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lordluke80

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2016
3
0
London
Hi everyone,
I'm currently living in London, but for work I'll be probably in the US at the end of march, for 3/4 weeks. I'd like to buy a macbook on the US store, and then collect when i'll be there.
Is it possible to do that and it's worth?
Do I have to pay taxes on that? Comparing the prices online between US and UK store, on the same model (same specs) I noticed that UK shop is 80£ more expensive than US (Including estimated taxes on the US store).

Any advice about how to buy it?

Thanks
L
 

High Desert

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2015
180
68
Powell Butte, Or.
I assume you are primarily looking to avoid taxes and (potentially) VAT as an added expense. As T5Brick said, there are (5) states in the USA that do not charge sales tax. If you purchased in the USA and took the laptop back to England, I do not see any issue with paying taxes as it is a personal item, and who knows where you bought it coming back in country, through customs. I think you just have to look at the state you will be in, and determine the actual cost based on that (cost + tax, or no tax). Also, I see no reason why you could not walk not an Apple store and purchase on the spot, rather than going through a preorder situation, internationally, unless there is some specific / unique setup you want.
 

joe-h2o

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2012
997
445
If you bring it back into the UK and intend to keep it here then you are liable for VAT and will have to pay it at customs if you are stopped and they decide that you bought it in the US (for example, if they catch you with the box, or the recipt or something like that.

The high likelihood is that you won't be stopped and will be fine, but legally, you need to pay VAT on anything you bring in that you're keeping that is worth more than £20 or something close to that (total, per trip) excluding specific duty-free items.

You won't pay VAT on it at the point of purchase in the states, but you might have to pay local sales tax (depending on the state, and whether you buy it online).
 

Fancuku

macrumors 65816
Oct 8, 2015
1,023
2,659
PA, USA
Hi everyone,
I'm currently living in London, but for work I'll be probably in the US at the end of march, for 3/4 weeks. I'd like to buy a macbook on the US store, and then collect when i'll be there.
Is it possible to do that and it's worth?
Do I have to pay taxes on that? Comparing the prices online between US and UK store, on the same model (same specs) I noticed that UK shop is 80£ more expensive than US (Including estimated taxes on the US store).

Any advice about how to buy it?

Thanks
L
Buy it from an online re-seller like B&H Photo or Adorama and avoid the sales tax (unless it's shipping in NY).
 

steve62388

macrumors 68040
Apr 23, 2013
3,092
1,947
If you bring it back into the UK and intend to keep it here then you are liable for VAT and will have to pay it at customs if you are stopped and they decide that you bought it in the US (for example, if they catch you with the box, or the recipt or something like that.

The high likelihood is that you won't be stopped and will be fine, but legally, you need to pay VAT on anything you bring in that you're keeping that is worth more than £20 or something close to that (total, per trip) excluding specific duty-free items.

You won't pay VAT on it at the point of purchase in the states, but you might have to pay local sales tax (depending on the state, and whether you buy it online).

^^^^ This.

You will be liable for VAT and duty when you bring it back, which will be substantial and eat up any savings. In fact I think you will end up paying considerably more, check the HMRC website it tells you all the rates.

It's a risk you take, maybe you will get caught maybe you won't. If it's only an £80 saving I probably wouldn't bother. You will need an adaptor plug for the charger too.
 

masterpace

macrumors regular
Mar 24, 2008
129
11
Montreal
Come on, just get rid of the box and you will never have to declare it and pay any VAT. You're already paying taxes in US plus at home. They will never know you bought your Mac from US, even if they checked your bags. No worries. Be smart. I did it once when I came back from the US.
[doublepost=1454209307][/doublepost]
^^^^ This.

You will be liable for VAT and duty when you bring it back, which will be substantial and eat up any savings. In fact I think you will end up paying considerably more, check the HMRC website it tells you all the rates.

It's a risk you take, maybe you will get caught maybe you won't. If it's only an £80 saving I probably wouldn't bother. You will need an adaptor plug for the charger too.
He will get rid of the box. So no worries here. Nothing to declare. Regarding the adapter, it's a small plug costing a few dollars. He can grab it at any airport.
 

steve62388

macrumors 68040
Apr 23, 2013
3,092
1,947
Come on, just get rid of the box and you will never have to declare it and pay any VAT. You're already paying taxes in US plus at home. They will never know you bought your Mac from US, even if they checked your bags. No worries. Be smart. I did it once when I came back from the US.
[doublepost=1454209307][/doublepost]
He will get rid of the box. So no worries here. Nothing to declare. Regarding the adapter, it's a small plug costing a few dollars. He can grab it at any airport.

You don't think customs have ever seen the 'throw away the box' trick before? It would be a trivial matter to catch him out if inspecting the laptop.

It's highly likely he will breeze through the border, the risk is low but the reward is very low too. Having to carry around an adaptor plug and the resulting bulk hanging (or falling) out of the wall along with the customs risk to save eighty quid? I just don't think it's worth it. Whether you're trying to smuggle a new laptop, food, cigarettes or drugs across a border it's always about risk vs reward and each person has to make their own judgement.

One thing I do know is that if you get caught once you will be a target for inspection in the future.

The keyboard can be a problem (US vs UK) but this can be worked around by ordering a UK version ahead of time.
 
Last edited:

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,644
1,571
England
I travel a lot, i mean a real lot and I've seen this in action.
Customs have actually stop me and a colleague returning from the US - they checked the serial number of the device and my corp device which i was carrying was a US device. it was lets say a fun conversation...

In terms of ordering - why would you order from a US store anyway?
When you get to the US simply walk in, tell them what you want and it will turn up in 2days, no need to do anything from the UK and it doesn't really take any longer if you want the UK keyboard.
The power is not an issue either, just order a cable from amazon.

However, that said, with discounts the devices are just as cheap here, or even cheaper in HongKong.
And yes, you always have to pay local taxes.
 

JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,447
796
Aarhus, Denmark
Sure, but now the saving is only £65. The deal is getting worse all the time.
- Yes, agreed. It's way to cumbersome to bother with it.

OP, also consider that whatever product you purchase in the US will be covered neither by the EU wide two year warranty nor the 5 years secured under the UK Sale of Goods Act. You'll have only the factory warranty and any AppleCare you choose to purchase.
Just not worth it.
 

ron1004

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2010
335
33
Louisville, KY
- He doesn't need an adaptor. Just this. I'm sure one could find the smaller UK plug, too.
A stock standard regular "figure 8" power cord is what I use - can get them for $2 to $5
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Professio...fault&beacon_version=1.0.1&findingMethod=p13n
[doublepost=1454250732][/doublepost]
Buy it from an online re-seller like B&H Photo or Adorama and avoid the sales tax (unless it's shipping in NY).
That is what I'd so - you may need to give them a call to arrange shipping to an address other than your cards billing address, and for delivery to a hotel.

OP, don't forget the difference in keyboard - no £ key , so will need to use "Option +3".
 

lordluke80

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2016
3
0
London
hi eveyone, thanks for so many replies.

" Also, I see no reason why you could not walk not an Apple store and purchase on the spot, rather than going through a preorder situation, internationally, unless there is some specific / unique setup you want."
that's right, I want to:
- double the ram
- have the italian kb layout.
I'm living in the UK now but I'm moving back to Italy in two weeks.
I'll be in the US (Florida) at the end of March, I compared the US and the italian online store, and even including VAT on the US store, there's a wider price difference between the two compared with the UK/US store one, so it might be worth buying it there.

So my plan is, if possible, to order the customized macbook in store (same way that I do that online or by phone), pay, collect the laptop once it's ready, and then get rid of the box/receipt.
Any other advices?

Thanks
L
 
Last edited:

Closingracer

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2010
4,314
1,849
^^^^ This.

You will be liable for VAT and duty when you bring it back, which will be substantial and eat up any savings. In fact I think you will end up paying considerably more, check the HMRC website it tells you all the rates.

It's a risk you take, maybe you will get caught maybe you won't. If it's only an £80 saving I probably wouldn't bother. You will need an adaptor plug for the charger too.


Idk about Apple devices in the UK but I know my Macbook Pro adapter is the same as the iPad one on its 12w adapter so you can just one of those. The extension woukd be useless though
 

Closingracer

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2010
4,314
1,849
hi eveyone, thanks for so many replies.

" Also, I see no reason why you could not walk not an Apple store and purchase on the spot, rather than going through a preorder situation, internationally, unless there is some specific / unique setup you want."
that's right, I want to:
- double the ram
- have the italian kb layout.
I'm living in the UK now but I'm moving back to Italy in two weeks.
I'll be in the US (Florida) at the end of March, I compared the US and the italian online store, and even including VAT on the US store, there's a wider price difference between the two compared with the UK/US store one, so it might be worth buying it there.

So my plan is, if possible, to order the customized macbook in store (same way that I do that online or by phone), pay, collect the laptop once it's ready, and then get rid of the box/receipt.
Any other advices?

Thanks
L



I would just do that. Tbh if you throw out the box and if you get them to email the receipt you should be fine I would think about 95% sure on that.
 

Closingracer

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2010
4,314
1,849
I travel a lot, i mean a real lot and I've seen this in action.
Customs have actually stop me and a colleague returning from the US - they checked the serial number of the device and my corp device which i was carrying was a US device. it was lets say a fun conversation...

In terms of ordering - why would you order from a US store anyway?
When you get to the US simply walk in, tell them what you want and it will turn up in 2days, no need to do anything from the UK and it doesn't really take any longer if you want the UK keyboard.
The power is not an issue either, just order a cable from amazon.

However, that said, with discounts the devices are just as cheap here, or even cheaper in HongKong.
And yes, you always have to pay local taxes.


I used to travel like yearly out of the country myself and customs never bothered to stop me personally but YMMV
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,452
7,117
Bedfordshire, UK
Amazon UK sell most MacBooks for £100-£300 cheaper than the Apple store (depending on model). If you want to buy as cheap as possible, then there is your answer. Plus if there are any problems Amazon are brilliant when it comes to returns.
 

lordluke80

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2016
3
0
London
Amazon UK sell most MacBooks for £100-£300 cheaper than the Apple store (depending on model). If you want to buy as cheap as possible, then there is your answer. Plus if there are any problems Amazon are brilliant when it comes to returns.

I already considered that, also because I still have almost 250£ of gift card on my amazon uk account, but:

  • you can't customize the laptop
  • it's not so cheaper if you consider affordable seller (some store with a good feedback, in terms of number and ratings).

If I want to buy as cheap as possible, I won't buy a macbook. Simple..isn't it?

Thanks
L
 

sim667

macrumors 65816
Dec 7, 2010
1,390
2,915
hi eveyone, thanks for so many replies.

" Also, I see no reason why you could not walk not an Apple store and purchase on the spot, rather than going through a preorder situation, internationally, unless there is some specific / unique setup you want."
that's right, I want to:
- double the ram
- have the italian kb layout.
I'm living in the UK now but I'm moving back to Italy in two weeks.
I'll be in the US (Florida) at the end of March, I compared the US and the italian online store, and even including VAT on the US store, there's a wider price difference between the two compared with the UK/US store one, so it might be worth buying it there.

So my plan is, if possible, to order the customized macbook in store (same way that I do that online or by phone), pay, collect the laptop once it's ready, and then get rid of the box/receipt.
Any other advices?

Thanks
L

It also worth bearing in mind it won't have the benefit of the EU warranty laws if you buy in the US.
 

MarvinHC

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
834
293
Belgium
If you bring it back into the UK and intend to keep it here then you are liable for VAT and will have to pay it at customs if you are stopped and they decide that you bought it in the US (for example, if they catch you with the box, or the recipt or something like that.

The high likelihood is that you won't be stopped and will be fine, but legally, you need to pay VAT on anything you bring in that you're keeping that is worth more than £20 or something close to that (total, per trip) excluding specific duty-free items.

You won't pay VAT on it at the point of purchase in the states, but you might have to pay local sales tax (depending on the state, and whether you buy it online).

The £20 limit applies for good being mailed to you. When bringing good personally the limit is £270.

Still not enough for bringing in a Macbook but worth clarifying.

https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods/arrivals-from-outside-the-eu
 
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