Souvenirs posted to self - got taxed and parcel damaged

I am a British student studying Middle Eastern languages in Israel.
Because the items are fairly large and won't fit into my suitcase, I posted off about GBP100 worth of souvenirs I bought while travelling around the country to a friend in the UK who agreed to keep it for me for safekeeping.
From: Me, address To: Me, c/o Friend, his address
I declared the value correctly and on the customs declaration IIRC I listed them as "Souvenirs (mugs, T-shirts, etc.)"
My friend told me that the parcel had a label saying that it was damaged, and I got a text message on my phone saying that a tax has been applied by the UK side. My friend has already collected the parcel and paid the tax.
As I see it there are two issues here: Parcel damage. - Should I immediately claim for the full declared value of the items (GBP100) while in Israel? I do not know what items are missing or damaged. - Is the claim for damages done vs. Royal Mail or Israel Post? I sent the parcel by EMS.
Tax - I presume the tax was applied by the UK side as the Israel side would have taxed me at the post office if a tax applied. - Are personal items of value less than GBP100 taxable? - If it is not taxable, how do I reclaim the tax?
Thanks for any advice.
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Your claim is against the carrier you used, although, unless you took out insurance to the full value of the goods, the amount you can claim is probably quite limited. In any case, your claim should not exceed your losses, so you need to find out what is missing or damaged.
You will be liable to pay VAT on any item imported from a non-EU country, unless you bring it in yourself as part of your personal allowance.
For that value of goods, there ought not to be any Customs duty. However, unless you paid for the goods to be delivered cleared though Customs, you may be charged in the UK for Customs clearance.
Colin Bignell
Reply to
Alright so if I understand you correctly: 1) I have to personally bring the items with me in the flight back to qualify it being part of my personal allowance 2) I could reclaim Israeli VAT on souvenirs bought in Israel and taken out of the country, but I will have to pay UK VAT if it is not personally brought with me
For future reference: 1) Is it wiser to post my old personal items (e.g. T-shirts, fleeces) back to the UK and declare their value to be their current second hand/ used value 2) Carry my souvenirs in my suitcase, or use them (in the case of T- shirts) so they don't count as new anymore
Is it illegal to declare the value of the items to be £1 as long as we are prepared to accept no compensation for their loss?
I will only know what is missing or damaged in a few months time when the semester finishes and I return home to the UK. Is there a time limit for lost/damaged post claims with Royal Mail? When I posted off the items I specifically remember asking the clerk what the insurable value was for EMS post, she said NIS500 which was about the value of the goods (GBP100).
Is there a lower limit on VAT reclaims at the airport? I remember when touring SE Asia after my UG degree an airport there (can't remember if it was Oz or Singapore) said there was a lower limit for VAT reclaims.
Must I have the receipt AND the items at the airport to reclaim VAT?
I'm a bit annoyed because I have paid VAT on the items twice (Israel and UK side), and I posted off the receipts with the items because I thought it might be security checked and seeing legitimate receipts there would make it easier.
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Dunno - did you pay for transit damage insurance, if so claim off whom you paid.
Yes. VAT of 20 and possibly (but unlikely unless high tech goods) duty. There may be various handling and collection charges.
The duty free limit for goods you bring with you is quite high (hundreds) whereas for goods by post from outside the EU it is only about 30.
As elsewhere post back items you are re-importing. After 18 months working in Europe I posted back all my manuals and books (three or four consignments of 5kg each). Not only are these VAT and duty free in the UK if purchased abroad, but they qualified for the [much lower] printed paper rate and even if very roughly handled are unlikely to suffer much damage.
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R. Mark Clayton
That is correct. It is a concession for travellers, although I suspect it is mainly about the cost of collecting duty from travellers compared to the likely income from doing so.
I have no idea how Israel deals with whatever taxes they apply to purchases. You will, however, be liable to pay UK VAT on goods bought outside the EU and imported into the UK.
The declared value should always be the actual value, which may well be lower for second hand goods.
Being used does not affect the liability to pay VAT, although it may affect the value it is calculated from.
I suggest you read through the HMRC guidance on travel and, in particular, on bringing goods in from abroad. It will tell you a lot more than I can:
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Compensation and liability for VAT are two entirely different matters. If it is true, you can put no commercial value on a Customs declaration, although HMRC may choose to check on that and make their own decision as to whether it is true.
You claim will be against EMS, as they are the carrier you contracted with to make the delivery. I expect they will have a time limit on claims, so it would be a good idea to go there now and ask them about how you go about making a claim. They may be willing to accept you lodging a claim to start the process, with the value to be advised later.
These are all matters that are local to Israel, so you should enquire there.
Colin Bignell
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And certainly lower for damaged goods!!!
And damaged goods should attract less VAT than pristine.... indeed, if the value of the goods is now zero, then (zero+20%) also equals zero,,,,,
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We don't actually know whether any of the goods were damaged, only that the parcel was. I have had a package delivered that had had a fork truck fork driven through from one side to the other, without touching any of the goods inside. We also don't know where on the journey the damage occurred, whether it was before or after the goods were cleared by Customs.
Colin Bignell
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