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I often treat myself to a parcel of HO stuff from the States every month or two. I used to risk going over the £18 limit and I got stung for VAT about 3 times out of 5. That was until I got done on a packet marked $28 when the exchange rate was £18 = $27.90. An £8 fee plus 17.5% VAT (as it once was) convinced me to stay under £18.

I can see that staying under £15 each time is going to mean more frequent parcels


Don is right about France. When I lived there, I got a couple of big parcels (but under $300) from the States and never got charged any VAT or import tax and the HO guys I was in contact with there never had any problems getting sets and stuff over. The 70€ fee on $300 would appear to be VAT (at 19.6%) and import tax (at 15%).

Personally, I would pay VAT on everything I buy from the States, if that's what the Government want and they made it easy. What I object to is paying a £8 handling fee on goods that might be worth only £20 and have my packet delayed by a week or more.

BTW, the postage cost has never been used in the calculation when I've been charged by customs. Maybe this is UK customs way of being 'kind' to us?
 

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6-8 days - that's a small packet by airmail from the US to the south coast.

Chris - We don't have to pay the local US sales tax. However we're supposed to pay a value-added tax on everything imported into the UK, as well as most things bought here. The rate is currently 20%, although there is no tax on basic foodstuffs and only 5% on domestic heating.
 
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