Tax and customs for goods sent from abroad

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Overview

Anything posted or couriered to you from another country goes through customs to check it is not banned or restricted and you pay the right tax and ‘duty’ 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

Before receiving your goods, you may have to pay VAT, Customs Duty or Excise Duty if they were sent to:

  • Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) from outside the UK
  • Northern Ireland from countries outside the UK and the European Union (EU)

You must also check that the sender:

  • pays Excise Duty on any alcohol or tobacco sent from the EU to Northern Ireland
  • declares goods correctly if they’re sent from outside the UK (or from outside the EU for Northern Ireland)

Your goods may be seized if you do not follow the rules. You may also be fined or prosecuted.