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UkuEroll
05-23-2009, 11:57 AM
Hi folk
A friend has just told me if you get a gift from outside europe, and the person who sends it states that it is a gift, that you do not have to pay import tax.
I ask this as I often browse the market place and just wondered if I bought one would I be charged tax.

buddhuu
05-23-2009, 12:06 PM
Check it:

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageTravel_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_000014&propertyType=document#P59_5036

Be VERY careful, mate. Here in the UK this stuff is Revenue and Customs, formerly Customs and Excise - same people responsible for VAT. Mean b@stards.

On Mandolincafe - or was it Fiddleforum? - I think I recall Steve from Giana Violins said that it is a felony in the US to provide false declarations for customs.

Either side of the pond it's thin ice to tread.

Witters
05-23-2009, 12:55 PM
Robbing a bank you may get away with, but not the VAT.:(

UkuEroll
05-23-2009, 06:24 PM
Check it:

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageTravel_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_000014&propertyType=document#P59_5036

Be VERY careful, mate. Here in the UK this stuff is Revenue and Customs, formerly Customs and Excise - same people responsible for VAT. Mean b@stards.

On Mandolincafe - or was it Fiddleforum? - I think I recall Steve from Giana Violins said that it is a felony in the US to provide false declarations for customs.

Either side of the pond it's thin ice to tread.

Thanks for that link, Guess us in the UK are stuffed:(, I can't believe they still charge for second hand goods. When I said the market place I meant the Ukulele marketplace on UU.

AnnaUK
05-24-2009, 01:42 AM
I wondered this about all the competitions on UU. What if the prizewinner is outside the US? If the item was labelled as a competition prize, would the UK customs people still pounce on it?
Logic says they shouldn't, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did...

Witters
05-24-2009, 02:23 AM
There is no logic to this.
I believe that electrical goods are OK to buy as well as camera's - could be wrong here as things change all the time.

This is a major problem when buying from the states and you may be better doing a search in Europe (France, Germany, etc) where you can buy what you like and no duty.
The only problem at the moment is the exchange rate.

ichadwick
05-24-2009, 03:25 AM
It's probably very much like in Canada: even a gift is subject to taxes and possibly duty. In Canada (and in the USA, I believe), you can receive up to $100 in value as a gift. Anything higher is subject to taxation.

The only thing you can legally do is make sure the shipper does NOT include the cost of packing and shipping on the invoice total. Technically, they're not supposed to be taxed, but they often are because the reviewer only looks at the bottom line (the total).

In Canada, what with our low dollar, shipping charges and taxes, a uke from the USA costs me roughly 50% more than the selling price. So a $400 uke ends up a $600 uke in Canada!

Pippin
05-24-2009, 03:46 AM
It's probably very much like in Canada: even a gift is subject to taxes and possibly duty. In Canada (and in the USA, I believe), you can receive up to $100 in value as a gift. Anything higher is subject to taxation.

The only thing you can legally do is make sure the shipper does NOT include the cost of packing and shipping on the invoice total. Technically, they're not supposed to be taxed, but they often are because the reviewer only looks at the bottom line (the total).

In Canada, what with our low dollar, shipping charges and taxes, a uke from the USA costs me roughly 50% more than the selling price. So a $400 uke ends up a $600 uke in Canada!

Ian, if I were you I'd slip across the bridge into Michigan and go to Elderly Instruments if you want a new uke from the USA. Put it in an old beat up case to cross the border. :)

Daionsavage
05-24-2009, 03:51 AM
You don't have to pay tax for gifts from outside the European union, but the value of a gift is limited to something like 50 €.

SamWise
05-24-2009, 06:07 AM
When I sold vintage bike parts on eBay, I used to mark them as gifts, and that generally worked fine (I remember a frame not getting through), but that was shipping to the US, and I never guaranteed that people wouldn't get billed

Kurobashi
05-24-2009, 06:23 AM
The old "gift" trick doesn't do it anymore I'm afraid. However there is another very good trick to avoid taxes, especially on 2nd hand items.

Just ask the guy who ships it to mark a value that is below the import limit. Since there are many ukes available for under $20 this is easily done, just make it an "acceptable" number. If it is a very expensive one and it shows then you can still try to just lower the value (but above the limit) and pay less taxes.

Now if you are buying from a shop it's a bit harder because then they have to make you a false bill with the low value on it. A Japanese shop once did this for me (1/10th of the price) but this is highly illegal for the shop.

Also note that if you mark a certain value on a package you can only have it insured up to this value.

Happy shopping :shaka:

UkuEroll
05-24-2009, 09:53 AM
Thanks for the replys guys, I guess I'll have to try and buy a bargain on here and see what happens, it's Hypothetical at the moment as I'm skint, but a least now I've got an idea of the pitfalls.

Mobben
05-24-2009, 10:30 AM
All that import tax is quite annoying, but there are some European sites that sell ukuleles. http://www.ukulele.de sell RISA, Kala, Pono and Honu. http://www.thomann.de/gb/search_dir.html?gf=ukuleles&sw=ukulele Lanikai, Fender and Applause. And then there are a Danish site that got Oscar Schmidt http://www.aage.dk/shoppingsystem/produkter.asp?search1=ukulele (you can ask help for translation) That's the ones I know of. I know that there isn't as much to choose from as then you look towards the US sites, but it's better than nothing :)

Anyone else who know of other European sites??

Kurobashi
05-24-2009, 10:49 AM
Another great shop is Mercantino dell'Ukulele (http://www.mercatinodellukulele.it). I just ordered some strings from them so I will report later about my first experience with them.
They are related to Aquila so you can order all of their strings from them (I ordered some real gut strings for my vintage Martin).

They even sell ohana and....... :smileybounce: KANILE'A :smileybounce:

Need to protect myself and block this website on my computer or I will spend truckloads of money there. :shaka:

Ahnko Honu
05-24-2009, 11:09 AM
No offense but I am SO HAPPY I don't live in the EU. :shaka:
What up with the Brits not wanting to switch to the Euro even though a EU member? :confused:

upskydowncloud
05-24-2009, 12:42 PM
No offense but I am SO HAPPY I don't live in the EU. :shaka:
What up with the Brits not wanting to switch to the Euro even though a EU member? :confused:

Long story. For the most part the pound was always a stronger currency than the euro although that's all changed now.

In relation to the OP it's all about luck to be honest. I bought something on eBay from the US recently with a retail value of 300. The guy shipped it and stated the value of it as $50 and it got through customs without a problem and I didn't have to pay any duty on it. On the other hand I've had goods come across and had to pay a fortune of import duty on it.

buddhuu
05-24-2009, 01:49 PM
All that import tax is quite annoying, but there are some European sites that sell ukuleles. http://www.ukulele.de sell RISA, Kala, Pono and Honu. http://www.thomann.de/gb/search_dir.html?gf=ukuleles&sw=ukulele Lanikai, Fender and Applause. And then there are a Danish site that got Oscar Schmidt http://www.aage.dk/shoppingsystem/produkter.asp?search1=ukulele (you can ask help for translation) That's the ones I know of. I know that there isn't as much to choose from as then you look towards the US sites, but it's better than nothing :)

Anyone else who know of other European sites??

Good post.

My Kala came from ukulele.de. No import duty or additional tax. Helpful people.

European dealers are probably the best bet for UK buyers who can't afford the US-UK customs hit.

buddhuu
05-24-2009, 01:53 PM
No offense but I am SO HAPPY I don't live in the EU. :shaka:[...]

No offense back at ya, but for different reasons I am SO HAPPY I do live here rather than in the US! ;)

What up with the Brits not wanting to switch to the Euro even though a EU member? :confused:

Ah no. You don't want to get into that. The answer is nowhere near as simple as the question. :D

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-24-2009, 02:40 PM
I take interest in this since I ship a lot of my ukes overseas, mostly to Europe and Japan. So I checked out the link that was mentioned and it seems there are THREE taxes to pay: customs duty, excise duty and import VAT. Is this true and how much does all of this amount up to? I used to think people were worried about nickels and dimes but on a $1000 to $2000 uke I guess it can add up. Anybody know what the formula is?
EDIT: Reading the document further, it seems that excise tax is only charged on tabacco and liquor. the VAT that is paid is apparently similar to our sales tax in the USA and custom tax is owed based on a percentage but it depends upon what the item is and the country of origin. I wonder what that is on a ukulele coming from the US?
Confusing!

Witters
05-24-2009, 03:25 PM
No offense but I am SO HAPPY I don't live in the EU. :shaka:
What up with the Brits not wanting to switch to the Euro even though a EU member? :confused:

You probably couldn't afford it.

Witters
05-24-2009, 03:28 PM
There are quite a few places in the EU that sell many of the Uke's mentioned on here.
kala, Kanilea, Honu, Pono, etc etc.

UkuEroll
05-24-2009, 07:36 PM
Another great shop is Mercantino dell'Ukulele (http://www.mercatinodellukulele.it). I Need to protect myself and block this website on my computer or I will spend truckloads of money there. :shaka:
They got Mainlands Yum Yum.
Thanks for that link, It looks far too interesting, I feel a spend coming on.


All that import tax is quite annoying,
More than quite anooying;)


No offense back at ya, but for different reasons I am SO HAPPY I do live here rather than in the US! ;)
You took the words right out of my mouth;)