Who should not register for the UK import VAT on parcels service?

March 15, 2019

Sellers outside the UK (this includes the EU, outside of the EU and the Channel Islands) should not register if any of the following apply:

  • all goods they sell to UK buyers are worth more than £135
  • if they have to pay Excise Duty on all the goods they sell (for example, alcohol and tobacco)
  • their business is based in the UK – see paragraph 9.1 of Notice 700/1 to decide whether their business is based in the UK
  • they pay a parcel operator that offers a service to pay UK import VAT to HMRC on their behalf
  • the goods are sent to the UK under a special customs procedure (for example, temporary admission and transit procedures)

Individuals outside the UK sending a gift to another individual in the UK do not need to register or account for these using the service provided it is a genuine gift and of an occasional nature.

If sellers outside the UK sell goods in parcels above and below the £135 threshold to UK buyers, the seller should only report and pay the UK import VAT on the goods in the parcels worth £135 or less.

If sellers outside the UK send parcels containing a mixture of goods (e.g., some excise and some non-excise goods), the duties and import VAT will be collected from the UK buyer via the parcel operator.

If the seller is based in the Channel Islands and chooses to pay UK import VAT to their parcel operator, they can either:

  • pay the UK import VAT to their national parcel operator – Jersey Post and Guernsey Post have agreements with HMRC to pay the UK import VAT on their behalf
  • pay the UK import VAT to an express operator with an agreement in place that their carrier will pay HMRC

To calculate the total value of the parcel, sellers should include the price paid for all items sold, as well as any postage, packaging and insurance costs for the parcel. They should not include any duty they pay in their own country.