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- EXPORT CUSTOMS INFORMATION
- EXPORTING WORLDWIDE- GENERAL
- EXPORTING WORLDWIDE- GENERAL
- EXPORTING OUTSIDE THE EU
- COMMERICAL INVOICE
- IMPORTING INTO THE UK
EXPORT CUSTOMS INFORMATION
Customs rules and regulations are independent to all carriers across the world and set by national governments, bodies like the European Union and the World Customs Organisation. As a carrier, we are bound by these rules, as are all of our competitors.
In addition, our customs "top tips" on major destinations have been supplied from Tates Export Guide which is an excellent source of current requirements. As a Parcelforce Worldwide customer, you are eligible for a 10% discount off the normal subscription price by calling Tates on 01908 22 11 62 and quoting your contract number. We also recommend that you consult some of the professional advice bodies; the Institute of Export is a professional body offering an excellent short course training programme. Parcelforce Worldwide customers can also get a 10% discount off by calling 01733 404 400 and quoting your contract number.In addition, the British Chambers of Commerce have a comprehensive range of export publications and support services, as do UK Trade & Investment, Business Links and SITPRO. See our "help" section for more details."
In brief, it is always your responsibility as the shipper to:
- Ensure you do not send anything which is prohibited by Parcelforce Worldwide or any of our partners as listed in our Worldwide Directory
- Check you know any prohibitions and restrictions set by governments overseas for the types of goods you are shipping. We have provided some "top tips" as a starting point in our directory for major destinations
- Complete and attach any other necessary documentation required for customs clearance overseas. This will vary by country, and will depend on the types of goods you are sending
- Explain to overseas customers that their imported goods may well be subject to import duties and taxes which will need paying before parcels will be released for delivery
There are a range of organisations in the UK who can help you with all of the above. As a starting point, we recommend that you talk to HM Revenue & Customs who can be contacted on 0845 010 9000 ( Welsh language - 0845 010 0300, +44 208 929 0152 for international callers) . They also have a website, www.hmrc.gov.uk.
What are Customs regulations there for?
Customs processes are there to monitor trade levels between countries, help maintain national security, but also for fiscal purposes. Depending on the type of good, country of origin, and the country of destination, goods may, or may not, be subject to prohibitions, restrictions, and the application of duties / taxes.
EXPORTING WORLDWIDE- GENERAL
There are some rules and additional documentation that may apply to some EU and non-EU destinations alike, depending on what is being sent and to where. You need to know the regulations for your products in your chosen export markets.
Certain goods being imported into some countries may require an import licence, imposed by the overseas government for a range of reasons including health & safety, import quotas and so on. We recommend that you check with the importer that relevant licences have been obtained from the relevant government department before shipping any goods. Be aware that rules and regulations change all the time and it is your responsibility to check with your overseas customer that relevant licences have been granted.
Certain goods being exported to some countries may require an export licence from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Attach it to the package in an envelope marked "Export Licence" and tick the relevant box on the Despatch Pack. A licence is usually valid for a single shipment, even if the value of the goods being sent are less than the amount specified on the licence. Different governmental departments have different export licence requirements; customers are advised to check with the relevant one for their goods. These departments include:
Department of Trade & Industry
0207 215 8070
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
0207 904 6000
Department of Culture, Media and Sports
0207 211 6000
Rural Payments Agency (RPA)
0191 226 5050
EXPORTING WORLDWIDE- GENERAL
Shipping goods into the EU is commonly known as "moving" rather than "exporting". This is because the EU is a single market - as such trade between the countries is easier and mainly without barriers. Shipping to the EU has fewer trade restrictions and no specific Customs documentation is needed (except the despatch pack and potentially some of the additional licences listed above). There are 27 EU members, plus 7 territories where we do not require customs declarations.
EU Member states
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
EU special territories (including the Channel Islands and the Canary Islands) and overseas territories linked to EU members (for example, the Falkland Islands) should all be treated as non-EU destinations.
EXPORTING OUTSIDE THE EU
The key thing to be aware of is that for all parcels going outside these EU destinations, parcels will pass through customs procedures. The customs team overseas will make a judgement on whether any duties and taxes are applicable to the parcel, based on the information provided on the despatch pack and commercial invoice.
These charges are made up of:
Import duty - % charge on the declared value - this depends on the type of goods
Excise duty - % charge per kilo for perfumes, cigarettes and alcohol
Import VAT - VAT at the prevailing rate in the destination country applicable on the total value and duties
Clearance fee- an administration charge to cover the costs of additional handling, administration, collection of monies etc
In order to help trade and the flow of some goods from the EU to non-EU destinations, there are some EU wide preferential agreements on particular goods going to certain non-EU countries. When exporting to countries with which there is a trade agreement, items may be eligible for reduced duty rates or treatment free of duty. If so, you will need to complete a EURl or EUR2 Movement Certificate or include a specifically worded Invoice Declaration. You should either include the Movement Certificate (authenticated and stamped by HM Revenue & Customs) in our Despatch Pack or attach it to the package in an envelope marked "EUR Movement Certificate". In some cases, a EUR2 Movement Certificate signed by the sender may be used.
Movement Certificates and Invoice Declarations
Some countries require certain goods to have a Certificate of Origin attached to the parcel. Turkey , for example, requires a certificate of origin for most types of goods, and Taiwan requires them for textiles and clothing. You need to make sure that you have checked with the local Chambers of Commerce who can advise on specifics.
Harmonised System (HS) Numbers
We advise including the World Customs Organisation 6 digit Harmonised System (HS) tariff number (also known as commodity codes, tariff headings, tariff codes, or classification codes) for each type of good, along with details of the country of origin. This will aid customs authorities assess and charge appropriate duties and taxes. For assistance, HMCE's Tariff Classification Helpline gives verbal (non-legally binding) advice on 01702 366077 or by e-mail at email@example.com . Look up your Customs tariff code.
VAT Paid on Exported Goods
Each item valued over £100 must carry a VAT Label 444 on the outside of the package. You can obtain these and VAT notices from your local Customs VAT office, or the HMCE National Advice Service. For proof of export for re-claiming VAT, the recognised evidence is the customer receipt part of the despatch pack, or for customers using WDM Online, the daily manifest.
When sending goods, other than samples, gifts and possessions to destinations outside the EU, 3 copies of a commercial invoice must accompany each package. The specific details required are:
- 3 copies on company headed paper
- Invoices must be typed and not handwritten
- An original company stamp or original official signature on each one plus job title
- Sender's name, address, postcode or zip code, country, telephone, fax, and a contact name
- Recipient's name, address, postcode or zip code, country, telephone, fax and a contact name
- Buyer's name, address, postcode or zip code, country, telephone, fax and a contact name
- The VAT numbers of the sender and the buyer or declarations of non-VAT registration (as appropriate)
- Date / Place
- Invoice number and purchase order number (if applicable)
- Terms of delivery (Incoterms)
- For each type of good, number of units, the description, HS tariff number, country of origin, unit weight, unit value and total value
- Total number of items, total weight and total value
- Currency used
- Shipping costs
- Declaration that all invoice information is true and correct
- Business registration details (if appropriate)
Pro forma invoice
For samples, gifts and possessions, you may use a pro forma invoice instead, providing the total value does not exceed the country lower value limit. In this case, the recipient may not have to pay Customs duties. It must be clearly marked "Pro Forma Invoice" and include the same information as a commercial invoice plus the following:
- The statement "sample/gift/possession" (as appropriate) and the exact value in the unit value and total value boxes. We suggest that there is always an inherent value in everything, so even for documents, we recommend a nominal declaration even for the value of the paper.
- Reason for sending (e.g. "sample for exhibition", "gift" and so on) on the invoice (we suggest near the invoice number)
Terms of delivery
Terms of delivery, or Incoterms, tell the relevant customs authorities who is paying for any duties and taxes liable on the parcel. We ship all of our parcels on the basis that any such charges are paid by the recipient. For our services (other than europrioritybusiness and europriorityhome) the correct Incoterm is "Delivered Duty Unpaid - DDU" (as per the Incoterms 2000 descriptions). For our europrioritybusiness and home service, our network uses a different system; the equivalent term is called Incoterm 20.
For europrioritybusiness and europriorityhome non-EU destinations only, you can also choose to pay any duties and taxes on behalf of the recipient. If you are interested in this, please speak to your account manager.
Documents or merchandise
The distinction between documents (which usually pass through customs procedures without any duties and taxes being applied) and merchandise does vary by country. As a rule of thumb, reports and printed matter tends to be treated as documents - everything else is liable to be treated as merchandise. However, it is something of an arbitrary difference in this new digital age; if you take the example of a CD Rom with a report on it. Some countries may classify this as a document based on the CD Rom contents, whereas some countries could treat it as merchandise based on the CD Rom itself. On the basis that anything may be examined by Customs, all parcels should have fully completed despatch packs and either a commercial or pro forma invoice with accurate descriptions and value declarations.Back to top
IMPORTING INTO THE UK
Importing into the UK is usually straightforward, but there may be times when it becomes more complicated given the contents of the packages, or the reasons for import. We suggest that you contact HMRC for detailed information on import Customs procedures and charges.
If we receive a parcel from overseas, we will pay any relevant import duty, excise duty and VAT on your behalf to HM Revenue and Customs. Before the parcel can be released to you, we require you to repay this sum, together with our own clearance fee, details of which will be sent to you in a letter. To make things easier, you can now pay by credit or debit card on our website or over the phone. You can then also select how and when you would like this parcel delivered.
Import value thresholds
For goods moving within the EU, import duties and taxes do not usually apply. However, for goods imported from non-EU countries, Customs charges do apply, these may include import duty, excise duty and import VAT. Goods with a value exceeding £15, for commercial items including internet/mail order purchases, or £36 in the case of gifts between private individuals, are generally subject to Customs charges. Normally charges are calculated upon the declared value (plus shipping costs for commercial items). Further general information can be obtained by contacting HMRC.
Queries about specific import parcel duties / taxes
If you have a specific query about the duties / taxes for an imported parcel through Parcelforce Worldwide, then contact the Customs team on 02476 212860.
Please quote the charge number and date from the Customs Charge Label (OE94) and retain outer wrappings and all documents, as they may be required to resolve your enquiry. Note also that this charge label is your proof of import for VAT purposes.
Queries about the Parcelforce Worldwide clearance fee
Parcelforce Worldwide charges a Customs clearance fee which helps cover the costs of additional handling, administration, collection of monies and provision of facilities for Customs clearance of packages. We have two levels of clearance fee for import parcels; a higher fee is for express parcels imported through the Express Mail Services ( EMS ) or General Logistics Systems (GLS) networks and for all parcels valued at over £600, the lower fee is for all other imported parcels. For current charges, please see the Customs Charging page. Please note that all charges and thresholds are liable to change.
Storage awaiting Customs clearance
We would recommend that you respond promptly to any Customs queries to avoid storage charges; we will not levy a fee for the first 10 days. After 10 days however, storage fees will be charged, please see the Parcelforce Worldwide price guide. All parcels valued at over £2000 are placed in secure storage until completion of Customs formalities.