New rules for shopping online
The limits for Customs duty on goods bought online are changing. From Monday 1 December purchases of goods from non-EU sources will only be subject to Customs duty if the value of the goods exceeds £105.
The new rules have been the subject of some confusion in the press in relation to the VAT treatment. HMRC have reiterated in this notice that the new higher limits apply only to Customs Duty and not to VAT. Import VAT will continue to be due on any goods imported where the value of the goods exceeds £18 (as is currently the case).
HMRC also made clear that it is the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure that the rules are followed. HMRC’s director of Customs & International Trade said that “… if the goods are found to be wrongly declared, they may be seized and the customer penalised”.
HMRC have launched a ‘podcast’ to provide more details on these changes. The podcast also includes details on the treatment of handling fees charged by mail carriers.