VAT and import duty - books

I’ve tried and tried to research this online but all I keep getting are conflicting answers or so complicated that I’m losing the will to live.

I may be looking to buy some books from Spain and I need to know a couple of things.

  • Are books still zero VAT rated, including if you are importing them?
  • anybody know what the import duty is for books?

These are non-fiction, hard backed books.

I thought VAT applied to everything but duty is dependant on the type of goods.

VAT can apply but be zero rated.

Duty IS dependent on the type of goods. I’m asking if anybody knows what this is - for books.

Pitney Bowes used to have an online calculator for Duty & VAT where you entered the type of goods and it showed you the rate.

found it


The results of that says no duty but 20% VAT

The .gov website says books are zero rated.

I still haz the confuse

:rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl:


As long as it is a book with text. 0.0% vat and no duty. Has to be clearly labelled as a book though. I think the only exempt pure picture books are children’s books.

For importing too?

FYI this may seem pretty insignificant in monetary terms, but it really isn’t. The books are the thick end of £2k

You could buy a nice mains cable for that!


think you may have to get ready to pay 20% VAT on anything coming from the EU now, regardless of what it is.

Yeah that is for imports. There are some bizarre exemptions though. What the pages are made of, what the binding is made of.
Maybe a call to custom and excise would be wise.

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And then claim it back but how the hell you do that I have no idea

Good advice. I’ll try that tomorrow.

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And be in a queue until Thursday!

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I’m used to it.

I had the need to phone my bank five times in the last week. Total waiting time was close to 4 hours.

I just pop to my local bank rather than call them, but I guess that would take you even longer than four hours!

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I’m looking at importing a standing desk from the States. I’ve put in “office furniture” and “furniture”, both come up as 0% duty. Is that legit do you think?

according to the govt yes

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There’s still VAT, obviously. But lots of things are 0% duty