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
The parcel or courier company (for example, Royal Mail or Parcelforce) is responsible for taking goods through UK customs.
This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
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)
The parcel or courier company will tell you if you need to pay any VAT or duty.
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.
Who to contact about your goods
Contact your parcel or courier company if you do not get your parcel by the delivery date or if you have any other questions.