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Bringing Personal Belongings into the UK

Tax and customs responsibilities may apply when moving personal belongings to the UK from abroad. This guide is for anyone bringing personal belongings into the United Kingdom.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS: You must follow the specific rules any time you are bringing in:

Note: Shipping alcohol or tobacco into the United Kingdom means you must pay Excise Duty.

Note: the rules on bringing personal belongings into the UK is against the law. Customs can seize your personal items and any vehicle used to move them from overseas. In some cases you can also get fined or prosecuted.

Moving Belongings from EU Countries

As a rule, you do not need to pay tax or ‘duty‘ (called customs charges) on personal belongings if you move from a country in the EU to the UK.

Moving Belongings from Outside the EU

The laws change if you are bringing personal items from a country outside the European Union. You might qualify for claiming relief on the tax and duty charges. Contact your shipping company for further advice.

How to Claim Relief on Tax and Duty

Bringing Personal Belongings into the UK from Abroad

You make a claim for relief when your belongings arrive in the United Kingdom. Your shipper will get you to fill in a special form.

There are some specific conditions for claiming relief. Customs officers use these shipping forms for calculations. They will work out whether you qualify for relief and how much, if any, tax and duty you need to pay.

When You Do Not Qualify for Relief

If you fail to qualify for relief your shipping company will instruct you how much duty or tax you owe. You still need to pay for moving personal possessions to the United Kingdom from abroad.

You must pay any duty and tax before you can to collect all your belongings. As a rule extra charges can include:

  • Customs Duty: The rates will depend on the type of goods they are and which country they came from.
  • Excise Duty: Charged at the standard rates for alcohol and tobacco.
  • VAT: Charged at the standard VAT rates on the total value of the goods. There may be extra fees for shipping, insurance, and duty (where applicable).

Note: In cases where you think you got overcharged you can fill in the form C285(PI) to request a refund.

Bringing Personal Belongings to the United Kingdom from Overseas