There is lots to consider when sending a parcel outside the European Union. For example, you will need to produce paperwork for customs clearance, declare the value of each item and explain why you’re sending it. Customs will then review your declaration and may apply customs import duty and tax charges. These charges are usually paid by the receiver.
If you’re shipping gifts or sending personal effects then they may be exempt from customs import charges. This will depend on the value of the items, and the regulations for that particular country.
The following information will explain everything you need to know about customs and what to consider when sending a worldwide parcel delivery.
The Customs Clearance Process
Shipping ONE helps you produce all the customs forms you will need when shipping outside the EU, and unlike a freight forwarder, all our courier services include customs clearance.
Customs will decide if any duties and tax charges should be applied, and if so the customs fees will need to be paid by the receiver, along with any admin charges applied by the courier before delivery can be made. Obtaining payment can sometimes delay the delivery process.
Here’s a quick summary of what happens when you ship outside the EU:
As part of your booking process, we will ask you to declare what you are shipping and why.
Shipping ONE will then provide the required customs paperwork for you to print out.
When your shipment arrives at the destination country, the carrier will arrange the customs clearance, and customs will assess your declaration to determine the amount of import duty that should be applied to your shipment. These charges will as a norm, be billed to the receiver.
The receiver will be contacted and asked to pay any charges. They will also be provided with a copy of your customs declaration as reference.
If you would prefer to pay these customs charges yourself, we can arrange this. This is a popular option when sending gifts. There is an additional charge for this and a deposit is required.
Once any charges have been paid, your parcel will exit customs and be delivered.
Import Duty, Tax And Other Charges
Customs will determine the import charges to be applied to your international parcel based on the information provided on your customs paperwork – the declared value, the reason for export and the goods description.
Whilst each country has its own regulations, most countries will have a set duty threshold for low value items. Often low value items such as gifts, samples and personal effects will attract a lower amount of duty or may be exempt from any charges. If you want to know the threshold for gifts, samples or personal effects, or you require any further help, please contact us.
Often people declare a lower value on the customs invoice to reduce the customs tax and duty. This is only recommended if you can genuinely justify the lower value if it is questioned by customs.
For example, you may want to send a laptop that originally cost you £1000 but now has a value, to you, of only £200. You can declare it as having a value of £200, and incur a lower customs clearance charge. However, if customs suspect you have undervalued it, you will be asked to justify the stated value. Your shipment will not be delivered until customs are fully satisfied that the declaration you have made is genuine. Declaring a lower value may also affect your claim value in the event of a loss or damage in transit.
Shipping ONE has no control over any of the charges applied to your goods by customs, and once your parcel has arrived at the customs facility in the destination country, the only way to have the parcel delivered is to pay any clearance charges.
If your goods are dutiable (for example if you’re selling them) then Customs will decide which charges to apply based on the products you’re sending and the value you have declared.
Every product has a commodity code (also known as a Customs Tariff code or harmonization code). Each commodity code has a set level of duty and tax that varies from country to country, and if you don’t state the correct code then the custom clearing agent in the receiver country will need to literally guess it based upon the description you have provided. If you’re sending a low value item, it’s not so much of a concern, but if your shipment has a high value then it could result in your receiver incurring significantly higher import duty rates. To check the correct commodity code for the goods your shipping, click here.
Once you know the commodity codes for your products, you can then contact the customs authority in the destination country to establish how much customs duty and tax will be applied to your shipment.