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Old 16th Jul 2008, 11:56   #1
Dave
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Import Tax on items bought back from US?

Hi all

I'm going to the US in a few weeks time and I was thinking about buying a guitar and a couple of other music items as they're a fair bit cheaper over there. Will I get hit for import taxes at customs in the UK when I get back? It'll be quite hard to fob them off by telling them it's my guitar as it'll be brand new - was thinking about maybe taking an old case over and bringing it back in that if it gets me around customs.

Is the import tax just for when it's actually imported, and not when you bring it back yourself? Or is there a limit on the value of stuff you can bring back? I'd rather not pay $400+ in import taxes! (on a $1000 guitar)

Thanks
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 11:57   #2
Darkwave
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In before totally law-abiding angels start pointing their fingers.

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 12:08   #3
stoofa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfhedjinn View Post
In before totally law-abiding angels start pointing their fingers.
Cool - you got in before the sensible "If you listen to us you won't end up being fined" people.

However you were so quick and determined you forgot to actually make a point.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 12:09   #4
glitch
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This will explain the allowances you get when travelling back to the UK from outside the EU.

And this gives you information on the various rates of duty and VAT you'll have to pay on 'common' goods.

Or just make it look like you took it out with you in the first place.

Mind you don't get caught though.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 12:09   #5
Rotty
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yes you will be subject to taxes if they catch you

plus you will probably get stung for excess baggage costs and have the worry of checking your nice new guitar in as hold baggage

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 12:51   #6
chimaera
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The risk is yours to take really, if you get through without being checked you've saved yourself a fortune, if you get caught then i think you'd be paying for more than just the guitar.

My understanding is that if you get caught over your limit then VAT and duty are charged on everything you bring back, the personal allowance isn't taken into account, so if you've also got a $50 pair of jeans they will also be charged, and the law states it is your responsibility to prove it wasn't bought abroad, not the other way around.

Customs take the attitude that if you get caught then you're fair game to get done over. Have to say i've been over my limit several times and have opted for the red channel yet not once have i paid anything, either there was no staff or they can't be bothered to do the paperwork unless your hundreds over.

Just remember once you go through that green channel your legal rights are massively reduced.


Something tells me you're not taking me very seriously...
Last edited by chimaera; 16th Jul 2008 at 12:53.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:23   #7
Energize
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Is the import tax just for when it's actually imported, and not when you bring it back yourself? Or is there a limit on the value of stuff you can bring back? I'd rather not pay $400+ in import taxes! (on a $1000 guitar)
You pay 3.5% duty and 17.5% tax, so it would be $210.

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:38   #8
mattyfez
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Originally Posted by Energize View Post
You pay 3.5% duty and 17.5% tax, so it would be $210.
Unless you throw away the recipt and packaging, and you bought it second hand for $400

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:39   #9
int
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Would a video camcorder be considered a "gift"? My girlfriend is going over to america to see a friend and is also picking up a camcorder that is only sold in the US, to bring back over for me.

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:40   #10
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Would a video camcorder be considered a "gift"? My girlfriend is going over to america to see a friend and is also picking up a camcorder that is only sold in the US, to bring back over for me.
You still pay exactly the same amount of tax on a gift that is more than the £36 allowance.

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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:41   #11
mattyfez
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I dont think your likely to get pulled up over a camcorder, 10 camcorders maybe.
If in doubt, just get rid of the packaging and chuck it in the suitcase with the rest of your things.

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Last edited by mattyfez; 16th Jul 2008 at 13:43.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 13:55   #12
atpbx
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I've not been stung by customs on anything sent back from america by my folks, or when i have brought stuff back.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 16:45   #13
Dave
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Even with the $210 on it'd be a lot cheaper than buying the guitar here - it's essentially double the price in the UK. (same price in as it is in $)

My flight gets back to the UK at about 8am - hopefully will be able to avoid customs! I was going to go down the take a beaten up case route (to make it look a bit older) but the guitar will come with a flight case, and I don't want to loose it.

I know legally it's a bit iffy, but as mentioned a bit up is it not possible to just tell them you got it off eBay for $300 or something? Or do you think that they'd not buy a brand new Fender guitar being bought off eBay for next to nothing?! (if it was someone like my mum on customs I'd get through scott free) I'd probably be bringing back all together about $2000's worth of music stuff, although I'll be taking essentially an empty suitcase with me so I'm not worried about going over the weight limit.

Probably be a good change I'd be able to take my guitar on board too - my stepbrother usually takes his saxophone on the plane rather than having it man-handled by baggage handlers, and in the past I've got away with a stupid amount of hand luggage. (I once took a bag, snare drum, guitar and two cases full of cymbals as hand luggage on a plane to France!) Will ring up the airline operator just to make sure though.
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 17:02   #14
ste_bla
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How would they know you didnt take it out there with you to jam with family/friends?
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Old 16th Jul 2008, 17:06   #15
Maccy
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Had a friend bring back an ESP from the states last year, paid $800 for it and took it as hand luggage in a standard guitar case.

Didn't get stung for any tax, so this is probably the best route?

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Old 17th Jul 2008, 07:31   #16
Jonnycoupe
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Didnt Grodon Brown increase the limit you can bring in tax free from outside the EU from 150 to 1000 a few years ago.

Failing that each type of item has its own import rate. For example car brakes are 4.5% and enginer parts something like 2.7%. The VAT is the bitch really.
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 07:41   #17
KaHn
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Hope they haven't seen this before.

http://musicthing.blogspot.com/2007/...tar-worth.html

Or your nice new toy could end up smashed.

KaHn


Well hello Mister Fancypants.
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 07:50   #18
HarryPainful
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From that article...

"The customs official noticed white powder leaking out of the guitar which tested positive for cocaine."

Hardly a normal situation of bringing back a guitar.

Back on topic, a friend of mine brings a guitar back each time he is in the US, and that 3 or 4 times a year.

Never been stopped.
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