Sending post abroad this Christmas? Check your Customs Declarations Form!

UKBA have released a statement reminding people to fully complete customs declaration forms when sending and receiving international parcels this Christmas.

Any item sent through the postal system must be declared accurately and lawfully or it could be seized under current postal regulations.

If you are considering buying and receiving gifts from outside the UK, you (the importer or recipient) are responsible to ensure all items are correctly described and have the actual purchase price included. If not, your parcel could be delayed and you may face additional charges.

To reduce delays and unnecessary charges, please follow UKBA”s guidelines to ensure your parcel is processed correctly.

  1. Fully complete (or instruct full completion) of a customs declaration form (CN22/23) for all items you are sending or receiving. Do not leave anything undeclared or be tempted to adjust item values in any way.
  1. Don’t buy counterfeit items – you will lose the item and the money you spent on it.
  1. When sending or receiving items, you must clearly write the true value of its contents and who they are for on the declaration. For example;
    • 1 scarf for auntie, value 20 US dollars
    • 1 pair of socks for uncle, value 10 US dollars
    • 1 blanket for niece, value 20 US dollars
  1. Each person can receive up to £40 worth of gifts before a VAT is to be paid.  The UK Border Agency will check to ensure items are as described and have the correct value.
  1. All items purchased by you, or of a commercial nature sent from outside the UK will be liable for tax and duty if the value of the goods is more than £15.
  1. Some items are free from any charges or have lower VAT rates. The most common ones listed below:
    • books or sheet music (no VAT and no customs duty)
    • original paintings (5 per cent VAT and no customs duty)
    • children’s shoes and clothing (0 per cent VAT and customs duty applicable
    • antiques over 100 years old (5 per cent VAT and no customs duty)
  1. Make sure your sender (or if you are posting to another country) is thorough and precise when completing the customs declaration attached to the parcel.  The more information you provide will ensure the correct charges are applied where appropriate.
  1. If the items are personal belongings or returned goods this must be clearly marked on the declaration.

If you feel the charges are wrong (for example the declaration was not accurately filled out by the sender) it may be possible to have the item re-assessed.  However, UKBA will only usually do this after the charges have been paid.

For more information on your obligations and customs declaration please visit UKBA”s postal pages.

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