This is topic UK Imports From USA May Attract VAT in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on April 22, 2013, 10:03 AM:
I bought a film on US Ebay and today a card popped through the letterbox informing me that my package was being held at the local Royal Mail sorting office. It would not be released until I paid UK Value Added Taz (20%) plus a fee for handling by Royal Mail.

When I called at the Sorting Office the counter clerk informed me that recently a lot more packages were being received by them which had attracted V.A.T. It may seem that Customs & Excise are doing their bit to increase the UK earnings!

For UK members considering importing from the US, any package with an excess value of GBP £15 will have the tax added, plus the Royal Mail handling charge of GBP £8.

So, if your order exceeds USD $22 (approximately) look out for the little card to arrive in your post.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 22, 2013, 01:58 PM:
.... And that what VAT is for... to protect local made of the same item.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 22, 2013, 02:11 PM:
V.A.T. was introduced in the UK in the 70's to replace what used
to be called "Purchase Tax", which was only paid on NEW items and not on secondhand stuff,I agree that adding it onto an item
purchased from abroad, especially in the case of secondhand purchases is wrong, it has nothing to do with safeguarding any local
made items.such as what? This is the price you pay for living in one of the
highest taxed countries on the face of the planet, how else are we
to fund the waves of people waiting to come here.It certainly puts up the cost of film purchases Maurice when added onto
the shipping costs.
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on April 22, 2013, 03:00 PM:
I got stung a few years ago with some 16mm films from US. They were sent Emery Airfright. Not only was VAT added Duty was added too, plus of course the cost of what you have already paid for in the shipping costs, the dreaded handling charge.
Also they put the taxes on the TOTAL cost including carriage. Which could be illegal. Tax should only be paid from the 12 mile limit.

So you pay customs deceleration total then duty, paperwork and on top VAT.

Don't think I could afford the shipping now. Think there were about 15 reels in one box.

VAT stands for Very Awful Tax.

The films did arrive in about four days though.

At least we know that Hugh is not a millionaire:D They had their tax rate cut. Because were all in it together.

Looks like we'll have to start sending features a bit at a time. Number of feet divided by total cost.

P.S. You may think I spelled Airfreight wrong, not so I got a fright when the paper work arrived.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 22, 2013, 03:11 PM:
That's tickled me Dave, I wish I was,but it is most unfair that used
secondhand film can be "held to ransom" by customs, who regularly turn a blind eye to illegal immigration, the grasping
Bastards, may every biscuit they ever pick up be a custard cream!
I remember back in the mid 70's when I was buying from Italy
and Germany, and being hit with customs charges, and we were
one of the main members of the common market!
There was one seller who marked the 16mm feature I imported
a couple of weeks ago as a "gift" and it wasn't charged,plus it
came straight to me.
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on April 22, 2013, 03:36 PM:
My wife's from Thailand and it took almost 12 months hard work for her to come and live with me in the UK. My daughter was born in Thai, mind you for two months I thought it was a boy [Embarrassed] Tik used to say "Son You" or words to that effect, when we were on the phone, so I thought a son for me. I did find out before I got over to see her.

It has worked out OK. Only problem had to cut down on buying films. Women don't seem to understand a collectors addiction!

WE do plan to go and live back in Thai in a couple of years though.

Now have son too. "Cool" when we watched a film he said the other night.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 22, 2013, 03:38 PM:
I should say "duty" instead of VAT that is meant to protect locally made item. VAT is meant as government's way to earn money (to run the country). Second hand item is VAT becuase once you have it, the value may increase due to inflation or deman. By this, the seller is earning something (benefiting) and government asks a share of it (obviously because you are selling it in their property, same like Ebay). There is a country that is not applying VAT such as Hongkong, and many middle east countries because they trt to attract more people to come/move.

Like Gerard Depardiu, he chose to move to Russia rather to pay the high tax implied in his original country.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 22, 2013, 03:54 PM:
This is a charge that has been applied since Ebay Winbert, the
UK Government has latched onto a way of getting their hands on
extra money.I used to buy regularly from the USA Importing
16mm prints in the mid 80's to early 90's and was not charged
customs excise duty, my source of buying was "The Big Reel",
but since ebay sales have taken off, the tax men have moved in for a share of the pie as they are desperate for cash and can't
think of enough ways to fleece the British public.As for moving
to Russia, the opposite is true, they come here to launder their
money and take advantage of our lax regulation of tax for the
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on April 22, 2013, 04:29 PM:
No Russia is out for me. Too cold in Siberia, but the perfect place for your home cinema, nice film library in the cold hut, that should stop your films fading.

When I go to Thai feel like a 16mm film. I turn red, then return to the UK and fade.

It does seem the ebay is the evil one though another tread running about them. Like Hugh says the 80's and 90's if you only had one feature sent by post they usually got in OK.

I used to drewl when my Big Reel came. Like anything else though I did have a couple of poor experiences.

Don't the Russians buy football clubs? Not launderettes.

I know politics are not supposed to be a topic, but think I'll stand at the next election for the "Film Party" no TAX ON FILMS, lower tax on beer, wine and spirits.

And lets hope that customs get a Tesco burger and end up with the trots.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 22, 2013, 04:30 PM:
Obviously everything changes now after more people to choose mail order than buying in person. Until now we are still not paying VAT for something bought locally except for some seller that is tax registered. For example buying anew CD from non tax registered member is only $10 vs $15 from a CD shop.

There is an idea now that government will also apply tax for every ebay transaction no matter it is private selling or not. That is why Ebay is lately campaigning to its members to sign a petition against this idea. Tax on Ebay transactions will obviously decrease people's interest to sale through Ebay.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 22, 2013, 05:56 PM:
You'll get my vote Dave.
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on April 22, 2013, 06:18 PM:
It's understandable if film collectors in the UK buying from the USA feel that paying customs/import charges is unfair, as I believe that no such charges apply when films are sent from the UK to the USA.

In my experience, every so often it seems like there's a purge during which duty is more likely to be charged, but in-between you are much more likely to receive items without charges.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 22, 2013, 07:42 PM:
We pay import duties over a certain dollar value. I've bought a lot of films from the UK and only been slapped with this a few times.

When budgets are tight, governments start to consider all sorts of clever ideas to raise money. The State of New York audited our 2009 income tax a few months ago and found a goof. They hit us with the back tax and 7% interest! (Why they couldn't have done this in 2010 is beyond me!)

(So much for our budget!)

A new one around here is red light cameras sprouting up all over. You slip through the red and you get a $100 ticket in the mail with a picture of your license plate. The excuse is safety, except they are causing people to jam on their brakes at lights just changed to red and sometimes get hit from behind!

You see, it's not exactly a tax, but...
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 23, 2013, 12:51 AM:
Adrian, all countries there must be duty/VAT system except for certain countries I mentioned above.

Buying from overseas will be taxable/dutiable if the value of item is more than $60.

Guys, you are lucky still getting charged with VAT while another government also charges with duty and this will be more hurt if it is applied in UK since duty is usually percentage from C.I.F (Cost, Insurance and Freight). For example if in a country that film has 10% duty, therefore for a $100 (= Cost) film imported from UK which cost $30 for shipping (= Freight) and $10 for insurance then 10% is taken from $140 (C + I + F) = $14 is for duty. Therefore the total cost to import this film to become $154

If the rate of VAT is 15%, we must pay 15% from $154 = $23.1 making the total cost for this film to become $177.

What I mentioned above is to show that there are various instruments that government can use to raise money.

to jam on their brakes at lights just changed to red and sometimes get hit from behind!
Steve, that should not happen. There is a 3 to 5 seconds gap between yellow light and red, depend on how big is the road. This is enough for driver to think whether to speed up or to brake the car safely.

In fact, in Canada (and I think in some US states) there is a display showing the countdown to red (in seconds) installed in every red light that driver can take into account whether he/she can pass the red light or not.
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on April 23, 2013, 01:52 AM:
Seen the countdown at traffic lights in Bangkok and thought that's a good idea, but if that was used here the cameras the generate the tax/fine would be useless.

Another revenue generator in the UK is the speed camera. Although you can't go fast on the roads here due to the amount of speed holes aka pot holes.

We did apply to the so called 3rd world, but got turned down as we are too poor.

Looking at my old magazines there was an editorial fro Derann Films about the hire library, that tax was to be applied. The cost went up, but the value stayed the same you got 7 days hire.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 03:48 AM:
Well I just had to check my facts regarding charges on some of my
purchases from days of yore, and the only charge on the boxes
is for postage of $28.00, and that was in 1996.prior to the EBAY
phenomenon.Strange how governments manipulate laws to
suit themselves,while at the same time evading taxes levied at
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 23, 2013, 05:47 AM:

That which should not happen happens every day. That's why the world is a mess!

Our traffic lights are yellow to red without delay. I've seen the countdown in other parts of the US, but not here.

-how would they get all that revenue with these things?
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on April 23, 2013, 06:20 AM:
I agree with Adrian, they seem to have erratic phases when you get VAT charged on everything you import, then it all goes quiet again.

Cheap way of making money.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 06:32 AM:
There wouldn't have to be cheap ways of making money if the
Government stopped paying benefits to people who have never
contributed into the system in the first place, thats why taxes
are levied at mundane things to balance the books,while making
our ever giving politicians the impression to the outside world
that they are the "second coming".
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on April 23, 2013, 06:57 AM:
Naughty naughty Hugh, verging on pollyticks that.

You are right though of course and hurts all the more knowing so many died in the second world war so we could have a better life. [Frown]
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 07:23 AM:
That's so very true Lee, and it really annoys me,when we have the
present Prime Minister who got his facts so terribly wrong on WW2
a couple of years ago and his friend made an excuse "I can't
understand it as "Where Eagles Dare" is his favourite film". Says it
all doesn't it.
Posted by Christian Bjorgen (Member # 1780) on April 23, 2013, 07:39 AM:
In Norway it's 25% tax + import fees (12 - 50 GBP, depending on value), however, these do not apply to used items, gifts or purchases at a value of less than 20 GBP (30-ish USD).

Problem however is that the customs agents usually just look at the values and not the contents, and such I have to pay customs for items that are exempt. Luckily, the customs agency here usually pay you back if you can provide documentation that the goods are exempt (a print-out of mail correspondance + photo of the package is usually more than enough).
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 08:03 AM:
Back before VAT reared it's ugly head in the UK, Purchase Tax
was applied, usually to luxury goods or electrical items, it was
not used on secondhand goods.The dreaded VAT is insidious, in
that it has crept into everything, and at a greater percentage
than PT, and still the government can't manage.Of course back
in the day,there would be little if any 16mm prints imported,
apart from legitimate releases from companies,as they would
be seized by customs, the only prints being owned by film libraries..
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 23, 2013, 08:28 AM:
This thread is almost going to enter the restricted area.

Not in the third world countries like my home, Indonesia not here in the UK or US which are more developed, it seems that people are awalys questioning where the tax money goes without realizing that baby who was just born yesterday does need milk, diapers, baby food and after that is going to school and university which almost all are subsidized through the tax system we paid.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 23, 2013, 09:22 AM:
-nothing wrong with asking questions, especially where money winds up!

When people stop asking those questions it starts going where it shouldn't!

As they say: "A few billion here, a few billion there: Pretty soon you're talking real money!"
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 11:13 AM:
Winbert, in the UK, milk, nappies etc are paid for by the parents
not the state, schools are funded through the tax payer, but
anyone wishing to attend University or any further education
must fund it themselves, which is only fair.
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on April 23, 2013, 11:21 AM:
Hugh. I now qualify to be PM Where Eagles Dare is one of my Favs followed by Kelly's Heroes. Now that would solve all our problems.

I would of course have to perform The Great Escape and do the Triple Cross. What shall I call this perhaps Operation Crossbow maybe Operation Amsterdam, so I get diamonds too. How would I get out? by The Train or Von Ryan's Express would be good, or The Cruel Sea but I would have to Run Silent, Run Deep. Maybe better to Reach For The Sky.

No matter how its The Longest Day and if Went The Day Well I could have a lager Ice Cold In Alex.

I hope I can getaway or will they send The Dirty Dozen after me, but it will take From Here To Eternity to find me because I'll hide at the home of Mrs Miniver.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 11:22 AM:
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on April 23, 2013, 05:30 PM:
in the UK, milk, nappies etc are paid for by the parents
not the state,

Here is in Canada, those things are also paid by the parents but parents get some sort of money to raise the baby given every tax year. I don't know how much because I am an expatriate here. But I thought UK has the same policy since Canada might had copied the policy from the UK as a member of commenwealth country.

School is always free here, and local university pay only one-third of international students.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on April 23, 2013, 06:46 PM:
There is what is known as family allowance, where a set sum is
paid to couples with children,but it is usually spent on anything but. As far as I'm aware this is financed through National Insurance contributions and not tax.

[ April 24, 2013, 08:16 AM: Message edited by: Hugh Thompson Scott ]

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