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Old 14.01.2009, 14:26
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Customs duty on imported goods

I'd like to use some of my hard-earned UK funds to buy a DSLR camera, as sending francs back to the UK has proven quite profitable recently, what with exchange rates being as they are. However, I have been stung before with customs duty on imports from the UK. What do people suggest? Should I buy through ebay from a US or Hong Kong seller? Would the taxation be less? Is there a way of buying electrical goods online from the UK sans VAT, so that the customs charge is balanced by paying less in the first place? Boden do this, but are their electrical goods sellers who do the same thing?

Lots of questions...
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Old 14.01.2009, 15:05
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

If anything import duties from the UK to CH should be less than from the US or Hong Hong Kong, I think.
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Old 14.01.2009, 20:08
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

I don't think import duties have anything to do with what country the item comes from. Import duties are levied on the product, no the orgin. VAT is incurred on goods over X amount. (can't remember) and I imagine your camera will be charged that.

Isn't it true that vendor outside exporting goods shouldn't be charging VAT/sales tax when sending goods out of the country.
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Old 14.01.2009, 20:13
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

Yes, looking at Warehouse Express, they specifically say that they will not charge UK VAT when sending out of the EU. So I guess I get it 15% cheaper in the first instance, then get charged through Swiss Customs?
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Old 15.01.2009, 08:55
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

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I don't think import duties have anything to do with what country the item comes from. Import duties are levied on the product, no the orgin. VAT is incurred on goods over X amount. (can't remember) and I imagine your camera will be charged that.

Isn't it true that vendor outside exporting goods shouldn't be charging VAT/sales tax when sending goods out of the country.
Duties <> VAT

VAT will have to be paid on imports from all countries. Duties however may vary due to duty-agreements between countries. So it's possible that imports from EU/EEA/EFTA countries have different duties than US or Hongkong. In rare cases there may be also extra punitive or prohibitive duties to make imports less attractive or protect local industry.

So you see (in contrast to VAT) duties may vary very well between countries of origin ...
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Old 15.01.2009, 09:52
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

This has been discussed at length here before, especially on this thread: Ordering eBay from abroad - customs fees?. As for the customs fees varying based on country of origin, I have never heard of this before, and I would seriously doubt it is the case, but I've only ever ordered stuff from the EU and US so I cannot comment from experience.
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Old 15.01.2009, 09:52
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

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Yes, looking at Warehouse Express, they specifically say that they will not charge UK VAT when sending out of the EU. So I guess I get it 15% cheaper in the first instance, then get charged through Swiss Customs?
Correct - any UK shop that is willing to send goods to you here in Switzerland should reduce the amount you are charged by the 15% VAT. Some companies have their websites set up to do this automatically, but if not you may have to call them up and explain that as you are outside the EU they should not charge VAT on your order. I have done this successfully quite a few times even with smaller shops.

When the goods arrive in Switzerland you will (probably) have to pay the Swiss VAT at 7.6%, plus a Swiss Post admin charge, before they will let you have the parcel (although I have occasionally had it as a separate orange bill after the goods have arrived - no idea why...)

With the current exchange rate, plus the 7.4% VAT saving, you should find it ends up a lot cheaper than buying in the shops here even after shipping costs.
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Old 15.01.2009, 12:11
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

Thank you all - this has been very useful! I tried to search for a thread on this topic before posting, so apologies for the repetition!
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Old 15.01.2009, 12:52
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Re: Customs duty on imported goods

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Duties <> VAT

VAT will have to be paid on imports from all countries. Duties however may vary due to duty-agreements between countries. So it's possible that imports from EU/EEA/EFTA countries have different duties than US or Hongkong. In rare cases there may be also extra punitive or prohibitive duties to make imports less attractive or protect local industry.

So you see (in contrast to VAT) duties may vary very well between countries of origin ...
Yes, I know that duties & vat are different. I thought duties were on the goods or type of goods only and not the country of origin. I didn't know that for example textiles from China could be charged more (or less) duty then say textiles from Guam.
Thanks for clarifying.
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