Can someone please just tell me straight... UK Customs

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Justin122, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Justin122 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2008
    In August I will be going on a 2 week holiday to Chicago. Whilst I'm there, I'm going to buy a 16GB WiFi iPad with the keyboard dock and iPad case.

    The problem I have is that I'm confused with extra charges that I will have to face when I get to UK Customs (e.g. VAT rates).

    Can someone please tell me the exact charges I have to face if I have the iPad with the keyboard dock and iPad case in my suitcase, if any?



    P.S: Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, it's 2AM in the morning and I'm pretty worn out from looking into this.
  2. matthewHUB macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2005
    They won't open your suitcase because you have an iPad in there. It's up to you whether to walk through "items to declare" or "nothing to declare" when you arrive back to UK. If you do, I imagine it'll be 17.5% right?

  3. Justin122 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2008
    Yes, it'll be 17.5% which is roughly £60!

    I'm trying to avoid paying that, so I might just have to take the risk and walk through "nothing to declare".
  4. HughJ macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2006
    Norwich UK
    buy the item over in america, send all the packaging back by post, simples....i bought a watch and did exactly that
  5. dino26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2009
    Glasgow , Scotland
    You will be fine just walk through like normal they hardly check anyway they are more interested in people bringing back large amounts of fags and booze not one ipad
  6. hollerz macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2006
    Durham, UK
    Doubt they will search you. Maybe if you were bringing 15 back, but for one I'd just risk walking through "nothing to declare"!
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Check what time you get back into the uk. If it's after 10pm and before 6am the desks are unmanned.
  8. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Might this be the page you're looking for?

    If you get caught out, you'll have to pony up for the VAT/other taxes (if I read it right).

    In Australia you don't have to pay import for stuff less than AUD$1000 (dunno...about 450 pounds?).
  9. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    You've got a personal allowance of £390 when coming back to the UK.

    The goods you are purchasing work out at £395 at todays exchange rate. You could either risk not declaring, get someone you are travelling with to bring the case back (remember to get a separate receipt for it), buy the case in the UK in a couple of weeks time or declare it and pay the VAT.
  10. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    I don't have to mention that you are legally obligated to pay import taxes when buying things outside of the European Union, right?

    Well, at least if they exceed "£270 or £340 (whichever is appropriate)" stated by the Customs.
  11. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Is it really that much cheaper for a Brit to buy in US?

    Remember you have to buy Chicago sales tax which i believe is 6.5% and a exchange rate conversion fee of like 3.5%

    The exchange rate can't be that great either, the pound has tanked just as much as the dollar during this crisis.
  12. nickhutson macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    Yes. $499, at the moment of my writing according to Google, is £324. Keep in mind that Apple always charge more for their products here in the UK - so the iPad will probably be £499 minimum - not including the 17.5% V.A.T.

    I am off to NYC on Friday... I am buying an iPad my first night there!
  13. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    Bag it in a condom and swallow it :D

    My sis brought over a lot of electronic goods from LA over the past 4 years and UK customs never 'got her' on anything..
  14. Rhalliwell1 macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2008

    This is what i do. If its open and no packaging then it'll look like you bought it in the UK and just travelled with it.
  15. hamlinspahn macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    The Real Question

    So you said you will go thru nothing to declare to avoid paying the VAT. So the real question is "is there an additional penalty beyond paying the VAT if you get caught". Just pay your taxes.
  16. DKatri macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    Birmingham, UK
    Do they have the power to confiscate things if you dont declare them? I suppose it is a form of smuggling

    But I really doubt that they will notice, as someone else said they are only looking to crack down on people buying multiples with the intention of selling them on.
  17. dino26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2009
    Glasgow , Scotland
    Guys its one ipad its hardly worth the hassle for them , they are more concerned over people who are bringing back £1000+ worth of cigarettes and alcohol back
  18. Dr Gonzo macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010
  19. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Don't know about UK but in the US its a felony for not declaring items your acquired while abroad. If you get caught it can include fines, confiscation of items, and possibly jail time.

    You can always chance it, but there is a chance you will be randomly searched. Personally I wouldn't chance it.
  20. spinstorm macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2007
    Really guys you are all so paranoid!

    First of all by August the iPad will be out everywhere in the world.

    Even if customs see you with it and the box how do they know you didn't buy it in England and just take it with you in the box?

    This is way too much concern. I bought a GUITAR in the US and came back with it and they didn't stop me and ask me where it came from and that was obvious when I walked through so for an iPad just forget about it.

    There is no way to prove where it came from so as the last guy said they only care about alcohol and ciggarettes as clearly you don't go on holiday with 245 packets and come back with the same amount ;)

    On a side note remmeber that you get VAT free purchases in the departure lounge before you leave the UK so it may actually be cheaper to buy a duty free iPad in the UK BEFORE you leave the country depending on the exchange rate and how much Apple ends up charging us here in the UK.
  21. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    the limit for personal goods is £391 I think. So the ipad won't attract VAT. The case in theory would, but I doubt customs would care. So just go through the 'nothing to declare' channel and be done with it.

    This is all assuming you haven't bought one already. Make sure to check out dixons taxfree on the way out. It might be cheaper there than buying in the US. Don't forget to factor in sales tax in the US too - not sure what the local rate is in Chicago
  22. kAoTiX macrumors 6502


    Oct 14, 2008
    Midlands, UK
    +1 for duty free before/after leaving the UK.

    I snagged a camcorder last yeas after breaking mine on the way to the airport. I googled around before leaving on my flight (on my iPhone might I add) but everything was only fractionally cheaper than the UK prices anyway.
    Upon taking a walk I went into Dixons and found the exact camera I wanted and it was on sale. Without the tax it was nearly £200 off retail price.

    Not sure if Dixons carry Apple products or maybe there is an Apple store tax free.
    Worth checking though.
  23. cjbryce macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2008
    +1 more

    Bought my MacBook at Dixons LHR T5 - about £200 off the Apple Store price.
  24. Elise macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2007

    I doubt even Apple would be quite so extortionate! Not sure how many they think they will sell if the base model is £586!!
  25. spiralz macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2010

    you wont have any issues at all

    you can bring any portable electronic device provided its for personal use and each item has less value than around £370 (ala 16gb wifi).

    my friend has done exactly that for me, i paid £370 for a 16 gb wifi including florida sales tax.

    as they are far too honest for their own good they went through the red lane (declaring) and showed them my iPad and asked if there anything else that they needed to pay on it...

    to be asked "is it for your own use sir", reply "yes"

    "in that case its fine there will be no charge"

    i think £370 is about right.:D

    as an earlier poster stated send it to yourself = DONT its pointless you will have to pay packaging / shipping and still may well get VAT charged at the uk end???? just bring with you it will be fine.

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