Tax and customs for goods sent from abroad


Anything posted or couriered to you goes through customs to check it isn’t banned or restricted and you pay the right tax and ‘duty’ (customs charges) on it.

This includes anything new or used that you:

  • buy online
  • buy abroad and send back to the UK
  • receive as a gift

Your responsibilities

You may have to pay VAT, Customs Duty or Excise Duty on goods sent from outside the European Union (EU) before you can collect them.

You don’t pay VAT or Customs Duty when your things are sent back to you – they must be described as ‘personal belongings’ on the customs declaration.

You must also check that the sender:

Your goods may be seized if you don’t follow the rules. You may also be fined or prosecuted.