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  5. United Kingdom — Import and Landed Cost Reference
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Global Trade Compliance & Regulatory
  4. United Kingdom — Import and Landed Cost Reference

United Kingdom — Import and Landed Cost Reference


De Minimis Thresholds, Tax Rates, Customs Valuation Methods & Calculation, Customs & Carrier Surcharges, Admissibility, and Prohibited Restricted Commodities.

Please note that import tax rates, de minimis thresholds, admissibility requirements, customs valuation  methods, prohibited & restricted commodity regulations, customs, and carrier surcharges are dynamic and may change without advance notice. Current regulations and rates for each topic must be queried and confirmed prior to shipment using the indicated official sources.

FlavorCloud recommends that our merchants use these tools as a reference and then verify at the national/provincial level and/or with your commodity- and country-specific expert before shipping.



Duty: £135 (GBP§) FOB†
Tax (VAT): £0 FOB
Caution: Commodities subject to excise duty/tax are generally not eligible for de minimis treatment. You must pay duties and taxes on some goods subject to excise tax/duty (like tobacco, tobacco products, or alcoholic beverages) regardless of their value.

Certain gifts under £39 FOB are eligible for VAT-free treatment but must meet specific conditions. See Gift notes below.

Standard Rate: 20%
All imports are subject to 20% VAT unless eligible for a Reduced or Zero Rate.Reduced Rate: 5%
Certain health products, childcare products, and foodstuffs may be eligible for the 5% Reduced VAT Rate.Zero Rate: 0%
Protective equipment, antiques, medical products, feminine hygiene products, education, welfare products, and publication
See Tax (VAT) Notes below 

Import VAT is calculated CIF √ + Duty Amount x VAT rate

† FOB — “Free on Board” – Incoterm and basis method for Customs Valuation 
§ GBP — Great Britain Pound Sterling
CIF – “Cost of Goods + Insurance + Freight” – Incoterm and basis method for Customs Valuation




Tax Deferment
5% x total landed cost
Tax Disbursement
5% x Tax amount
Landed Cost Advance Payment
5% x total landed cost
Customs Inspection (Physical)
$25 per shipmentImport Paperwork
$25 per packet or $1 for soft copyClearance Data Modification
$61 per shipment

Formal Clearance
$17 per shipment

Multiline Entry
$5.00 per line after 5 lines

OGA Border Controls
Charges vary depending on government requirementsSingle Clearance
$35 per shipmentPrior Notice
$10 per shipment

Preferential Origin
$10 per shipment

***Customs and Carrier Surcharges are carrier, destination, and time specific. Items in orange apply to all consignments, and other items applied ad hoc, if applicable. Surcharges are dynamic and subject to frequent change by carriers without prior notice.




Fuel Surcharge (Express Only)
Dynamic variable calculated as % of transport charges AND any additional surcharges noted below.
  • Saturday Delivery
  • Saturday Pickup
  • Elevated Risk
  • Declared Value/Insurance
  • Emergency Situation/COVID
  • Remote Area Delivery
  • Remote Area Pickup
  • Dedicated Pickup
  • Dedicated Delivery
  • Residential Address
  • Overweight Piece
  • Oversize Piece
  • Non-Stackable Pallet
  • Residential Delivery
Peak Season Surcharge
Generally assessed at $0.75-$1.50/pound for UPS and $1.50 to $350 per package for FedEx. Exact rates only available upon shipment.Dangerous Goods
Fully Regulated
per IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations= $130/shipmentConsumer Goods
(perfumes, aftershaves, aerosols, nail varnish and prescription medicines) covered by IATA ID8000 for B2C shipments appropriately packed for retail sale= $23/shipment

***Customs and Carrier Surcharges are carrier, destination, and time specific. Items in orange apply to all consignments, and other items applied ad hoc, if applicable. Surcharges are dynamic and subject to frequent change by carriers without prior notice.

United Kingdom Notes

Import Duty/Tax De Minimis

In the United Kingdom, His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) has set separate duty and tax (VAT) de minimis threshold for imports: £135 for duty and £0 for VAT. These thresholds are FOB (see FOB note below), meaning that it only includes the customs value of your goods, and excludes any shipping charges. The customs value is generally the sales price- the actual price paid by the buyer, or would otherwise normally be paid, to import the goods. Please see FlavorCloud’s Guide to Declared Value & Customs Valuation for further education on customs valuation.

As of January 1, 2021, all imports, regardless of value, are subject to import VAT. There is an exception for gifts, but this does not apply to shipments sent via FlavorCloud (see Gifts notes below).

  • If the value of the goods on your shipment to the UK is under £135 (and is not ineligible due to excise tax/duty), there is no import duty payable at the time of import.
  • If the value of the goods on your shipment to the UK is over, import duty is applied at the commodity-specific rate and is payable at the time of import. You can check duty rates for your commodities using the UK Integrated Online Tariff tool.
  • Import VAT is applied at the commodity-specific rate to all imports and is payable at the time of import.

FOB Customs Valuation Calculation Method Note

Unlike CIF, the customs valuation process does not include freight or insurance costs in transporting goods from the place of export to the destination when calculating customs value. However, any inland freight or insurance costs incurred by the purchaser/importer before the goods leave the place of export must be included in the customs value.



HMRC has published the following specific thresholds that need to be met for your shipment to qualify as a gift:

  • “described as gifts on the customs declaration
  • for a birthday, anniversary, or other occasions
  • bought and sent between individuals (not companies)
  • intended for personal use.”

The £39 FOB limit only applies to gifts intended for personal use, bought, and sent between individuals, for a specific occasion. Even though the buyer may be a private individual, shipments through FlavorCloud include a business venture/company selling the goods and therefore do not meet the criteria HMRC established. As the established criteria are not met, shipments through FlavorCloud do not qualify for the benefit of a £39 limit for gifts

Excise Duty/Tax and De Minimis

Commodities subject to excise duty and/or excise tax do not qualify for de minimis duty-/tax- free importation, regardless of their value. Please review the Excise Duty and Excise Tax section below.

United Kingdom Customs Valuation Methods

General United Kingdom Customs Valuation

Import Duty and Import VAT are calculated CIF in the UK (See CIF note below)


CIF x Duty Rate (See CIF note below)

Tax (VAT)

CIF + Duty Amount x Tax Rate (See CIF note below)

CIF Customs Valuation Calculation Method Note

CIF = Cost of Goods + Insurance + Freight
+ Cost of Goods is the Transaction Value [actual price paid or otherwise would be payable by the buyer to the seller for the goods]
+ Insurance costs
+ Shipping charges

  • Example: goods are being sold to the importer at $200 + $5 being paid for insurance + $20 for shipping by the buyer, then CIF value is $225 (converted to local currency by Customs).
    • If the duty rate is 10%, then the duty amount for this import would be $22.50
    • If tax rate is 25%, then tax amount would be $61.88 [CIF + Duty = $247.50 x 25% tax]

Import Tax (VAT)

Overview of the different import VAT rates in the UK: Standard Rate (20%), Reduced Rate (5%), and Zero Rate (0%)

Overview of VAT rates by product category, VAT conditions, and HMRC VAT notices

Import Tax (VAT) Exemptions

Examples are provided as a reference only. Please refer to the relevant legislation for full description and stipulations to determine if your products qualify for VAT exemptions: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-of-vat-on-different-goods-and-services.

Excise Duty

Excise Duty is a supplementary tariff applied to specific products in addition to any duty and tax already applied to the import.

In the UK, excise duty generally is imposed upon tobacco and products. Please consult current regulations to confirm if your goods are subject to excise duty prior to shipping.


Customs and Carrier Surcharges

***Customs and Carrier Surcharges are carrier, destination, and time specific. Items in orange apply to all consignments, and other items applied ad hoc, if applicable. Surcharges are dynamic and subject to frequent change by carriers without prior notice.

Admissibility (Prohibited and Restricted Goods) Background

Many products are subject to specific import requirements such as import licenses, permits, certifications, inspections, product/business, and other labeling requirements. These requirements are generally referred to as admissibility or OGA/OGD/PGA requirements (“Other Governmental Agency” / (“Other Governmental Departments” / “Partner Governmental Agency”). In the United Kingdom, these are referred to as Prohibited and Restricted Goods and are administered by several federal agencies. While some Prohibited Goods may be imported after specific conditions and/or requirements are met (import licenses/permits, testing, etc.), other goods may not be imported under any circumstances.

These admissibility requirements are subject to frequent change without advance notice and are entirely dependent on the commodity (HTS code), country of origin, country of import, and time of import. It is advised to regularly verify and validate admissibility requirements to ensure there are no import delays and to ensure the proper administrative steps are adhered to prior to shipment. Certain products are prohibited from being imported unless the relevant requirements/obligations are met. Significant fines, fees, delays, and storage charges can be assessed when these regulations are not followed. FlavorCloud always recommends that our merchants verify import requirements at the national and local levels and/or with your commodity- and country-specific expert before shipping.

Admissibility (Prohibited and Restricted Goods) Resources

Certain commodities are prohibited or restricted depending on the country of import, country of origin, and the specific point at which the goods will be imported into the UK. Import requirements for your products can be assessed in the UK by consulting HMRC’s UK Trade Tariff: import prohibitions and restrictions. This repository offers interactive query functionality to search for impacted commodities by category, description, key words, as well as a list of items to check for potential import requirements.

An indication of impacted commodities is shown below. A current overview, along with direct links to the government department/agency responsible for ensuring that prohibited and controlled goods are not illegally imported into the UK, is available using this official resource:


Labelling, Marking, and Marketing Requirements

In addition to prohibited and restricted commodities, certain products- usually food products and manufactured goods- imported into the UK are subject to labeling, marking, and marketing requirements. Please consult the following resource to confirm if your products are subject to UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) requirements:

Product Safety Requirements



Comprehensive guide and resource repository for importing cosmetics into the UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-cosmetic-products-available-to-consumers-in-great-britain


Supplements (Dietary, Health, Medical, etc.) and Food Products

Import classification of vitamins, supplements, and herbal medicines

Food Supplement Use and Labelling

UK Food Standards Agency  – Importing food supplements and health foods guidance on labeling, contaminants, cautions, and other resources

Guidance and requirements on high-risk food and restricted foodstuffs:

Food Products and Beverages
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-live-animals-or-animal-products-from-non-eu-countries (from outside EU)
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-or-move-food-and-drink-from-the-eu-and-northern-ireland-to-great-britain (from EU)

Medical Devices


Conservation Controls and Endangered Species
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (‘CITES”)

These Prohibited and Restricted Goods Resources are published nationally, are non-exhaustive, and subject to a detailed legal notice. FlavorCloud always recommends our merchants use these tools as a reference and then verify at the national/local level and/or with your commodity- and country-specific expert prior to shipping.

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