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What are the tax implications of shopping online?

Shopping online is becoming more and more prolific but there could be hidden tax implications depending on what the goods are and where they come from.

Even if the goods were ordered from within the EU, alcohol or tobacco are subject to Excise Duty and if the retailer has not prepaid this, the goods could be seized.Therefore, expect the price to reflect an inclusion of duty, if its impressively low, it has probably not been paid. Additionally, those kinds of products will be expected to bear appropriate UK health warnings.

Custom duty and VAT Import duty will need to be paid on goods bought outside the EU for delivery to the UK. This is applicable to goods over a certain value and any duty less than £9 will be waived. Note that some online retailers include VAT as they can have arrangement with their postal carriers who will pay it to HMRC subsequently. UK Exicse duty will also still apply to any cigarettes or alcohol. Bear in mind that if any of the procedures noted are not followed somehow, the customer always risks losing the goods.