Everything you need to know about import duty

Everything you need to know about import duty

What is the rate of import duty in the UK?
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You’ll need to pay a UK customs duty on all imports from outside the UK if the value of the goods and any postage, packaging or insurance is above £135. The duty rates vary depending on the type of goods. You can use the HS codes (also known as commodity codes) to check the duty rates on GOV.UK.

You’ll also need to pay VAT on all commercial goods from outside the UK unless it’s a gift worth £39 or less. . The standard VAT rate is 20%. You can check if your goods qualify for a lower VAT rate on GOV.UK.

How is import duty calculated?

To check what duty and taxes you need to pay, you’ll first need to add together the value of the goods, the shipping costs and the cost of any insurance. Then, calculate the UK duty on this total based on the percentage that applies to your goods, for example 3%.

Add the UK duty to the combined value of the goods, shipping and insurance, then calculate the VAT you’ll need to pay, for example 20%.

Here’s an example:

Value of goods + shipping + insurance = £2,000

UK duty based on the HS codes for the goods = £166 (8.3%)

Subtotal = £2,166

20% VAT on £2,166 = £433.20

Total duty and taxes = £166 + £433.20 = £599.20

How to pay import duty

The courier or freight forwarder you use to import the goods should contact you to confirm how much you owe HMRC in duty and taxes and how to pay them.

Some companies will declare your goods to UK customs and pay the UK Duty and VAT on your behalf. They’ll then ask you to pay them the duty and VAT. You might be able to claim the VAT back in your VAT return depending on the goods and where you’re importing from.

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Niki Sehmbi
Senior Content Specialist | 8 years' experience in content marketing within the tech and finance space.
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