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A Quick Guide to Customs and Duty when Sending Parcels

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Sending a parcel in the UK is a simple process; you pack the items you want to send and then take the package to a Post Office or arrange for delivery via a courier service. All additional prices will be added on to the cost of sending the parcel once the transaction has been complete and before it is delivered. After this is done, they will be delivered to the intended location.

However, when it comes to international delivery, some people are needlessly put off because they believe that the process is too complex. To dispel this, let’s take a look at what’s involved with customs and duty when you send your parcels.

Who sets the rules for delivery rates and taxes?

These rates are actually set by national governments and the World Customs Organisation, not by the parcel delivery services as some people believe. Where you send the parcel, along with other factors such as weight and the value of contents will have a bearing on the price it costs you to send the items. For any EU or non-EU destination, you can always obtain a quote to see how much it would cost to send your parcels.

Should you be sending your items?

During the customs process, the officials will check any parcels which they think look suspicious. As a result, make sure the items you are attempting to send are actually allowed to enter the country. Items such as aerosols and medical supplies are likely to be removed, so make sure you check with the relevant authorities first before sending your parcel. It might be wise to include a brief note on the front of your parcel too stating what the contents are so that the delivery process will be as smooth as possible.

Including the relevant documentation

In some instances, you may be required to include the relevant documentation when sending your parcel. Again, this will vary depending on the destination and it’s likely that for a non-EU location you will need to send more documentation with the parcel. For EU destinations there are fewer trade restrictions because the European Union operates as a single market and most borders have now been opened.  

Additional costs for sending your parcel

Once your parcel arrives at its destination, the authorities at customs will work out if there are any additional charges to be added on. This is a standard procedure and common additional fees include important duty, excise duty, VAT and tax. The import duty will depend entirely on the type of goods that you are sending and excise duty will be charged in relation to weight for items such as perfume, alcohol and cigarettes. Once the costs are put together, the recipient will either have to pay the additional fees or get in touch with the sender to arrange payment.

Sending parcels to any location overseas is actually remarkably straightforward, you just need to make sure the items you are sending aren’t prohibited in the country. If you have any doubts about what you can send, the prices involved or the documentation you need for a successful delivery then get in touch with the relevant delivery service to check with them. 

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