Import Taxes

Working with fellow EU nations can prove a popular first step for businesses looking to broaden their horizons, due to the relatively straightforward processes between EU members. However, when importing items into the United Kingdom from outside of the EU, there's a few more things to consider in regards to payment of duty and taxes.
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Duty and VAT are calculated as a percentage of the imported goods’ value, including freight and insurance costs as well as the cost of the product itself.

When importing into the UK, duty and VAT are usually due when a minimum value threshold of £15 is reached.

When a business imports goods from outside of the EU it must:

  • Find the correct commodity code for the goods.  More information regarding commodity codes can be found at
  • Pay VAT if necessary
  • Register with the CHIEF system
  • Pay duty if necessary. More information can be found by visiting
  • Ensure that the items are not banned within the UK. Again more information regarding this topic can be found at

Despite the extra costs involved, importing from nations outside of the EU is sometimes a necessity for businesses that want to strengthen their product range. Often, if the cost of the items being imported provides strong margins for resale, import taxes are a minor price to pay.

Whilst saving the buyer a considerable sum of money, importing goods from overseas can also give the buyer a greater choice of high quality products, some of which may not be available in the UK or EU, which can give the buyer the edge over their competition.

Import Regulations and Law

Under UK importing laws, certain imported products face licensing requirements when brought into the UK.

As a result of these laws, there are certain checks that need to be carried out throughout the importing process.

  • Before you place an order, check that the products you plan on importing are allowed in the UK. You can find out more on this topic by visiting Here you will find information on sanctions, embargoes, and restricted goods.
  • Determine whether the country you’re importing from imposes any regulations such as local export taxes or export licences
  • Find out whether import duty and VAT are payable. Duty rates depend on the product and country of origin. Refer to for more details.

Products that don’t meet applicable laws and regulations may be seized by Customs, which could have a significant impact on your business and any plans you’ve already put in place to make use of these confiscated items.

To talk about your import plans just contact one of our expert team today.

The information on this page is correct as of 21 April 2015

This page is for information only. You should seek professional advice if you have any questions relating to the information on this page.

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