Information for businesses selling in the UK
As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, on 1 January 2021, the collection of duties and taxes for the import of commercial goods into the UK will change. All sellers, including online retailers, sellers on marketplaces and international businesses selling directly to UK consumers by phone or mail order, are likely to be impacted by this change.
From 1 January 2021, the collection of duties and taxes for the import of commercial goods into the UK will change with immediate effect. The value-added tax (VAT) applicable to commercial items valued at £15 - £135 entering the UK will now be expanded to £0 - £135 (inclusive), meaning the £15 lower limit is abolished. The VAT on these items will also now have to be pre-paid.
To pre-pay VAT and avoid additional costs, from January 2021 sellers will need to ensure they have:
- a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number before shipping their goods
- the HS Tariff Code required to make a customs declaration and calculate duties on an import
- the customs value of goods - needed to make a customs declaration and calculate duties on import.
Please note there is no change to the current process for commercial goods >£135 and VAT or duty applicable to these items will continue to be charged to the recipient.
For businesses operating through an online marketplace or selling platform, the marketplace will need to register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and collect and remit the relevant taxes directly on your behalf. There may be other requirements which apply to you as a seller, so we recommend you consider the impacts and obtain specific professional advice based on your business needs.
If you don’t operate through an online marketplace, we recommend you prepare for the application of the VAT scheme to your business by considering the changes and, where appropriate, applying for an EORI number in advance. It can take up to a week to get one, so register early.
Australia Post offers a complimentary service that can help your business classify your goods and calculate the applicable duties and taxes. This feature is currently available via a direct API integration to your business or as a shopping cart plugin and will be available in our Parcel Send lodgement system from February 2021.
Please note for commercial goods valued greater than £135, VAT and duties apply, and the taxes can be charged at the UK border (no change to current process). For more information, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or visit the websites in the "More information" section below for more information on how these changes may affect your business.1
The United Kingdom admits private gifts intended for the personal or family use of the addressee free of duty and VAT up to a value of £39 provided the following limits are not exceeded:
- Spirits - 1 litre, plus Wine - 2 litres
- Tobacco products 50 cigarettes or 25 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50 grams of tobacco
The following items are prohibited from importation, meaning they won't be allowed to enter the destination country, territory or region.
To check which items are considered dangerous and prohibited for sending from Australia, download our dangerous goods guide (1.2MB).
- Alcoholic beverages and liquids containing more than 24% Alcohol by volume
- Ashes (Human Remains)
- Clinical and medical waste
- Controlled drugs and narcotics
- Corrosive substances
- Counterfeit currency, bank notes and postage stamps
- Dry ice
- Environmental waste
- Electronic items containing any batteries exceeding 100Wh
- Flammable liquids
- Flammable solids
- Frozen water
- Goods made in foreign prisons
- Human and animal remains
- Infectious substances UN2814 or UN2900
- Lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas
- Living creatures, animals and reptiles
- Lottery tickets
- Magnetised material
- Obscene publications and pornography
- Oxidising materials and organic peroxides
- Poisonous, toxic liquids, solids or gases
- Radioactive materials
- Solvent-based paints, wood varnishes and enamels
- Tickets and related advertisements for illegal lotteries
- Waste, dirt, filth or refuse
- Weapons, including any bladed or sharply pointed items, for example knives or axes
Transporting food of any kind is prohibited under International Courier.
All types of batteries and devices containing them are prohibited from being sent via International Courier services.
Please refer to the following websites for further information:
If an item is subject to import restrictions, it means that provisions must be met before it will be released from customs in the destination country, territory or region.
We recommend you confirm import restrictions with local authorities before posting:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Animals and animal products
- Pharmaceutical products
- Plants and plant products
- Radio transmitters
- Tobacco and tobacco products
The United Kingdom admits articles up to £15 value, except alcohol and tobacco products, free of duty and taxes.
Please note the following restrictions for International Standard articles being carried by the EMS network:
- Biological substances
- Human ashes
- Human remains
- Precious metals
- Precious stones
- Watches (only if over $150.00)
Okay to send? Send responsibly.
As the sender, it's your responsibility to make sure your items don't break any laws or rules – both within Australia and in the destination country.
Restrictions and conditions can change at short notice so the information on this page should be used as a guide only. For the latest information, you should check the UPU prohibitions & restrictions (PDF 3.2MB) or contact the destination country's customs, postal trade or government authority.
It's also your responsibility to check if the destination country imposes any duties, taxes, brokerage fees or any other fees on the item you're sending. If you're unsure, please contact the consulate office of the destination country.
In addition to our customs forms, authorities in the destination country, territory or region require further documentation for some items.
Articles exceeding £2,000 in value require an invoice.
UK Postal authorities advise that for best delivery results packets and parcels being sent to a PO box address should also include a street address.
If a PO box is the only address known, then a (recipient) contact telephone number should be given to assist delivery.
While spacing on the packet or parcel might be questioned with having to provide extra information, there should be room at least to include a telephone number.
Use of a PO box address (only) may delay delivery because of the need to ascertain delivery details.
Delivery locations & exclusions
Before sending to this destination, it’s worth noting a few more details about our international delivery services.
Delivery locations & exclusions data (Personal)
- International Express and International Standard
Parcels will not be delivered to a Post Office Box (PO Box), but will be delivered to Post Restante addresses.
Sending to Jersey or Guernsey? Simply just use United Kingdom as the destination country and the postcode (beginning with JE for Jersey and GY for Guernsey) will assist Royal Mail in assuring it reaches the final destination.
- International Courier
Check our International Courier page to find a participating Post Office.
Shipments must be lodged at the counter by the participating Post Office cut-off time, which may vary by outlet. International parcels are charged according to actual weight. The maximum weight you can send is 20kg and the maximum girth is 140cm.
International Courier Declaration and DHL Airway Bill forms, available at participating retail centres, need to be filled out by hand and attached to the shipment (instructions available in-store). For Customs declarations, articles may not be declared as containing "Personal effects".
International Courier does not deliver to a Post Office Box or Poste Restante.
Metropolitan delivery to (valid postcodes in brackets):
- London (E1 to E98, EC1 to EC4, N1 to N22, NW1 to NW11, SE1 to SE27, SW1 to SW9, W1A to W14, WC1A to WC2R)
- Birmingham (B1 to B98)
- Leeds (LS1 to LS98)
- Sheffield (S1 to S98)
- Bradford (BD1 to BD99)
- Glasgow (G1 to G79)
Note: guarantee of delivery in 2 business days does not apply to G63.
- Edinburgh (EH1 to EH17)
- Liverpool (L1 to L75)
- Manchester (M1 to M99)
- Bristol (BS1 to BS99)
For more information from the overseas carrier, check the Royal Mail website.
Jersey GST for overseas retailers
Retailers trading outside of Jersey who sell goods to consumers in Jersey for a total value exceeding £300,000 per annum will have to register and account for Jersey GST on all these sales.
If GST is not accounted for at the point of sale, all unaccompanied imported goods into Jersey by private individuals from 1 July 2023 will be subject to GST where the value of the imported goods exceeds £60.
It is recommended that GST registration numbers are displayed on both commercial invoices and the item label or package itself.
Delivery to a neighbour
Royal Mail states they can deliver items to the addressee's nominated neighbour if the addressee has opted in to this service and is unavailable to receive the article. In order to opt in to this service, the addressee will need to apply through Royal Mail.
Read more about the delivery to neighbour service.