When sending and receiving goods from overseas, there are certain laws that need to be adhered to, local tax implications and also local restrictions that may be based on local laws, cultural influences or religious beliefs. Whatever you are shipping, whether private or commercial, it’s important that you understand the customs requirements of where you are posting to or receiving goods from.
UK Customs Liability
Are you aware that most goods arriving in the UK from outside the European Union (EU) are liable to import VAT and Customs duty if certain limits are exceeded? Some goods are also liable for excise duty. Any charges due must be paid on goods in all the following circumstances if set limits are exceeded:
• Goods were purchased or received as a gift.
• Goods are new or used – it makes no difference.
• Whether goods are for private use or for commercial sale.
Any charges due in Customs Duty are raised by the Customs staff at the postal depots where the packages are received. Any import charges due will depend on the type of goods imported and their value. This information is stated on the Customs declaration form CN22 or CN23. Goods are not chargeable if the total value of goods in the consignment does not exceed £15. Goods over £15 are liable for VAT.
Here at UK Postbox, we can handle your customs duty payments on your behalf, making the process very simple and quick. Please contact us for more details. For more information on importing goods and import charges, visit: HMRCs website.
If you are exporting goods, it’s important to ensure that the following procedures are met:
• When you send a package to a non-EU country through the Royal Mail parcel service, you must complete a Customs declaration on form CN22 or CN23.
• When you send a package to a non-EU country using a private courier service, you must complete a Commercial invoice.
Here at UK Postbox we will produce these documents for you. When you forward items to us, you will be asked for the relevant information so that the required documents are produced, ensuring that your items are correctly exported.
Any import duty charged at the point of import will be liable by the receiver and handled by the relevant customs and their procedures.
For more information on exporting of goods to a non-EU country, visit:
When it comes to restricted and prohibited goods, it is essential that you follow the set guidelines. For safety reasons and to comply with national and international regulations, there are both restricted and prohibited items from the postal and courier network.
If you are shipping goods, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not posting or shipping any restricted or prohibited items. It is essential to make sure that you know what is and what isn’t allowed to be shipped, otherwise you could find that you are prosecuted for shipping prohibited goods.
To have peace of mind, before shipping any goods, here is a list of current prohibited and restricted goods.
Please note this list is correct at time of production (June 2016 ). This list may change, so be sure to always check before sending anything that you are unsure of:
• Cash (bank notes, currency notes and coins).
• Complete firearms, ammunition, explosives / explosive devices.
• Human remains or ashes.
• Illegal goods and ivory. This can include items that are country-specific (e.g. the importation of alcohol and pornography)
and commodities considered to be illegal internationally, such as counterfeit goods, ivory and certain narcotics
(e.g. heroin, cocaine).
• Live animals (including but not limited to mammals, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, insects, larvae and pupae).
• Loose lithium metal batteries under IATA PI968 section II.
• Loose precious and semi-precious stones (cut or un-cut, polished or unpolished).
• Air guns, imitation or replica firearms, firearm parts and replica ammunition (includes rifle butts, trigger mechanisms,
screws/bolts etc which are manufactured for the sole purpose of creating a functional firearm).
• Antiques and works of art with a shipment value in excess of EUR 500,000.
• Banderols/Tax stickers with a shipment value in excess of EUR 500,000.
• Cigarettes and electronic cigarettes with a shipment value in excess of EUR 500,000.
• Dangerous / hazardous goods including but not limited to perfumes, aftershaves, aerosols, flammable substances, dry ice, biological substances, UN classified dangerous goods and any goods specified as such under International Air Transport Association regulations (“IATA”), the Agreement on Dangerous Goods by Road (“ADR”) or International Maritime Dangerous Goods (“IMDG”) regulations. Applicable to all shipments valued in excess of EUR 500,000.
• Financial and monetary commodities – examples include but are not limited to activated SIM cards for mobile phones, blank or
activated credit or cash dispenser cards, blank cheques, event tickets, lottery tickets, money or postal orders, pre-paid
phone cards, tickets (blank stock), traveller’s cheques, vouchers/tokens, unused stamps etc. Applicable to all shipments valued
in excess of EUR 500,000.
• Jewellery and watches and with individual values in excess of EUR 5,000. The shipment must not exceed EUR 100,000.
If you have any queries or are unsure, then our LIVE CHAT is there to answer any questions that you may have.