Import duty is an amount you have to pay when importing goods into the European Union (EU) and thereby the UK. It is, therefore, a good idea to know the basics of rules and regulations regarding import duty when shipping from the USA, in order to know the total price of importing your goods.
You normally have to pay VAT and import duty from USA on goods imported (i.e. from non-EU countries) when they are first brought into the EU (i.e. UK). Failing to pay your duty and VAT promptly, you are likely to incur additional costs for storage until the goods are released upon receipt of your full payment.
When you buy products from your US supplier, you must ensure that sales tax is not added to the invoice. You supplier can issue an invoice without sales tax, as long as the address of the buyer is outside the US. Should it happen that you pay sales tax to your US supplier, it can be next to impossible to get that payment refunded.
When you import your goods from the USA, VAT is charged by HMRC at the same rate as if you bought the goods in the UK, and the rate is calculated based on the cost of the product, including bringing it to the UK. In fact, VAT is calculated based on the price stated on the commercial invoice, the duty and an estimated transportation cost from the US to the UK border. The latter is determined based on your actual shipping cost, but instead of using the full door-to-door cost, it is an estimate of the door-to-port cost.
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