sending gift To the UK

Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 11:57 AM
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sending gift To the UK

Hi,

I want to ship a gift to the UK after a very enjoyable trip (just finished the report).

A few web searches have informed me that duty and VAT are req'd. I think I will choose to pay those so the gift is really a gift! The value is less than $100, but more than $40.

Some searches here on Fodors are all about shipping to the US from Europe. I hope some voices of experience can share advice for shipping the other way: paperwork, recommended shipper (USPS, UPS, DHL)?

TIA!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 12:23 PM
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Not sure what type of gift you plan on shipping, but here's teh address of my parents who will glady recieve the gift.....

Okay, I'm only joking. I would consider purchasing a gift online from a UK retailer who can ship the product, this way you won't need to worry about duty and VAT.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 12:57 PM
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If you have not yet bought your gift, you could order something from Amazon UK or another British shop and have it delivered.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. I will check on that ...

It's a really good idea to try, just that what I want to send is not available. I will keep looking, and also ask about this at my post office.
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 12:06 AM
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You can't prepay VAT (or the shipper's admin charges). Just about the only VAT-free goods you can send are:
- books
- children's clothes
- legally importable food, like cakes

Import duty in Britain is generally trivial and is waived if the goods are worth over £135, or if the duty payable is £9 or less.

Using a courier company almost certainly involves your having to fill in more complex paperwork than the simple green Customs declaration your post office will give you if you use the mail (the widespread US belief that you can't trust the post office is incomprehensibled here).

So, if you send a book by post, you write "books" and give the value on the green form. It gets delivered with the rest of the mail 24 hours after arriving at the departing US airport (often several days faster than DHL can manage). If you say "jeans", and give the value as £100, there'll be no duty to pay, but there's a high likelihood it'll be delayed a day, and the recipient will have to go to the nearest mail delivery centre to pay the £17.50 VAT plus whatever admin cost Royal Mail slaps on.

For small VAT-liable, gifts, it really IS a great deal easier for the recipient for you to buy on the web from a UK business or from a US business that will deliver from its own UK warehouse.
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 03:28 AM
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Thank you for the information, flanneruk!
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