|Christmas shoppers looking for bargains overseas have been warned by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) not to get hit by unexpected charges.
Shoppers buying goods online from non-European Union (EU) countries, or travellers going abroad to do Christmas shopping, are advised to check how much they can buy before customs duty or import VAT are due.
HMRC’s Head of Customs Policy, Angela Shephard, said:
“We know many people like to go abroad at this time to buy their Christmas gifts, or buy online from non-EU countries, and think that the ‘cheaper’ price they see is always the price they finally pay. We want to remind everyone how much they can actually bring back from abroad or buy from an online overseas seller without having to pay customs duty or import VAT.
“Shoppers must always be cautious with websites that say they will undervalue your goods so you won’t pay VAT or offer famous ‘brand’ names at very low prices. HMRC knows about these sites and people who think they’ve found a bargain may actually end up paying more or having goods seized.
Detailed information on the non-EU limits for alcohol and tobacco products can be found on HMRC’s website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/arriving/arrivingnoneu.htm.
The duty-free limits for imports of alcohol and tobacco products from outside the EU are:
You can bring in either, but not both, of the following:
1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume
2 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), sparkling wine or any other alcoholic drink that is less than 22% volume
Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in one litre of fortified wine (half your full allowance) you can also bring in half a litre of spirits (half your full allowance). This would make up your full allowance and you can’t go over your total alcohol allowance.
In addition you may also bring back both of the following:
16 litres of beer
4 litres of still wine
You can bring in one from the following list:
250g of tobacco
Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in 100 cigarettes (half your full allowance) you can also bring in 25 cigars (half your full allowance). This would make up your full tobacco allowance.You can’t go over your total tobacco allowance.
You cannot combine alcohol and tobacco allowances.
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority