THE 4 BIGGEST MISTAKES AUSTRALIANS MAKE WHEN SENDING GIFTS TO THE UK AND HOW TO AVOID THEM!
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.
1. THE WEIGHT OF YOUR CARE PACKAGE – WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Firstly, select a gift that is lightandsmall! This is because, for most international carriers, cost of postage is calculated based on thedimensionalweight (also called volumetric or cubic weight),ortheactualweight – 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).
3. WHAT TO SEND – MAKE SURE THE RECEIVER DOESN’T PAY UK TAXES & DUTIES ON YOUR AUSTRALIAN GIFT
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…
Make sure your parcel is marked as a ‘gift’ and clearly details what is included in the package on the outside of the parcel
Ensure the value of your gift is less than the equivalent GBP 36 and this value is also clearly shown in your own currency (approx AUD $57 – $77 depending on the exchange rate)
Do not include alcohol or tobacco
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.
3.1 WHAT ARE THE TAXES AND DUTIES?
There are 3 types of taxes in the UK for Australian gifts sent to the UK:-
(i) VAT - “Value Added Tax” – this is our equivalent of GST and is charged depending on the type of product in your gift. The standard VAT rate is 20% and is charged on gifts sent from Australia with a total value over GBP 36 , where the total value includes:
the price paid for the goods
postage, packaging and insurance
any duty you owe
(ii) Customs duty– this is waived for items less than GBP135 in value
(iii) Excise duty – this is a charge levied when sending alcohol – regardless if it is a gift or not
3.2 PROHIBITED ITEMS
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.
‘Proud Retail Supporter’ – companies like us - I Still Call Australia Home - use this as it shows they actively try to buy Australian made products.
‘Product of Australia’ – this means the product is 100% made in Australia
‘Made in Australia’ – this means the majority of the product is made in Australia (*technical definition is that 80% of manufacturing costs are in Australia)
SO IN SUMMARY:-
If you’re doing it yourself…
1. Pick something light AND small
2. Think about your packaging before you buy your gift and make sure you have the right ‘fit’ packaging
3. If you don’t want your receiver to pay duties and taxes, ensure your gift’s value is under GBP 36 and doesn’t contain prohibited items or alcohol. Make sure you clearly mark this on your customs declaration form