You have tax and customs responsibilities if you send goods abroad by post or courier.

This includes anything you:

  • send as a gift
  • sell online

Tax and customs charges

Tax and ‘duty’ (customs charges) are usually paid by the person receiving the goods in their country. But you should check you’ve paid Excise Duty on alcohol or tobacco you send to the European Union (EU).

If you send anything outside the EU

You must attach a customs declaration to anything you send outside the EU. Courier companies usually do this for you.

Value of goods sent outside the EU Customs declaration form
Up to £270 Form CN22 (available from the Post Office)
£270 to £2,000 Form CN23 (available from the Post Office)
Over £2,000 or when claiming customs relief Forms CN23 and C88 - there’s specialist guidance about completing form C88

If you send goods you’ve sold

You may need to attach other documents to things you sell online or export for your business.

If your goods need an export licence to leave the UK, or they’re being re-exported under a ‘suspensive customs regime’ (eg they’ll be kept in another country temporarily), you need:

  • a commercial invoice
  • any export licences or other permissions you need, eg for certain works of art
  • a C&E 83A sticky label from the Post Office

You may also need:

  • an import licence - if your goods need a licence in the destination country
  • a preference certificate - if you’re making a ‘claim to preference’ overseas, ie applying for a reduced import rate

Search the Trade Tariff if you’re unsure about the licences you need.