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Postal Imports ... Notice 143

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Michael Gilligan31/12/2020 21:09:47
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This appears to be the current guidance ...

**LINK**

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-143-a-guide-for-international-post-users/notice-143-a-guide-for-international-post-users

I haven’t yet read it thoroughly, but at first glance it seems very reasonable.

... see the summary tabulation at 2.3

MichaelG.

ega31/12/2020 23:15:23
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MichaelG:

Very helpful - thank you.

I was puzzled by the reference to excise duty as I understand it is a tax levied *within* the country eg the duty on spirits.

Michael Gilligan31/12/2020 23:42:48
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Probably everything you want to know about Excise Duty: **LINK**

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-trade-tariff-excise-duties-reliefs-drawbacks-and-allowances/uk-trade-tariff-excise-duties-reliefs-drawbacks-and-allowances

MichaelG.

ega01/01/2021 11:03:23
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MichaelG:

Thanks. I suspect I shall be none the wiser but so much better informed!

Michael Gilligan01/01/2021 11:07:58
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laugh ... Your’e welcome

MichaelG.

Martin 10001/01/2021 11:31:33
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Yet parcelfarce just charged me £12 to collect £15 of VAT on a commercial consignment from the USA for an item not available in the UK and where no import or excise duty was payable.

Crooks would be far too generous a description.

Michael Gilligan01/01/2021 11:43:22
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Then, Martin ... it may be worth your while to read para. 3.5 of Notice 143, in preparation for your complaint

Unless, of course, the previous rules were still in force at the time your purchase entered the U.K. ... in which case ‘hard luck’

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 01/01/2021 11:53:48

Martin of Wick01/01/2021 14:02:36
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I don't understand....

on the one hand I thought that as of now, the minimum tax threshold for VAT/ excise/import duties was to be reduced from £15 to zero therefore VAT etc. is now payable on all purchases via 'online market places' offshore vendors etc....

On the other hand, this link seems to imply the minimum tax threshold for offshore purchases is £135.00?? Or have I just misinterpreted?

I am clearly in a post seasonal brain fog of too much food n booze so could someone that understands the regulatory mind please explain in simple terms what the tax position is likely to be for offshore purchases?

Much thanks!

Steambuff01/01/2021 15:24:20
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I think that for VAT the limit is now £0, but for Import Duty the limit is £135 .... So a purchase under £135 will only attract VAT .... Correct me if I am wrong

Dave

JasonB01/01/2021 16:09:05
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This would seem to agree with that Dave that for smaller items there is now no minimum and the seller collects the VAT, See " Consignments valued at £135 or less". Michael's link seems to be related to business to business sales rather than retail sales.

Michael Gilligan01/01/2021 16:21:54
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There appear to be two systems operating in parallel ...which will surely result in loopholes being opened, and then duly closed :

Although Notice 143 gives us ‘free’ imports ... the alter-ego of HMRC is busy enabling and encouraging the collection of VAT at source ; by foreigners acting on their behalf.

There are devious minds at work !!

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan01/01/2021 16:32:16
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Posted by JasonB on 01/01/2021 16:09:05:

[…]

Michael's link seems to be related to business to business sales rather than retail sales.

.

Except that it specifically states, at 2.2

.

2.2 Paying taxes on goods sent to you

Most goods arriving in the UK are liable to any or all of the following taxes:

  • Customs Duty
  • Excise Duty
  • Import VAT

These taxes must still be paid if:

  • you purchase the goods or receive them as a gift
  • the goods are new or used (including antiques)
  • the goods are for your private use or for re-sale

.

... which reads like it also covers ‘personal imports’

MichaelG.

Peter Cook 601/01/2021 16:41:06
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I bought a couple of work lights from China on Ebay. Total value £56. Bought (and paid for) before Christmas, due for delivery next week sometime.

Was expecting to pay inbound VAT (and possibly the surcharge - depending on courier). I wonder what will happen now?

Rod Renshaw01/01/2021 16:49:04
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This is too complicated for me!

Does this mean that, under the new rules from today, if one of us orders something worth less than £135.00 from abroad then only VAT is chargeable, and that VAT has to be collected by the seller in, lets say, China? And the seller has tp pay the VAT they collect over to HMRC?

If so, and if the appropriate paperwork has been completed by the seller, then the package comes through customs etc with nothing to pay and thus no delays or local handling charges by Royal Mail etc?

Does it make any difference if one orders from Alibarber etc (based in China) or from or via someone advertising on Ebay etc., based wherever?

Sounds far too good to be be true, even accepting that sellers abroad will have to increase their prices to cover the VAT which they don't presently pay, What am I missing?

Rod

Douglas Johnston01/01/2021 17:02:33
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I think we will only know how this will work after a few brave souls try buying things from outside the UK and report back. Ebay seems to be saying they will be responsible for collecting VAT, but import duties are another matter.

I will hold back until I see how things are working.

Doug

Michael Gilligan01/01/2021 17:03:41
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Posted by Rod Renshaw on 01/01/2021 16:49:04:

This is too complicated for me!

[…]

What am I missing?

Rod

.

This might help, Rod : **LINK**

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-vat-treatment-of-overseas-goods-sold-to-customers-from-1-january-2021/changes-to-vat-treatment-of-overseas-goods-sold-to-customers-from-1-january-2021

MichaelG.

Martin of Wick01/01/2021 18:19:53
249 forum posts
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Still not there yet, so is this the deal then....

1) Purchase from an OMP or similar registered for tax purposes in the UK, the OMP very kindly collects the taxes for HMRC on all purchases originating Ex UK..... captures majority of sales and drop shippers etc without involvement of Border Farce.

2) Purchase from trader Ex UK... (including the likes of Ali, Bang, Gear, Light, etc, because I can just see the likes of Jack Ma begging to be an unpaid tax collector for HMRC), then Border Farce or shipper may become involved as goods cross the border and calculate tax on item or items only where declared value + handling etc is >£135, because otherwise they would have employ the whole country in processing every single piece of foreign mail with a declared value.

Presumably if you purchase items from Europe, they will be sold net of sending country VAT but chargeable at UK rates at the border (if above £135) plus any charges the shipping company wishes to apply.

Remember what the nice man said - 'no non tariff barriers to trade...' Waaahhaaahhaa!

Rod Renshaw01/01/2021 18:20:58
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Michael, Thanks for the link.

This seems to confirm my general overview above, and makes a distinction between buying directly from abroad (where the seller will collect the VAT) and buying via an "Online Market Place" (like Ebay) ( where the OMP will collect the VAT) I also agree with others who are waiting to see what happens in practice.

One might imagine some sellers being better than others at keeping records and handing over the VAT they have collected, and one might also wonder what penalties HMRC could impose if any non UK based sellers default.

These official links say nothing about delays and handling charges, which are not part of the legal import charging process, but if these are short and not expensive then this change seems to be generally good news for those buying low value items from abroad.

I will wait and see how it goes!

Rod

Robert Atkinson 201/01/2021 19:27:48
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It looks to me that things have changed very recently. You have to make sure you are looking at the latest info. The .gov site does not remove much old data Mitchael's link seems to be the most recent guidance and the summary in para 2.3 says it all. You should now not pay VAT or Duty on items under £135 purchashed from abroad.
This has changed from when I last looked a few weeks ago when anything, except gifts up to £39, would be liable for VAT at import. It's a big change.

HMRC convincing off-shore companies to register for VAT and charge VAT at source is another issue. There was big purge of non UK/EU sellers on ebay recently who had registered for VAT, charged it to customersbut not paid HMRC.

Robert G8RPI.

Andy_G01/01/2021 21:40:52
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173 forum posts

What has happened to Michael Gilligan's original posts?

(There were several, pointing people to various sections of the document he linked to).

 

Edited By Andy Gray 3 on 01/01/2021 21:41:50

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