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Old June 27th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #1
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What are the hidden costs for importing from US to UK?

Hi all,

I was hoping someone with some experience in importing production equipment from the US to the UK could shed some light on what the deal is with taxes, import duty and so on... apologies if I seem a little dense on the matter, I've never thought about all this before.

Perhaps an example would be easiest. Right, so on the Stanton website there is a big pricelist for Jimmy Jibs (http://www.jimmyjib.com/pricelist.html). If this were a UK company I would know first of all to add VAT at 17.5% to the end price that I would have to pay in cash (I would then reclaim the VAT later on). I understand that sales tax in the US is dependent on what state you're buying from and what state you're in. Does it apply at all to international customers? OK, so assuming I figure this out and pay the nice people with my Visa card, now I have to get it over here to me in the UK. Is there a specific process I have to follow, other than Stanton or me putting the equipment on some international freight service, to do with the fact I am importing? Do I need to pay import duty, and if so how I do work out how much that will be?

Prices in the States are so much cheaper that I'm sure there are plenty of Brits on these forums who have taken advantage of them - I would really appreciate any insights you have to offer.

Warm regards,

Ed
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Old June 27th, 2006, 11:48 AM   #2
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Hi Ed - Have limited knowlage on this subject so I am also keen to hear from others who know the score... particularly, when I have heard that our Mr Brown raised the barrier on goods coming in.

With various items we have bought there has been no tax at the USA end of things but - we have been charged at this end for import taxes when we have purchased goods over $1000.00. We purchase a fair bit of footage from the States, and in those cases the library marks the Tapes/DVDs in regard to the actual cost of the item and not the cost of the footage.

Visa is a very good way to pay because we had to get Visa involved in a dispute over a damaged projection unit sent from New York and visa were first class at dealing with it.

All the companies we have delt with have sorted a courier out at thier end and we have had no problems.

Sorry could'nt be more help....

Regards: Stu...
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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Old June 27th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #3
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I used to import things into France when I lived there. What would happen is the mailman/UPS/FedEx driver would come to my door with the package and have a bill for me to pay on the spot. Usually cash or certified cheque. The bill would be the value of the merchandise plus the cost of shipping then add the 20.5% VAT (for France at the time) on top of that.
If you declared a small amount for something and they thought it was worth more, they charged you more.
BUT, I also found that if it is sent via the US Post Office, duties were seldom charged at all. UPS and FedEx charged them automatically.
Then there was the Mustang GT Convertible and Pontiac Fiero GT that were hell getting into the country legally... that's another story...
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Old June 27th, 2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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Hi Stu, yes I share your frustration. Unfortunately a combination of a strong pound and market economics concerning products scarcely available over here has put a huge premium on production equipment. I guess one option for goods you could carry would be to fly over, buy the item, chuck away the packaging, scruff it up a bit then carry it through the green channel back into the UK but this is hardly legal.
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Old June 27th, 2006, 12:00 PM   #5
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"I guess one option for goods you could carry would be to fly over, buy the item, chuck away the packaging, scruff it up a bit then carry it through the green channel back into the UK but this is hardly legal."

Hey Ed - So when are thinking of going over.... let me know and I'll give you my shopping list :)

Stu...
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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Old June 27th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Luker
I used to import things into France when I lived there. What would happen is the mailman/UPS/FedEx driver would come to my door with the package and have a bill for me to pay on the spot.
I ordered a lightmeter from www.digitalrev.com a while back, they were very clear about how they were shipping from HK but the price was excellent and it all looked great. It arrived and was fine. About two weeks later UPS contacted me to say there was £30 I owed them which turned out to be the import duty as it came into the UK. After a bit of searching I did locate a tiny tiny tiny bit of text on the digitalrev.com site (they made it bigger now) which said that this MIGHT happen in SOME cases, so perhaps the customs officers make a random selection of things to check.

I noticed that usually international parcels come with a customs sticker stating the content and the price, which is presumably how they work out how much to charge. What is to stop fraud in how this price is set - for example, there are plenty of lenses or adaptors which are tremendously more expensive than they look - I'm not advocating customs fraud in any way, I'm just trying to work out how it all functions.
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Old June 27th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart Menelaws
Hey Ed - So when are thinking of going over.... let me know and I'll give you my shopping list :)
Now I'm just picturing myself walking back through Heathrow towing a little train of dollies loaded up with HDCAM kit, follow focus, Astros, etc... "I just take holiday movies seriously, okay?!"
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