Customs charges are taxes and fees levied on goods imported from outside the UK. The rate of customs charges depends on the type and value of the imported goods.
Customs duty is levied on goods worth more than £135. The rate is determined according to the commodity codes. The type of goods, material, and manufacturing process determine the code and, therefore, the rate of import duty. Alcohol and tobacco, for example, usually have special rates.
Import VAT is a tax levied on goods whose value exceeds £135. Instead of paying VAT at checkout (included in the item’s price), UK shoppers pay VAT separately once the goods enter the UK.
The rate of import VAT is the same as normal VAT - 20%.
Courier handling fees are levied by a courier company if they take care of customs clearance and pay duty and import VAT on your behalf.
The rate of the handling fee depends on the courier company. Some companies charge a fixed amount, while others charge either a fixed amount or 2.5% of the total duty and VAT - whichever is higher.
The fee is non-refundable, as it is not collected by the customs authorities but by a courier company.
Here’s what couriers are charging for handling fees as of August 2022: