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Customs Duty on EEC Purchases

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I am tempted by some of the Railway items on E Bay and elsewhere originating in Gemany and one or two other EEC countries.

But if I buy will I have to pay any Customs/Import Duties(in addition to any other costs such as postage and possibly agent's fees) and does it make any difference whether the item is new or secondhand or from a Retailer or Private Seller? 

Many thanks


P.S.I have tried the HMRC website but you would get more sense out of a deceased cat than that lot!

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No' duty' is  payable  for  imports  to  EEC countries


Likewise  if  you  sell to EEC countries  the  recipient   does not have to  pay anything


If you import  from  the  USA and  the  value  of  goods  and  the  carriage  & insurance  is  over a certailn value  which  I think  is  £18.00 but  may  have  changed, then the  recipient  has  to  pay  UK  VAT  at  20%  plus  a  service  charge  which is  £8.00 (or it  was  last  time  I imported  from the  states)


So if you import  from USA always  factort in the  additional costs

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Pedant mode - the EEC ceased to exist about 20 years ago. It's now the EU. 


The HMRC information is here and as everyone else has said, you don't have to pay import duty on goods coming from another EU country. 



VAT is a tax normally charged on the supply of goods (and services) made by a VAT - registered business in the UK. For goods brought in or sent to the UK from the EU there's no extra VAT to pay unless you're ordering or sending purchased goods from one of the EU Special Territories, such as Jersey or Guernsey, in which case you'll have to pay import VAT.


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As has been said, if you are charged VAT in an EEC country then you do not need to pay any additional VAT in the UK, or vice versa.


Generally, if I sold something to you as a private sale, I could not charge you VAT and hence no VAT would be due, whichever countries were involved.  


One thing to be aware of though is that if you buy something from a trader in the  'EU Special Territories', such as Jersey or Guernsey and the Canary Islands, which if I understand correctly don't charge VAT, you'll have to pay the import VAT on delivery. 


This happened to me.  I bought something from a well known internet vendor, (not modelling railway related), who I thought was shipping from the UK but  the goods were shipped to me in France from the Channel Islands. Not only did I have to pay the VAT, (fair enough), but there was a collection charge of about 10 euros as well.


Chris G

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