FreeBSD CD's ? [OT]

Paul Richards paul at
Thu Jan 25 10:05:31 GMT 2001

Paul Civati wrote:
> Richard Smith <rdls at> wrote:
> > >      I suspect that the Post Office (or whatever they are now called)
> > > have a de-minimus limit for duty, below which it isn't worth their time
> > > to collect it.
> >
> > It's probably HM Customs that set the limit.
> I recently learnt a little bit about import duty :( after I ordered
> a whole load of Sun memory from the US.
> Basically, I think you have to pay import duty (which includes VAT
> at the standard rate, plus the duty rate which is dependent on
> what you're importing) if the value of the item exceeds your
> personal allowance, which I think is ~145UKP.
>   <URL:>
> Now, I'm not sure how the personal allowance is calcuated,
> per "import" perhaps?  I'm sure it can't be that simple.

I just spoke to DHL. I bought a load of polo and t-shirts and the
conference but they were out of stock and have just been shipped on. As
an example I've had to pay £17.87 duty for the arrival of a polo-shirt I
paid BSDi $40 for, effectively doubling it's cost !!!

The rules are as far as they're concerned, if it's over £18 they slap
duty on it, if it's marked as a gift then they'll slap duty on it if
it's over £36. When they calculate duty they first determine the value
of the item, then they'll add on shipping charges. They'll charge duty
on that (variable but 12.6% for my clothing), then they'll make a VAT
adjustment in order to come to a final UK product value. They'll then
charge VAT on that final amount.

This is what my DHL import invoice looks like.

Supplier invoice value    : 30.53UK
Freight value             : 17.73UK
Value for customs purposes: 48.26
Duty @12.6%               :  6.08
Vat adjustment            :  5.92 (no idea where this comes from)
Value for VAT purposes    : 60.26
VAT chargeable            : 10.54

Total payment to make-
Duty  :  6.08
VAT   : 10.54
Admin :  1.25
Total : 17.87

So for a 30 quid, I've paid another 17.87 to get it into the country !!!

Adjusting for the VAT I'd have paid if I bought it here, the added cost
of it arriving from the US is 12.52 which is a 40% increase!

I have a suspicion that Customs and Excise are clamping down on smaller
imports because of increased internet shopping. The result is that for a
small item like a polo-shirt the value nearly doubles because of
shipping charges and then you pay duty and VAT on the whole lot. This
will effectively shut down internet shopping from outside the EU because
no-one will buy a cheaper item on the internet when they get slammed by
the import costs (which you don't realise will happen until some weeks
later when the courier invoices you).

So, be aware of the possible additional costs if you buy things from a
US website.


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