Here at I Still Call Australia Home, we’re specialists in sending Australian gifts and care packages to England and the UK.
However, we understand that sometimes you want to do it yourself.
So this blog gives advice on how to avoid hidden postage costs, customs, tax and duties; and most effectively get a beautiful Australian made gift to your loved ones, host family, or colleagues in the UK that they will love.
Firstly, select a gift that is light and small! This is because, for most international carriers, cost of postage is calculated based on the dimensional weight (also called volumetric or cubic weight), or the actual weight – whatever is heavier.
I.e. whatever is going to cost you the most!
Each freight carrier has a different calculation for the dimensional weight of a box. The calculation is generally a multiplier depending on the width/length/height of the package.
So for example, in the image above, the small box may contain very heavy things that weigh 5kg; while the large box may contain a feather - but both boxes will cost the same to send to the UK because the dimensional weight of the large box is so big.
Here are some links to calculate dimensional weight:
Secondly, you want to consider what you are going to put in your gift to get it posted BEFORE you buy it.
Australia Post sells a variety of different size boxes.... however you'll have to think carefully about what size you need.
If you choose a box that's too small, your items won't fit!
If you choose a box that's too big, you're going to pay extra in shipping costs (because of the dimensional weight issue discussed above); and you'll also need to buy void filler like bubble wrap, wood-wool or tissue paper to ensure your items don't move around too much and get damaged in transit.
Australia Post's standard Box 2 is 31 x 22.5 x 10.2cm; and their standard Box 3 is 40 x 20 x 18cm. So if, for example, you buy a nice mug and some of their favourite Australian treats, the width of the first box won't be high enough for the mug; but the second box might be way too big.
If you've already got a box and it's too big - you will need to buy void filler (an industry term for bubble-wrap; shredded paper; bubbly noodles; wood-wool or crushed up tissue paper).
See here for options to buy shred and other void-fillers.
Thirdly, consider what you are sending as this impacts the feasibility of getting through customs without incurring taxes and duties.
To avoid paying taxes and duties…
If you are sending via a courier and don’t follow these 3 golden rules, the UK will definitely charge the receiver duties and taxes. Essentially the person you are sending the present to, will have to pay to collect their gift.
If you are sending via a national carrier like Australia Post and don't follow these 3 golden rules, your gift will be stopped and checked for applicable taxes and duties approximately 5-8% of the time. I.e. the person you are sending the present to, will have to pay to collect their gift only 5%-8% of the time. So you COULD take your chances!
Yes, they will be charged even though it is a gift!!! If the receiver refuses to pay the duties and taxes applied, your gift will be returned back to you.
Here at I Still Call Australia Home.com® we cover all taxes and duties as part of our freight cost, so you never have to worry about this embarrassing situation.
There are 3 types of taxes in the UK for Australian gifts sent to the UK:-
In addition to the above rules – do not send the following items under any circumstances:
Animals and animal products; Pharmaceutical products; Plants and plant products; Radio transmitters; Sealskins; Tobacco and tobacco products; Vegetables; Weapons.
So little May Gibb's Snugglepot and Cuddle-pie are out! But her lovely books and gift products are definitely ok 😉
As stated above, there are 3 golden rules if you wan to make sure you avoid taxes and duties:
Finally, people in the UK like Australia....It’s a little disappointing to receive a beautiful parcel from overseas only to find the gift isn’t Australian made.
To be sure, look for the certified Australian made logo.
The logo either says
If this is all too hard (and it is time consuming!) select a site who specialise in sending Australian made gifts to the UK. For one price they’ll cover all freight, duties and taxes; and send a beautiful Australian gift to the UK with a personalised card on your behalf. (shameless plug!).
And as an added bonus, your gift will be tracked door-to-door and they’ll let you know when it’s signed for at the other end.