THE 4 BIGGEST MISTAKES AUSTRALIANS MAKE WHEN SENDING GIFTS TO THE UK AND HOW TO AVOID THEM!

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

weight of australian gift to the UK

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:

 

2. PACKAGING – THINK BEFORE YOU BUY!

packaging a gift to the uk

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.

australian-gifts-to-the-uk

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.


australian-gifts-to-the-uk

 

3.1 WHAT ARE THE TAXES AND DUTIES?

UK Taxes and Duties on an Australian Gift

 

 

 

 

 

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

restricted items you can't send 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 😉

 

3.3 HOW DO I AVOID THE RECEIVER PAYING TAXES AND DUTIES ON MY AUSTRALIAN GIFT TO THE UK?

As stated above, there are 3 golden rules if you wan to make sure you avoid taxes and duties:

  • Make sure your parcel is marked as ‘gift’ and clearly shows what is included in the package
  • Ensure the value of your gift is less than the equivalent GBP 36 (AUD $57 – $77 depending on exchange rate)
  • Do not include alcohol or tobacco
  • OR buy off a company like I Still Call Australia Home®

 

4. BUYING AUSTRALIAN MADE

australian made gifts

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

  • ‘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
  • 4. Look for the Australian made logo

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.

#winning!

 

USEFUL LINKS:


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