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How to declare and prepay excise duty on cigars ordered from abroad

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  • #16
    From what I understand ON TOP of the Tobacco excise duty, you pay customs duty on the price of the item... but nowhere do they say how much or how to work out what customs duty will be. You (or the seller) write on the form how much the item costs . They also say the seller puts an invoice for the item inside the package, but this isn't compulsory as far as I can see.

    There is also ?8 charge by the post office for handling the duty - if its calculated that you have to pay anything to customs, you then have to pay ?8 on top.
    Last edited by Lascaux; 23-03-2010, 02:03 PM.


    • #17
      ...and then don't you also have to pay VAT on the total value including tobacco duty & import duty?


      • #18
        oh yes, forgot that too

        3. Charges

        3.1 How are import charges calculated?

        Charges are calculated by Customs staff at the postal depots where the packages are received. However, in some cases special arrangements are in place for goods purchased on the internet (see paragraph 3.4 below).
        Value Added Tax (VAT) - Import VAT is charged at the same rate that applies to similar goods sold in the UK and applies to commercial goods over ?18 in value, and on gifts that are over ?40 in value. The value of the goods for import VAT is based on the:
        • basic value of goods, plus
        • postage, packing and insurance, plus
        • any import (Customs or Excise) duties charged

        Customs duty - Customs duty becomes payable if the goods are over ?135 in value but is waived if the amount calculated is less than ?9. Customs duty is usually charged as a percentage of the value of the goods.
        The amount of customs duty charged will depend on the type of goods imported and their value stated on the customs declaration CN22/CN23 (converted using the rates of exchange for the month of importation as shown on our website).
        The percentage varies depending on the type of goods and their country of origin. Duty is charged on the price paid for the goods including any local sales taxes plus postage, packing and insurance costs. However, the cost of postage is excluded from the calculation for customs duty on gifts except where the sender has used the Express Mail Service (EMS) as opposed to a standard mail service.
        Where the value of gifts is below ?630 per consignment a flat rate of duty of 2.5 per cent will be applied, but only if it is to your advantage.
        Excise duty - this is charged on alcohol and tobacco products and is additional to customs duty. The excise duty on alcohol products such as wines and spirits depends on the alcohol content and volume. In the case of wine and cider whether they are sparkling or still. Duty on cigarettes is based on a percentage of the recommended retail selling price plus a flat rate amount per 1,000 cigarettes. On other tobacco products, for example, cigars or hand rolling tobacco, excise duty is charged at a flat rate per kilogram.


        • #19
          The average robusto weighs in at 12g
          A box of 25 robustos comes to: 300g

          Excise Duty on Cigars: ?173.13 per kilogram;

          You would pay excise duty of ?51.94

          Your box of robustos are Partagas D4 which cost $157.36 or ?104.98

          They then charge Customs Duty on the ?104.98, which is a variable rate you can find from the Customs Tariff (though you have to pay to have access to the Tariff) I'm taking this to be about 2.5%:

          "Where the value of gifts is below ?290 per consignment, a flat rate of duty of 2.5 per cent will be applied - but only if it is to your advantage. With effect from 1 December 2008, customs duty will not be applied on goods with a value less than ?105."

          Being below ?105 there would be no customs duty on this box of D4s

          So! You would be paying 17.5% VAT on ?156.92... = ?184.38
          plus ?8 post office handling fee

          Grand total = ?192.38
          Overall you payed ?87.40 to customs.

          Does that sound about rightfrom people's experience?


          • #20
            Lovely - From previous imports and information I've gained to be as I'd expect unfortunately, all in all.... 83% tax

            You need to make yourself some friends in the exporting country!

            How does the process of calculating this before hand work? I seem to get a random bunch of couriers when importing once the item hits the UK, parcel force are particularly unkind with their "handling / clearance fee's" If parcel force pickup your item and you get that nice letter to say fee's are due to be paid before you can get the item, and you've already pre paid... Are you given some form of unique number you can quote to the courier so they can say ah yes, righto, we'll get it moving along?


            • #21
              I recently received a 25 box of HdM Epi 2's from abroad for roughly ?90 with contents and value correctly marked on the box. I can't remember the cost breakdown but I know the total bill for customs and admin etc. was ?65.

              As for prepaying the customs charge to avoid having them seized, as far as I'm aware, as long as the package you receive is correctly labelled there is no reason for it to be seized and the appropriate agencies can just apply the relevant charges. If the customs declaration on a package misrepresents its contents in any way then that is grounds for a seizure.

              Good luck with the forms though...I'm watching with interest


              • #22
                that sounds right mate,

                cigars can only be seized and destroyed if the customs slip on them doesnt declare them as cigars or if there is no slip on them.

                nowhere have I seen the option for the sender to calculate taxes... or for the duty to be prepaid. i dont think the option is there. It just means take extra caution making sure the customs office see the NET weight of the tobacco only, and not charge an excess in excise duty!


                • #23
                  It would be helpful if Habanos SA actually printed the net weight on themselves.


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by daverave999 View Post
                    It would be helpful if Habanos SA actually printed the net weight on themselves.
                    Hand made item Dave. Weight would vary by a few grams from box to box of the same brand same cigar.
                    If you want to, you can.
                    And, if you can, you must!


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by tippexx View Post
                      Hand made item Dave. Weight would vary by a few grams from box to box of the same brand same cigar.
                      I thought part of the quality control of cigars were that that a bunch of 25 cigars or whatever had to weigh the same (within a few grams or whatever) as the next 25 of the same cigars?

                      I saw a video with something about this, will find it and post it.


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by tippexx View Post
                        Hand made item Dave. Weight would vary by a few grams from box to box of the same brand same cigar.
                        Yet they all cost the same price from the tobacconists here!

                        Anyone in the trade know how it works? Is there a list of agreed average weights that is used to calculate duty in the UK?

                        [EDIT] If so, do HMRC work from this list? If not, why not? Would be quicker and easier than manually weighing them I suspect.


                        • #27

                          About 7:40 in, he mentions that 50 of the same cigars have to weigh a certain amount for reasons of quality control.


                          • #28

                            Customs form was filled out,

                            500g of tobacco weighed... so excise should have been about ?86.

                            Got my notice to pay through today:

                            Excise Duty: ?73.14
                            V.A.T: ?18.72
                            Parcelforce clearance fee: ?13.50

                            Total: ?105.36

                            For 25 109 size cigars that isn't too bad I thought. Don't know how they came to ?73 on excise... but im not complaining

                            One annoyance is the ?13.50 handling fee... when nowhere on HMRC does it give this figure.
                            They just seem to charge what they want. Worked ok in this case, but for anyone else doing the same... check that the weight of the cigars is correct and that the excise duty is reflective of this

                            BIG thanks to mercer cigars of merida for helping me get this box through legitimately and safely! I fully recommend mercer cigars. Fantastic service and communications


                            • #29
                              Cool, glad it all worked out.

                              I hate Parcelforce, I import fairly often, it really irks me when I need to pay the ?13.50 clearance fee on ?4 duty. They seem to have a really tidy contract in which they pick up what feels like 90% of items coming in, plus it tends to add at least another 2 days onto your package arriving. Once upon a time I'd often have a knock at the door with someone who would take the cash for the duty owed, with no extra trimmings.

                              Although, how you're pleased with paying ?105 ontop I'll never understand! That'd leave an unpleasant sting for me.


                              • #30
                                Re: How to declare and prepay excise duty on cigars ordered from abroad

                                Beats a letter saying up yours they've been destroyed

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