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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Hello, I have a holiday flat in England and I would like to

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Hello, I have a holiday flat in England and I would like to bring a painting which I bought in Hong Kong to hang up in my living room. I would like to know what duties & VAT do I need to pay and will I be able to claim any of it back should I decide to ship it back home again. The painting is of high value hence the concern. Thanks
Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.

Funny you should ask this one, some years ago I answered a similar question; it concerned shot guns worth over GBP 200K!

On importation HMRC may charge customs duties and VAT. For importing an oil painting classified as an antique the rate is 0% and VAT of 5% will be charged. If it is not an antique then the customs duty is 0%. The commodity code is 9201 10 00. There are thousands of commodity codes and rates of customs duty and you might be advised to consult HMRC before shipment. Indeed, if the art is in itself valuable this precaution is essential. Providing the item is not kept in the UK for more than two years you can generally get the VAT back on re-export.

I do hope I have been of some help. Expert consultation advice is often essential in these matters.

If it's not an antique the VAT is 0% too, same as the customs duty, sorry!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just so that I understand perfectly, there is no duty nor VAT for a painting which is not an antique ( ie is antique defined as more than 100 years old ?) regardless of the value of the painting.

That is what the HMRC web site on the subject advises. However, I would still recommend that you check before you import as I suggested in my original answer. Yes, if over 100 years old it is usually classed as an antique. Have a look at Deloitte's 'Art & Tax - UK Import and Export' on the web. You will see just how complex the matter can be which is why I said to check before hand.
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