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Subject: UK Import Tax on games rss

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Steve M
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I live in the UK, and I recently bought Tanto Cuore:Expanding the House from CardHaus in America. I paid $39.95 for the game itself, and $48.87 shipping with UPS (UPS Worldwide Saver® service).

When the parcel turns up, the courier is expecting me to pay £14.24 'import tax' at my front door. This is not something I've heard of before. He won't accept a credit or debit card, he hasn't got change when I try and give him money, and he's not going to give me a receipt until I request one. Naturally, this all sounds pretty dodgy to me, so I ring UPS to confirm, and surprisingly they tell me yes, there's an import tax on all goods imported to the Uk with value £15 or over. In fact, here's some info I found from HM Revenue and Customs:

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPort...


2 things now confuse me greatly. The first is where the figure of £14.24 was arrived from? If it's import VAT then it's 20% of something, namely 20% of £71.20. I paid a total of £58.27 including postage and packing. I suppose if you add the tax on the total comes to £72.51, which is close, but this would mean that I'd paid not only to import the goods, but also to import the postal costs, and to import the import VAT itself?

The second is why nobody I talk to has ever head of this before. Why is this? Is the cost of import VAT usually announced more obviously at point of sale and therefore expected? Is this tax new? Is it often simply overlooked by HM Customs because the aren't aware of the value of the goods being imported? Or have I just learned an important life lesson about buying goods from overseas?

Thanks for any information you can provide.

(edit: corrected some $ and £ signs)
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Eric Larson
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Enjoy that healthcare. You just paid for it.
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Jonathan Warren
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I'm afraid to tell you that your figure sounds about right to me. It is completely normal to incur customs/import duty when importing games. Customs duty begins with anything over the value of £15.

A package costing $40 (and $48 shipping) will cost approximately £11.25 import duty and then on top of that, handling charges will apply from your courier (which vary between couriers). You can't get around this easily - it is illegal for companies to mark as a 'gift' to try and circumvent the import taxes. If you have never been charged import duty before, then you are very lucky. This is the real cost of importing games from the US.
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Mark Raciborski
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I stopped buy stuff from the UK because of shipping cost to the US, can remember a time before EBay, you searched newsgroups for stuff for sale, when shipping didn't take you to the cleaners, the bank did, $35 bucks charge to convert dollars to pounds, cut a check. Remember buying a hard to find steam engine for a good price and having to eat that charge because of no online payments at the time, 1/3 of the cost of the engine in shipping.

So please tell me you paid $48.87 total not in addition to the price? ..and $48.87 shipping..???? Plus an import tax??? For that kind of money the guy delivering it should offer to read the rules to you and play the first game, bring you six pack of cold beer.:)


 
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Bartosz Trzaskowski

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shteev wrote:
Is it often simply overlooked by HM Customs because the aren't aware of the value of the goods being imported? Or have I just learned an important life lesson about buying goods from overseas?


Both. And it's a lesson about buying NEW goods from outside of EU.

It's not that easy to avoid customs. One way that usually works is to have someone in US buy the game(s) for you, remove the shrink (to make them used) and then send them to you declaring a much lower value. Technically it's not cheating since it's hard to judge the value of a used game, and custom officers usually have not idea what may be their value anyhow.
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Jim F
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You pay VAT on the goods and the cost of the shipping. The Post Office then charges you an £8 handling fee for the final kick in the teeth.
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Jonathan Warren
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Ashiefan wrote:

You pay VAT on the goods and the cost of the shipping. The Post Office then charges you an £8 handling fee for the final kick in the teeth.

Sorry, my mistake. Of course the shipping factors into the total overall cost. Edited my post above.

danamark wrote:
So please tell me you paid $48.87 total not in addition to the price? ..and $48.87 shipping..???? Plus an import tax??? For that kind of money the guy delivering it should offer to read the rules to you and play the first game, bring you six pack of cold beer.

Spending $48 shipping on this game makes the total price around £55 (if I'm reading your figures correctly). You might as well have gone to GamesLore and bought a copy from within the UK for less. My question would be, why on earth did you buy from the US in the first place? It rarely saves money to buy an individual game direct from the US (assuming it is available direct from the UK).

Edit: Sorry, I see that the game is still on pre-order on this side of the pond, but still, is it worth the extra £20 (without thinking of the customs/handling charges) just to get this early?
 
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Jonathan Warren
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Here is a site that might help for next time: http://www.dutycalculator.com/
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Tony Ackroyd
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Engineer Dad wrote:
Enjoy that healthcare. You just paid for it.

Of course there are a few other things we paid for here.
Like the US postal service not offering a surface option for international postage.
The UK does. And it does to the US.
For some reason the US postal service doesn't offer an economically sensible option for shipping overseas.
What are you getting for that?

And £15 for universal healthcare seems like a bargain. You guys in the US really don't get the whole deal.
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Kris Verbeeck
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I had an even bigger problems with movies I got from Hong Kong.
Except it was worse. I was going through the bargain bin and bought 20 movies for 25 dollars. and i added some Hong kong candy as well. For a grand total of 30 dollar.

Shipping was 30 dollars as well. So a total of 60 dollars.

Now well they held my package at customs and I only found out because I called them repeatedly.


Now they said the value declared wasn't right and made a valuation themselves of 200 euro

I mailed them the links to the movies and thee prices but they wouldn't read it.
I had the choice to pay 47 euro taxes or have it "destroyed"

Since then the only thing I imported from outside europe was the Hilinski crokinole board.

Again it was held up at customs . To make a long story short I paid almost double the price of what it would have been in the states. I knew shipping would be expensive but I really don't understand why they have to add tax on shippingg to (they have to but as an economic I don't think there is any value added by shipping something. BTW I was trying to work out why I had to pay so much taxes and the only way I got o the total was that they picked the worst conversion rate inside a month to get there.

How much I would like to trade games and join math trades I simply can't because it doesn't add up. I have to pay as much as for shipping one game and paying customs for the other as the actual cost of the other game if I'm unlucky.


It has not been all bad though. My secret santa did a great job on the customs bill. He and his elves made a copy of the then OOP Wiz War for me.
I only had to pay handling fees (ten euro) no taxes on the handmade game.

The other good experience I had is with a single traingame in a plastic shell send as a big envelope. No costs at all.









 
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Arthur Dickie
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1000rpm wrote:
Engineer Dad wrote:
Enjoy that healthcare. You just paid for it.

Of course there are a few other things we paid for here.
Like the US postal service not offering a surface option for international postage...


I'm not sure that surface posting is a significant portion of government expenditure. The top 3 things that our taxes go on are: 1) Pensions (19% of government spending); healthcare (17%); and welfare (15%).

As regards what you pay for your "universal healthcare" - work out what 17% of your income tax for the year is - but that ain't the half of it. There is VAT; fuel duty; the taxes on the profits of the companies you buy stuff from; and taxes on the salaries of their employees (and a whole load of other taxes). You'll need to add in 17% of all of that too.

You may end up concluding that your "free at the point of delivery" healthcare isn't such a bargain after all.

(I didn't start this)
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Andrew Smith
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Sadly, Steve, this is the way it is. This is the reason why I very rarely buys games direct from USA eg GMT P500.

I allow for the cost of these extras and then decide is the P500 discount makes a game worth while. Sadly it very rarely does.

However, if I ever go over to USA, I usually have a big box of games waiting for me at the hotel...

Andrew

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simon thornton
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Ive got games via GMT 500 , sometimes I havent been charged tax (I dunno why ,I certainly didnt ask) and that meant they were quite cheap. Sometimes I was charged tax and ended up with the price I would have paid for them in the UK perhaps a £1-£5 more. Its a bit of a lottery
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John McD
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And really, I don't think the government has much choice. You can see from the massive explosion, since the internet got popular, of online shops shipping pretty much all their mass market goods to you from Jersey or Luxemborgn if they squeeze into that sub £15 category.


Try and buy a music CD from a major online shop that doesn't ship from outside the UK and you can see what would happen to revenues if they dropped the tax outright.
 
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Jim F
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BlackSpy wrote:
And really, I don't think the government has much choice. You can see from the massive explosion, since the internet got popular, of online shops shipping pretty much all their mass market goods to you from Jersey or Luxemborgn if they squeeze into that sub £15 category.


Try and buy a music CD from a major online shop that doesn't ship from outside the UK and you can see what would happen to revenues if they dropped the tax outright.


Well, in the medieval period they had guilds that stopped anyone from setting up rival businesses in the same town.

It's a global market and these artificial tariffs might offer some form of protection to national businesses and taxation revenue but ultimately they reduce levels of trade and in a recession I don't see many people benefiting from that.

Speaking as a capitalist...
 
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Chris
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Up until last year RM was probably in breach of law by retaining packages by virtue of lien until the customer paid an extortionate charge to RM for paying VAT to HMRC on the customer's behalf. The 2011 Act seems to give them carte blanc to hold items now. However, OFCOM is allowed to tell an operator that their fees are too high.

I don't know that this applies to couriers since I don't know if they count as providers of postal services but they might. Complaints to OFCOM might see RM charges brought down to a reasonable level rather than a 50% tax on a £15 item.

I have, in years past, sometimes found it cheaper to make several small purchases, even with the additional P&H costs. Might not be viable now with the pound on its downward spiral of the past few years.
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John
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » Discussing Retailers
Re: UK Import Tax on games
One of the worst parts of the tax is that they often will hold the package to calculate and verify their tax slowing the delivery process.........way..........down.....

So you start thinking your order got lost in the shipping process, and then one day you receive a knock at your door from the bill collector ie. the postman.

surprise


 
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