How to Pay Customs Charges in the UK (2023)

how to pay customs charges uk

If you’re importing goods into the UK, it’s important to understand the customs charges that may apply to your shipment.

Customs charges are additional fees that you need to pay to receive your goods, and they’re imposed by the UK government to control the flow of goods into the country.

Failure to pay these charges can lead to costly delays and penalties.

The amount you’ll have to pay depends on several factors, which will be discussed later in this article.


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Table of Contents

What Are Customs Charges?

Customs charges are additional fees that are levied on goods that are imported into the UK from other countries.

These charges are collected by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the UK government agency responsible for collecting taxes and duties.

The purpose of the charges is to control the flow of goods into the country and to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.

The charges are typically based on the value of the goods, the type of goods, and the country of origin.

How to Pay Customs Charges in the UK

how to pay customs fees uk

Here’s how you can pay these charges and what to do if you have any issues.

Once your delivery company notifies you of the charges, you have about three weeks to pay before the parcel is returned to the sender.

You can choose any of the following payment methods.


Paying online is a fast and convenient way to settle your customs charges.

You can usually pay through the courier’s website, or you may receive a link to pay through a secure payment platform.

Over the phone

Some courier companies allow you to pay your customs charges over the phone.

Simply call the number provided on the payment invoice and follow the instructions to make your payment.

Bank transfer

If you prefer to pay by bank transfer, you can usually find the courier’s bank details on the payment invoice.

Be sure to include the invoice number and any other necessary details to ensure that your payment is correctly allocated.


If you’d rather pay in person, some courier companies have physical locations where you can settle your customs charges.

Check with your courier to see if they offer this service.

Ask for a refund if you’ve been charged too much

If you think you’ve been overcharged, you can request a refund of VAT or customs duty.

You can download and fill in a form from the UK government website, either form BOR 286 if Royal Mail or Parcelforce delivered the goods or form C285 if a courier or freight company delivered the goods.

Types of Customs Charges

There are three main types of customs charges that may apply to your shipment.

hm revenue & customs


VAT is a tax that is charged on the total value of the goods, including any import duty that is applicable.

It’s typically charged on shipments sent from outside the UK to Great Britain, and outside the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland.


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Gifts worth £39 or less are, however, exempted from VAT.

For any non-excise item you purchase, your seller would have added VAT to the amount you obtained the item.

But you’ll need to pay VAT to your delivery company if the item is an excise item or a gift from someone else and is worth more than £39.

Customs Duty

This is a tax that is charged on goods that are imported from outside the EU, and it is based on the value of the goods.

You’ll be charged Customs Duty on packages delivered from outside the UK (or the UK and the EU if you’re in Northern Ireland) if they’re excise goods or have a value exceeding £135.

If you’re charged Customs Duty, you must pay it on the amount you paid for the goods and associated costs such as packaging, insurance, and postage.

Excise Duty

It’s a tax charged on certain types of goods, such as alcohol and tobacco.

You’d incur an excise duty charge based on the current rates if you receive alcoholic beverages or tobacco products from a foreign country into the UK.

For goods dispatched from the European Union to Northern Ireland, ensure that the excise duty fee was incorporated in the total cost.

If not, authorities may confiscate your merchandise whether you purchase the products or they’re delivered as a gift.

How Much Is UK Customs Duty?

how much is uk customs duty

Customs duty rates for goods imported into the UK depend on the type and value of the goods, as well as their country of origin.

However, for non-excise goods worth £135 or less, there is generally no customs duty charge.

For gifts and goods above £135, the customs duty rate will depend on the type of goods and where they’re sent from.

In this case, you can contact the UK customs duty helpline to obtain information on the specific rates that apply.

Alternatively, you can determine the exact amount you’ll have to pay for a specific item by using the UK Trade Tariff, which provides detailed information on the customs duty rates for different types of goods.

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The tariff is regularly updated, so it’s important to check the latest version before importing any goods.

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Paying Customs Charges

People make several mistakes when paying customs charges in the UK.

Avoid them as much as you can.

Some of these mistakes include the following.

1. Incorrectly declaring the value of goods

This can result in underpayment of customs charges, which can lead to penalties and delays.

2. Using an incorrect HS code

The HS code is a code used to classify goods for customs purposes. Using the wrong code can result in incorrect customs charges being applied.

3. Missing documentation

Provide all necessary documentation, such as invoices and packing lists, to ensure that your customs clearance process is smooth and efficient.

4. Late payment of customs charges

Failure to pay the charges on time can result in penalties and delays.

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How to Pay Customs Charges in the UK (2023)

Remz is a professional who has been writing content for almost 10 years. He's a shipping and logistics enthusiast and the head of the Trust Heritage Logistics content team. He bagged an MSc degree shortly after graduating from the university with flying colours. When it comes to creating content, Remz loves to do in-depth research and provide amazing pieces of information that every reader will find helpful.

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