Help and advice

How are customs fees calculated?

How are charges calculated?

Charges are normally calculated upon the type of goods and their declared value (which the sender will have noted on the customs documentation CN23 attached to the parcel)

If you have a specific query about the duties / taxes for a parcel that’s been sent from abroad, then contact the HM Revenue and Customs team on is 0300 200 3700. You can also find more information about tax and customs on goods sent from abroad can be found on the website.

In addition to any charges levied by HMRC, Parcelforce Worldwide charge a customs clearance fee of £11.25 for low value import goods and £25.00 for high value goods (valued at over £873)

We will also make a charge if we have to hold your parcel whilst Customs process it, so we would recommend that you respond promptly to any queries from HMRC to avoid these charges. We will not levy a fee for the first 10 days, after 10 days however, storage fees will be charged. For more than 10 and up to 20 working days, - £5.50 per parcel. For each subsequent working day over 20 working days - £1.35 per parcel. 

What are customs charges?

When an item is received from outside of the EU including EU special territories (eg the Canary Islands) , it is automatically inspected by Border Force on behalf of HMRC. Border Force are the customs authority team who operate inside our International hub. Border Force examine postal packages arriving in the UK from outside the EU for prohibited or restricted goods. Border Force also check the customs declaration to determine if customs duty, excise duty and import VAT is chargeable.

If customs duty, excise duty and or import VAT is chargeable Parcelforce Worldwide will pay any charges on your behalf directly to HMRC. Parcelforce Worldwide will send you a letter to confirming how to make your payment in order the goods may be delivered. The letter will include a 17 digit reference number which you can use to make the payment. We will deliver your parcel once the charges have been paid. See how to pay a customs charge for more information.

Most goods posted to you from abroad from outside the EU via the postal system are liable to any or all of the following taxes: customs duty, excise duty, import VAT. All such items will be assessed by Border Force and may incur customs charges. These must be paid whether:

  • You purchase the goods or receive them as a gift
  • The goods are new or used (including antiques)
  • The goods are for your private use or for re-sale

Any packages marked merchandise over the value of £15 sterling are subject to import VAT at 20% on the value of the goods plus shipping.

Any packages marked gift over the value of £39 sterling are subject to import VAT at 20% on the value of the declared item only.

All items over the value of £135 sterling are also subject to Customs Duty dependant on the commodity code declared by the sender.

It is the values on the CN22 or CN23 as completed by the sender that UK Border Force will use to assess any charges. Staff on the Customs Helpline or Border Force DO NOT have the ability to amend a declaration. If the sender has used an incorrect or over-declared the value the recipient will need to pay the charge directly to Parcelforce and then reclaim from Border Force using the BOR286 form. 


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