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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A railway modeller has had cause to question the amount of duty payable on goods shipped from the USA and has had a shocking reply from Customs and Excise. Slot cars no doubt fall into the same catagory as model trains so it is relevent. The total charges levied in the future as a result of a trade dispute with the USA (our allies???? ) will be 17% and then a further 17.5% and all this on the value of the goods including shipping charges and any insurance!!!

And this applies to gifts!

What a total rip off.


"I recently had cause to contact Customs & Excise to enquire about why I was charged what seemed to me to be a large amount of duty on some locos imported from the US. I've attached a copy of their reply.

Most goods imported into the UK from a country outside the EU are liable to customs duty and VAT charges. These charges must be paid whether you purchase the goods or receive them as a gift, the goods are new or used or whether the goods are for your private use or for sale.

The rate of customs duty payable depends upon the tariff classification and commodity code applicable to the particular goods. Model railway goods are most probably classified under tariff heading 9503. To obtain the commodity code applicable to your goods, please contact the Tariff Classification Service on tel 01702 366077 (Monday-Friday 0830-1700).

Most goods classified under 9503 are free of customs duty. However, an ongoing trade dispute between the EU and the USA has resulted in the introduction of Council Regulation (EC) No 2193/2003 which establishes additional customs duties on imports of certain products originating in the USA. This Regulation imposed an additional duty of 5% from 1 March 2004 rising by 1% for each month culminating in a final rate of 17% in March 2005. Twenty two of the thirty two commodity codes under tariff heading 9503 are subject to this additional duty. To confirm whether or not the commodity code applicable to your goods is included in the Regulation, please contact the National Advice Service on tel 0845 010 9000 (Monday-Friday 0800-2000).

Model railway goods are subject to VAT at the standard rate of 17.5%.

Customs duty is charged on the customs value of the goods. This value consists of the cost of the goods plus the cost of shipment to the UK plus any insurance costs connected with shipment. VAT is charged on the customs value plus the duty.

I trust that the above is helpful to you.

Regards

Bernard Stather, H M Customs & Excise"


Moped

(This information appears at Model Railway Express Magazine)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The bottom line is if you are a Euro (not just a Brit) ultimately be prepared for a bill from Customs and Excise (or whatever they are called across Europe) in excess of 40% of the retail price of goods if those goods are purchased from the USA.


What a world trade rip off!


Moped
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
There has been further correspondence at the on-line model railway magazine which makes interesting reading:-

"Import Duties

If a parcel is shipped from the USA it will be taxed as a shipment from the USA. Marking a different country of origin on the outside will not deter Customs. Import duty applies to all items with a value of £18 or more. Gifts are allowed duty free up to a limit of £30 but these have to be sent from a private address to a private address. Marking a commercial item as 'gift' will not avoid import duty. Also, shipping via another EU country will not avoid tax, I know several US companies that tried it. Parcels are routinely searched at random and this can add 1-3 weeks to the usual delivery time.

Beware of the 'Customs Trap'. This is where a large consignment of goods is shipped via a courier such as UPS or Federal Express. There is an additional surcharge made to the shipping cost by the retailer. This is not the full charge. A week or two after the goods arrive you will receive an invoice for the full Customs amount plus a charge by the courier for collecting the Duty plus VAT on the cost of that! This is often accompanied by a letter threatening legal action if the charge is not paid. Complaining to the retailer that you were not told any of this beforehand is unlikely to produce any sympathy.

What is sickening is that I am told that Australian customers are allowed to import up to A$500 (about £250) for personal use. That is because it would cost more to collect import duty on smaller shipments than the revenue it generates. I refuse to believe that Australian Customs are any less efficient than UK Customs so it seems to me we are being taxed purely for the sake of being taxed.

Kim Pateman

-----

In response to the inquiries regarding import duty on model railway locos. I spoke with customs today and was advised that the duty rate only applies to goods manufactured in the USA. However if the goods are imported from the USA but manufactured in China then an official certificate of origin issued by the manufacturer must be obtained to qualify for the duty free status. This only applies of course if you are importing the goods from the USA. As has previously been stated these goods are duty free but subject to vat at the standard rate.

I hope this clarifies the matter.

Stephen Leek"

QUOTE However if the goods are imported from the USA but manufactured in China then an official certificate of origin issued by the manufacturer must be obtained to qualify for the duty free status.

Don't raise your hopes on this one as it is unlikely that any of the big manufacturers that produce out of China are likely to issue a certificate as a one off for something of low value like a slot car however there is nothing to stop them printing off a large batch to distribute to stockists in the USA to enable them to include a certificate with any sales to Europe.

Maybe if any USA retailers are viewing they would consider making a request of their suppliers to provide such certificates for inclusion with any export sales made to Europe. Maybe this request should be made through Slotcarillustrated?


Moped
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
For anybody who is into the background of all this I have found an official website. A retailer who imports a lot of stock from the USA has indicated to his customers that he will have to increase prices monthly to cover the 1% duty hike each month and this surcharge currently stands at 10%. Remember that the 17.5% VAT is charged on this surcharge aswell! It only applies to his USA based products and not kit imported from, say, Japan. He provided this link as background:_

http://www.dti.gov.uk/ewt/wtorules.htm

Happy reading!



Moped
 
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