VAT and Handling Fees - U.S. to U.K. Shipments | Overview

UK Royal Mail services have added fees on imported packages that come in from overseas that are not part of the European Union. The two main fees involved in these are VAT (value-added tax) and the Royal Mail handling fee.

The standard VAT tax rate is 20%

Both VAT and the handling fee are not charged to the seller but are charged to the customer once the package arrives in the UK, meaning that the seller does not charge the money for these two fees when the items are purchased since it is on the customer to pay after the items have shipped.

The handling fee for all Royal Mail imports is £8.

VAT fees vary depending on the value of the item imported. Any item valued over £15 will be charged a VAT fee, with a specific formula used for any given amount over the £15 threshold.

Also, be aware that some packages will be inspected by customs and incur customs fees if they are examined. This customs fee is added to VAT and handling.

For more information read Royal Mail’s page on importing goods and customs.

If you ship internationally, inform UK purchasers that their package is coming from the USA and may incur these fees when it arrives and it is up to them to pay so they can receive final delivery. Royal Mail provides a link on its customs and import page to make a customs payment online.

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Is the £8 handling charge inclusive of VAT?


I am guessing that when accounting for these fees (we refund the customer) we should have 2 lines on the bill

Handling fee £8 (includes 20% VAT)

Import VAT - whatever the amount is.



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Hello Rebecca, and thank you for posting to our support center.

Based on our information, it would appear that the handling fees are not inclusive of VAT, since they are charged by the Royal Mail specifically.


While you can add the first static line for the Handling fee to your Packing Slips, unfortunately we don't currently have a packing slip variable available to calculate your VAT fees based on the shipment value.

That being said, our community has considerable influence on the course of our development. The more interest we see for certain features or variables, the more likely they will be added to our app.

Would you consider reposting your specific needs and interest in a VAT packing slip variable, to our Feature Requests forums? These are monitored by our CEO and Product Team and used to prioritize future development work.

We look forward to seeing you in the Feature Request forum and taking an active role in helping to shape ShippingEasy!

Thank you!

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Jacen thanks for this.

More questions.

Does £8 include VAT then?  It definitely isn't listed as a separate item in the Royal Mail documentation and so I am inclined to presume it includes VAT.

What is clear is that it's not an Import VAT item (i.e. wholly chargeable to VAT) it is a personnel charge so is a total fee plus VAT £6.66 + £1.33 VAT).

Would you agree?


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