit with excessive fees when it's delivered by courier or gets 'lost' or damaged in the post.

Gabriel
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 7:57 am   #8
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Its truly a minefield in Australia. "stuff" from china has GST ( your VAT, 10% here ) three 1/2 watt resistors from USA are $2.50 + yes, PLUS 79.99 pack and post by US mail. I have given stuff to some of you POHM lads, and you have to pay VAT plus some import duties. I have declared the value at a fraction of the bits worth, but you still pay!!.

MY biggest bugbear at the moment is postage costs!!. An empty envelope to send next door costs $1.10, and takes two to three weeks. It travels two thousand kliks to get sorted, then sent back via camel train to same town, NEXT street over.

My Chinese purchases vary from four days to three months delivery time, and I only pay GST. ( and in some cases a nominal postage/handling/packaging fee.) I KNOW that I am not allowed to discuss politics here, BUT, MAYBE, it really is time for a whirled Government??

There is something really wrong when we have to pay so much for so little.

My short rave.

with my best regards to all,

Joe
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 8:26 am   #9
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

I ordered 2 AC amp meters from China brand new and still being made at the beginning of August 2021 through eBay no mention of extra costs when I ordered them they arrived a fortnight later without any issues.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 8:50 am   #10
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Be aware, If an item value is underdeclared it cannot be insured for a greater amount.
Rob
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 10:29 am   #11
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

If the transaction is via an 'Online MarketPlace' such as eBay or Amazon, they - not the sender - add VAT to the transaction so as a customer, you pay VAT to eBay, just as you would with any other VAT rated goods from a UK supplier. eBay then pass on the VAT to HMRC.

For goods of greater value than 135, Customs Duty falls due, and whoever delivers the item collects that from the customer and adds an admin charge. (Port Office charge 8.00 for that, unless it's increased). Some transactions may come under the radar, but the days of buying something on eBay for say 150 which flies in under the radar with no VAT/Customs are over. If you buy something on eBay from China and it costs 20.00, you'll pay 4.00 VAT, and if the Chinese customs label say 'value $1.00' it's of no relevance.

This explains it, and the little chart clarifies what happens with two typical transactions:

https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights...s-after-brexit

How 'peer to peer' transaction from say the EU between private individuals is treated, I've no idea, but items I've bought from China this year have included VAT.

Don't know what happens with Bangood or aliexpress).

Hope that helps a bit.


https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights...s-after-brexit
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 10:37 am   #12
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Should the title of this thread be "Importing from Europe and the USA"?

I had assumed "us" was the objective case of "we", but now I'm not so sure.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 10:57 am   #13
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

I recently "imported" a fairly rare Technics Cassette deck from the USA, received yesterday. It's a Technics RS M51, and was the missing piece from a hifi my father used to own.

I have a brother in Michigan, so I bought a mint example on ebay USA for about $60 including domestic shipping, with a view to him posting it on to me in the UK.

It was packed fairly well so my brother took it straight to the UPS depot to post it to me here in the UK. I wanted the cheapest rate possible, and timescales didn't matter.

The BEST price they could do was $118 , this is for uninsured and untracked, ETA around 1 week, and with the possibility of customs charges on top. It arrived 11 days later, in generally good order, but with some dings to the corners of the metal front plate.

The assistant at the depot told my brother since Brexit the cost of shipping to and from the UK has been driven up, possibly due to problems in UK customs.

Thankfully I was at least spared customs fees this time

Having sent things to and from the USA several times in the last 10 years, the price was a lot more than I expected. The package wasn't huge by any means, and was much lighter than you'd expect. The lightest of any Technics components I own. If I'd known the cost I might not have bought it - I wont be doing this again any time soon!

My mother would also regularly send parcels to my brothers family in the USA, but stopped some time ago due to the huge increases in costs and increased lead times. I'm less clear on the reasons for that, but I'd imagine it could due to situations at Customs, and Covid pandemic.

My advice on importing would be unless its something VERY special, dont bother.

Best Wishes
Adam
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 12:03 pm   #14
Keith956
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

My experience recently has been that importing pretty much anything from Europe or the USA is subject to 20% import charges (VAT) after postage has been applied. EBay usually applies this automatically; sometimes not though, and you will face a bill for import charges from the courier instead, who will of course slap on a handling charge (in UPS's case it's 11.50).

Others countries vary; I've had no import charge on a significant item from Israel as well as China - it seems entirely random sometimes.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 3:51 pm   #15
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Station X View Post
Should the title of this thread be "Importing from Europe and the USA"?

I had assumed "us" was the objective case of "we", but now I'm not so sure.
Yes, I have been reading it as "US", but with the capitalisation missed out.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 3:58 pm   #16
Station X
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Seems likely as "europe" was originally all in lower case.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 6:37 pm   #17
factory
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe001 View Post
Regarding exports to the US, there was a thread on the forum that anything with valves could be blocked on the basis that they contain mercury. This is not rigorously applied.

Gabriel
That was items sent via the ebay Global Shipping Programme (aka GSP), this service is only available to sellers in a few countries including the US and UK as far as I know.
Their algorithm decides whether an item is prohibited/restricted for shipping out of the country of origin, also take note they won't ship parcels that are too large or heavy.

Other regular shipping options have no problem (e.g USPS) with the items that GSP don't like. If you don't want the risk of using GSP, ask the seller about alternate options.

Oddly I've noticed ebay/GSP? does not charge VAT for test gear manuals listed in the correct catagory of "Test Equipment Manuals & Books", but does for ones listed under some other manuals catagories, e.g. under collectables.
This info can be seen in the "tax invoice" for each item, found under "order details" & clicking on "+ show additional actions".

David
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 6:50 pm   #18
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Quote:
Originally Posted by factory View Post
Oddly I've noticed ebay/GSP? does not charge VAT for test gear manuals listed in the correct catagory of "Test Equipment Manuals & Books", but does for ones listed under some other manuals catagories, e.g. under collectables.
This info can be seen in the "tax invoice" for each item, found under "order details" & clicking on "+ show additional actions".
That is presumably because books are zero-rated for VAT in the UK - at least they were, and I'm not aware of this changing.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 7:00 pm   #19
factory
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Yes that is correct as far as I know, but RM or Parcelforce didn't seem to read the customs label and more than often charged it anyway.

The change I noted was for ebay, since they started collecting VAT themselves.
But also strange that other categories that are effectively "printed paper/books" still get VAT charged. Well now I know and I should really ask sellers to change the catagory to the correct one.

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Old 3rd Sep 2021, 5:54 pm   #20
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Default Re: Importing from Europe and us....

Drawing all these points into consideration I come to the conclusion that when it comes to old, antique or valuable items I'd prefer to give it to someone I know travelling to take it with him on a plane.

That's what I did when I bought a 1935 Packard Bell table radio in California. The folks at the airline were smiling and full of understanding for elderly blokes collecting such boat anchors.

Regards, Joe
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