HM Revenue & Customs

Article Date: 14 November 2008

HM Revenue & Customs

New rules for online shoppers
From next month, internet shoppers will no longer have to pay customs duty on non-EU purchases worth up to £105.
Customs duty is currently payable on goods bought online from non-EU countries worth £18 or more. But from 1 December, the new £105 limit will apply. VAT will still be charged on goods over £18, and is not affected by the changes.
A new HMRC 'internet shopping' podcast, launched today, explains the changes in more detail. As well as duty and VAT, the podcast discusses handling fees, which mail carriers are entitled to charge and collect from you on delivery, where duty or VAT is payable. The podcast is available to download free from
Recent figures show that around 56 per cent of people in the North West now have internet access, so it's important they all know the rules.
HMRC's Director of Customs & International, Doug Tweddle, said:

"Whether you're looking to get your hands on the latest computer game, designer clothes or DVDs, it's important to be aware of the law on customs charges, especially as this is about to change.

"If you're thinking of doing a little web shopping from abroad, download our podcast or visit the HMRC website and get up-to-speed with all things online - it won't cost you a penny.
"If you're buying goods from countries outside the EU, it's in your interests to know what the rules are. For example, some websites don't always make clear there is duty or VAT to pay, while others may misrepresent or undervalue your goods to try and avoid paying charges. But, if goods are found to be wrongly declared, they may be seized and the customer penalised."
On Monday 1 December, the limit for customs duty imported from non-EU countries will increase from 22 euros (£18) to 150 euros (£105). The limit for VAT is not changing and will stay at 22 euros (£18).
Examples                       Price                      Will I pay duty?                    Will I pay VAT?
DVD                                16 euros                         No                                           No
Digital camera                140 euros                       No                                           Yes
Designer shoes              450 euros                       Yes                                          Yes

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