Buying from Japan - charges

Simple query I suppose, if I order the item below am I right assuming I’ll get hit by 20% VAT and duty on top of that, so this would cost me in the region of £900, and potentially a long wait on shipping…

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Plus a clearance handling fee.

If you ask the seller nicely he may declare a much lower value on the shipping invoice.


20% VAT on top of the item cost + postage

Around £860 inclusive

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Errrrr. Taipei is in Taiwan.


And if there are any issues the insurance value will be the value on the shipping invoice

Yes but I doubt the shipping quoted will include full insurance anyway, just the basic £50 or whatever.

Duty ought to be ~4% provided it gets classified as an audio amplifier. Make sure the seller puts that on the paperwork.

I imported some Vida phono stages and HMRC wrongly assumed they were video electronics which carried a higher duty, 10 or 12% iirc. Took some persuading to get it changed to 4%

I bought one and escaped the VAT as I recall. I think the seller described the package as ‘junk parts’ or similar.

The phono itself is extraordinary in terms of sound quality so long as you fiddle with the load and gain settings to get the best match - might not be best at the settings indicated so some trial and error can pay dividends.

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The Japanese would never mark the value down or gloss over the category of the goods. Mr VALAB may well do as he doesn’t have a rod stuck up his arse. Having ordered from him in the past communication was tricky, I assume his English is not great.

Must admit, taking into account the added costs my attention is being swayed by other S/H stages around the 1k mark, that might be easier to get hold of.

By the time you’ve paid currency-conversion costs, shipping, VAT, duty and handling fees, the additional costs are usually closer to 35% IME - I always factor that in to expectations: if it’s less, that’s a bonus.

The Chinese will sometimes be willing to misdescribe goods provided you’re happy to risk fraud charges, while Japan and the US are pedantically honest, all IME. It’s potluck - some stuff gets through untouched by C&R, though I’ve not personally had that happen in years.

PS: whatever theoretical currency conversion values are, you will get a slightly less favourable one in reality.

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Or wait for a S/H one if you can be patient - the Valab is well worth it.

Just wait for Brexit to kick in properly and customs will be totally overwhelmed, they’ll let personal stuff straight through!


All that extra VAT income for unfair-taxation-addicted British governments? Not a chance! I suspect it’ll be quite the opposite - everything will get customs charges slapped on it.

note to self - read listings properly to avoid Trump like assumptions.

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Also check if this is a 220V unit or a 230/240V one.