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Dropshipping/Importing to the UK with an Overseas Supplier?

Here are the steps for managing the import process if those goods come from outside the UK.:


  • Determine whether or not you will need a special license or permit to import your goods; obtain any licenses or other permissions. Most people will not need an import licence but it must be checked. Saying you didn’t know carries strong penalties.


  • Determine how your goods will be classified. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom (The Tariff) sets out the Commodity Codes (CC) that you need. Just want a CC code check with Tariff & VAT? Click Here

  • Calculate the Tariff (Customs Duty). These general figures are used when tariffs are charged to countries that do not have a preferred trading status with the UK or to nations that may be awarded partial relief from paying duty.

  • Raw materials - most are free of duty but some are taxed up to a 4.5% of the material's value. Some metals are assessed at a higher rate.


  • Semi-finished articles - rates range from 2% to 14% of the value.


  • Finished items - rates are calculated from 3% to 20% of the import's value.


  • Agricultural products - these vary significantly and are difficult to summarise.


  • Check the preferred country trading agreements to look for a supplier in a country that provides the lowest importation costs at the best balance of product quality and cost. The UK's trading policies give you a number of opportunities to lower or avoid duty; get familiar with the possibilities


  • Register for VAT if required or helpful


  • Inform your supplier of product classification


  • Assure that supplier specifies value of goods on packaging (Excluding freight charges)


  • On arrival in the UK, customs will check the value of the order + product classification, to which they will add duty based on product classification, and on new total they will add VAT


  • Customs & Excise sends a letter informing you of duties + VAT to be paid.


  • Send your payment to HMRC before your goods are released


  • Collect your goods from customs or arrange for a courier to collect them for you


  • If Registered for VAT - When reselling the goods, charge VAT on top of your net price (Output VAT), and then calculate the difference between the input VAT and the output VAT for your VAT return to HMRC.

  • If Registered for VAT - Report to HMRC quarterly and make balancing payments (VAT return)


You may also be interested in registering to join our Dropshipper Network for Free so you can receive details of great dropshipping products which are all supplier verified with duty & VAT calculated.


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