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How to find out how much import duty to pay on internet purchases?

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If you want to buy something over the internet from a website abroad, then you may have to pay import duty and import VAT on it. This is a confusing and complicated area, and the amount you might have to pay will depend upon several different criteria. So, what should you do and look out for when decided to buy something from overseas and have it delivered home?
What you'll need: 
The value of the item you are purchasing.
The HMRC website.
First it is important to know if the item you wish to buy is prohibited or allowed to be imported. Generally things like food, tobacco and alcohol, knives and dangerous weapons are restricted or prohibited. If you are buying tobacco or alcohol you will have to pay Excise duty too. Check HMRC website for a list of allowed items.
Tax and duty are not payable on items bought within the EU. But, if you are buying something from outside the EU, for example the USA, you may have to pay.
Next you will need to use the value of the item to calculate any duties and taxes owed.
If the value of the item exceeds £135 you may have to pay import duty. If the value exceeds £15 you will have to pay import VAT. But, duty will be waived if the amount of duty owed is £9 or under. If the item is a gift you you will have to pay VAT if the item is valued at £36 or over. Multiple items, if packaged separately qualify for the allowances on each item.
If you are not sure, you can contact Customs for help and advice.
Make sure the supplier completes an accurate Customs Declaration
Beware of importing banned or restricted goods.


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