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Buying stuff from America

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Last time i was in America i found this make up that i love but i cant find anywhere here so i was going to buy it off the internet, however i want to know before hand if i'm im going to be charged ridiculous amounts, i'm meaning more along the lines taxes and the like

Anyone know of anything that'll add to the amount? I'll be spending about $60 and i dont want to end up paying loads more.

Can anyone be of any help?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    YOu are technically liable to pay excise duty on imports and it can be quite high, about 20% of the total price of the goods quite often.

    Most places send them under customs notes saying its a gift, which aren't taxable, but its something to be aware of. Especially as if tax is payable royal mail won't deliver and will charge you quite a steep admin charge.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oooh thanks a lot

    Thats definately something i'll think about.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's actually quite complicated to figure out what you might pay
    Okay this is actually quite complicated as perfume and cosmetics are excise goods - the same as tobacco and alcohol.

    Normally when importing something over £18 or £36 for a gift, you have to pay VAT and import duty based on the rates in the following list.


    However because what you are importing is also subject to excise allowance - that can be a huge amount - often in excess of the value of what you've bought.

    I can't actually track down the exact price but I'd suggest checking with the HMRC themselves as this can be very expensive. You can call on 0845 010 9000 to find out the exact amount.

    There is a way you can import excise goods as a gift from a friend but I'd be wary of anyone you buy from claiming they can do this - the rules around excise goods are far stricter in most countries than just slapping a ribbon on a dvd to save a 3 quid VAT charge.

    You are also likely to have to pay 17.5% VAT on the goods as well - which is what I assume Kermit meant by the 20% charge. For example excise duty on fags is a hell of a lot more - it's 22 per cent of the retail price plus £108.65 per thousand cigarettes. Then you've got 17.5% VAT on top of that.

    (Mind you with fags you've then got to pay 57.5% of the value again for the standard duty which doesn't apply to perfume and cosmetics).

    I'd really advise ringing HMRC before buying - or more importantly looking on ebay - I guarantee someone's selling it there from the UK - in which case you'll obviously paying nothing on import.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm sure you already know what it is... but make sure to watch out for the shipping costs... though shops probably have some sort of deal with UPS and what not, costs me more to ship regular postal service overseas than athe cost of anything I've ever sent!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oop - hold on - may be some hope - according to an August 2007 notice perfume and toilet water doesn't pay tax below 50 gms of perfume or 0.25 litres of toilet water. The way the note is written it doesn't seem to even mention make-up - so definately call customs and check, although the early link implies cosmetics are all excise goods, they may not be.


    So yeah, may have gone all the way round the houses just to agree with Kermits 20% :p
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