HMRC warning on overseas shopping limits
The Christmas excitement is really building now - the lights are on, and festive shopping has begun in earnest.
But if you are planning a trip across the Channel to buy some festive fizz or even a holiday to catch some winter sun, and you don't want your festive spirit dampened, there's a warning from HMRC about VAT and import duty.
What you need to knowIf you're going abroad - to a non-EU country - to do your Christmas shopping, you can bring in up to £390 worth of goods for personal use without paying customs duty or VAT (excluding tobacco and alcohol, which have separate allowances - you can see those here). Above these allowances and up to £630, there is a duty flat rate of 2.5 percent.
You may, however, be asked questions at the UK border if you have more than any of the following:
If you buy goods online or by mail order from retailers outside the EU you will have to pay VAT if the value of the package is over £15. If the goods are over £135 in value, customs duty may also be due, although this will depend on what they are and where they have been sent from. Where, however, the actual amount of duty due is less than £9, this will not be charged.
"HMRC is keen to remind the general public how much they can actually bring back from abroad or buy from an online overseas seller without having to pay import duty or VAT. You don't want to be faced with unexpected extra charges, when you thought you had found a bargain."