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VAT Charges/ Import Duties On Internationally Received Goods

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So I ordered this 10" tablet from Gearbest. One of the reasons I chose it is because of the price. It was around 60 pounds. But on the invoice it says $38, this is standard practice when sending international parcels because you are supposed to write down the manufacturing cost rather than include the retailer profit. 

So I should be paying around 6 pounds in VAT for this according to the price on the invoice. Definitely it shouldn't take into account the price I paid for the item, that information isn't even available to them. 

So how much did HMRC charge me for this? 17 pounds!! Incredible that's actually almost 30% of the price I paid for this and three times higher than the 6 pounds it should have been.

If I call up HMRC will they fix this for me, or am I screwed? I will definitely try to dispute these charges but I want to know if anyone else has experience with this.

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1 hour ago, developer said:

.....on the invoice it says $38, this is standard practice when sending international parcels because you are supposed to write down the manufacturing cost rather than include the retailer profit.

I've imported a variety of goods from the US and Far East and have never had just the manufacturing cost specified by the vendor.

I don't believe duty is payable on a tablet but VAT should be levied not only on the full price you paid for the goods but also on shipping costs and (any) transit insurance.

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7 hours ago, Boomer Baby said:

I've imported a variety of goods from the US and Far East and have never had just the manufacturing cost specified by the vendor.

I don't believe duty is payable on a tablet but VAT should be levied not only on the full price you paid for the goods but also on shipping costs and (any) transit insurance.

The theory is levied on the full price for the goods, but in reality no one pays on the full price. If a company can buy something in wholesale from China have have the priced marked down significantly then why can't a consumer? I've ran my own wholesale business before from China, and I say you don't know what you are talking about. Besides the amount they are trying to charge me is about 30% of the full price I paid, not 20%.

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OP, there's a good chance the rest of the charge are admin costs by the carrier. They usually pay it for you when it enters the country, and then try to get it back off you afterwards.  With some, but not many vendors, you can opt to pay any tax in advance. Amazon.com do this, for example. 

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There is this bizarre loophole that Gearbest seemingly tries to exploit by sending in goods via Holland. Supposedly you end up paying less or no import tax doing it this way. It gets shipped to their operation in Holland and then on to you. Supposedly. I am not so convinced. Some Chinese etailers also allegedly put low prices on each item in, some argue, a way of further reducing any taxation attempt. Other etailers in HK and China now have operations in countries such as Holland, Spain, etc.

It all sounds a tad suspicous to me. But it seems to work as so many goods are now coming from China and HK that HMRC cannot physically check all the parcels coming in. I suspect they only check a handful and some people are unlucky to have their parcels checked. Seems yours was and, HMRC now being on to the above, have a standard sum to charge for a tablet.

At the end of the day the price you have paid combined appears to be much less than you would pay in a UK shop.

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11 hours ago, developer said:

I've ran my own wholesale business before from China, and I say you don't know what you are talking about. 

Surprisingly aggressive response given (i) what I wrote regarding having imported goods myself is correct and (ii) in each case I was charged VAT on invoice price plus import duty, shipping and insurance.

Lacking your experience of running my own wholesale business from China but needing to import car parts from Thailand and the US I asked HMRC what costs would be involved.

They advised that any duty required to be levied would be added to the invoice price, shipping and insurance with VAT payable on the total. 

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1 hour ago, Boomer Baby said:

 

They advised that any duty required to be levied would be added to the invoice price, shipping and insurance with VAT payable on the total. 

That's correct, but a smart supplier never writes a retail price on an invoice that will be taxed unless their own government have strict regulations on it which is the case in some countries. Or they might not care how much tax you pay if you are a one off retail customer.

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We have stopped sending christmas and birthday gifts back to UK based friends and family due to the outrageous charges added by HMRC.  box of second hand baby clothes?  that'll be 46 quid tax please.

*******.

So - I buy amazon.uk and get them even less tax than they would have got otherwise.

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4 hours ago, wherebee said:

We have stopped sending christmas and birthday gifts back to UK based friends and family due to the outrageous charges added by HMRC.  box of second hand baby clothes?  that'll be 46 quid tax please.

*******.

So - I buy amazon.uk and get them even less tax than they would have got otherwise.

Yeah it's ridiculous. The cost of living/ taxes here are almost as bad as Australia but at least in Australia you get to live near the beach and have good weather most of the year. There is very little I like about this country. As soon as my mobile app is done and takes off I'm going to leave :P

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