Everything you need to know to post a special gift from Australia to the UK and avoid paying taxes and duties
HOW TO SEND GIFTS TO THE UK FROM AUSTRALIA WITHOUT PAYING TAXES AND DUTIES
Has the person receiving your Australian gift in the UK had to pay taxes and duties to receive it? You will never see these taxes and duties, but your receiver in the UK may be asked to pay them before collecting their gift from their local post office.
About 10% of gifts get thoroughly checked when going through local mail services; and 100% get checked when going through courier companies like DHL, Toll and FedX.
There are 3 types of taxes that can be charged in the UK when you send a gift – VAT, Customs Duty, Excise Duty.
Here’s our top tips on how to avoid all three:-
1. KEEP THE TOTAL GIFT VALUE UNDER GBP 39
Make sure the total gift value + shipping + insurance is under GBP 39. You will need to declare this on your package when you send your gift
Why do this?
- Avoid VAT
- One of the taxes that could be charged is “Value Added Tax”, or “VAT”. This is the equivalent of the GST in Australia and is charged at a rate of 20%. There are a few items that are VAT free, and this list is always changing. We recommend you just stick to the under GBP 39 rule to be on the safe side
- Avoid Customs Duty
- Customs duty is a separate fee to tax (VAT), and is waived for any item under GBP 135 in value with the exception of alcohol (see below).
2. DO NOT SEND ALCOHOL
Do not send alcohol.
- Why not?
Avoid Excise Duty. While it’s perfectly ok to send lovely Australian wine or spirits to the UK, Excise duty will be applied regardless of the total value of your gift and the fact that it IS a gift you are sending.
3. GET YOUR DOCUMENTATION RIGHT
Even though this is a gift, getting your documentation right is pretty important.
Make sure it is clear what is in the package by itemising each item and the value of each item. Even though it is a bit impersonal to do this when you know the gift receiver is going to see it, it’s far better to do this and have the gift go through than not at all!
- Clearly mark the item is a gift for personal use only
- If your gift is for more than one person, you can get away with the value of the gift + shipping + insurance to be under GBP 36 per person only if you clearly mark this on documention and gifts are individually wrapped and addressed to individuals with separate tags. We recommend you also make this clear on the outer of your packaging / invoice.
4. DON’T SEND ANYTHING ON THE PROHIBITED LIST
Double-check this list from Australia post that shows restricted and prohibited items to the UK – don’t send anything that is ‘prohibited’ – it will get sent back!
The main prohibited items for gifts for the UK include perishable food (i.e. food that will go off quickly if you leave it on a bench); dairy items; weapons of any kind; botanical gifts of any kind like live flowers, for example; or anything that could be classified as organic matter.
5. NEED MORE ADVICE?
Please note, everything in this blog is information based on our experience and is to the best of our knowledge at time of print. For more information see links above.