The 4 biggest mistakes Australians make when sending gifts to the UK and how to avoid them!
However we understand that sometimes you want to do it yourself.
So this blog gives advice on how to avoid hidden postage costs, customs, tax and duties; and most effectively get a beautiful Australian made gift to your loved ones, host family, or colleagues in the UK that they will love.
1. The weight of your care package – what you didn’t know
Firstly, select a gift that is light and small! This is because, for most international carriers, cost of postage is calculated based on the dimensional weight (also called volumetric or cubic weight), or the actual weight – whatever is heavier.
I.e. whatever is going to cost you the most!
Each freight carrier has a different calculator for dimensional weight that is a multiplier depending on the width / length / height of the package.
Here are some links to calculate dimensional weight:
2. Packaging – think before you buy!
Secondly, you want to consider what you are going to put in your gift to get it posted BEFORE you buy it.
If you haven’t thought about it but go to your local Australia Post shop, you might find your gift doesn’t quite fit in their standard Box 2 (31 x 22.5 x 10.2cm) but will have too much room in their standard Box 3 (40 x 20 x 18cm).
Not only will this impact the weight and cost of sending your gift, but you’ll also need to buy some bubble wrap or similar cushioning so your gift arrives without damage to its final destination.
See here for options to buy shred and other fillers.
3. What to send – make sure the receiver doesn’t pay UK taxes & duties on your Australian gift
Thirdly, consider what you are sending as this impacts the feasibility of getting through customs without incurring taxes and duties.
To avoid paying taxes and duties…
- Make sure your parcel is marked as ‘gift’ and clearly details what is included in the package on the outside of the parcel
- Ensure the value of your gift is less than the equivalent GBP 36 and this value is also clearly shown in your own currency (approx AUD $57 – $77 depending on the exchange rate)
- Do not include alcohol or tobacco
If you don’t follow these 3 golden rules, if your gift has been sent by courier, the UK charges the receiver duties and taxes 100% of the time; or 5-8% of the time for sending with Australia Post.
Yes, even though it is a gift!!! If the receiver refuses to pay these, your gift will be returned back to you.
Here at I Still Call Australia Home® we cover all these taxes and duties as part of our freight cost, so you never have to worry about this embarrassing situation.
3.1 What are the taxes and duties?
There are 3 types of taxes in the UK for Australian gifts sent to the UK –
- (i) VAT – “Value Added Tax” – this is our equivalent of GST and is charged depending on the type of product in your gift. The standard VAT rate is 20% and is charged on gifts sent from Australia with a total value over GBP 36 , where the total value includes:
- the price paid for the goods
- postage, packaging and insurance
- any duty you owe
- (ii) Customs duty – this is waived for items less than GBP135 in value
- (iii) Excise duty – this is a charge levied when sending alcohol – regardless if it is a gift or not
3.2 Prohibited Items
In addition to the above rules – do not send the following items under any circumstances:
Animals and animal products; Pharmaceutical products; Plants and plant products; Radio transmitters; Sealskins; Tobacco and tobacco products; Vegetables; Weapons.
3.3 How do I avoid the receiver paying taxes and duties on my Australian gift to the UK?
As stated above, there are 3 golden rules if you wan to make sure you avoid taxes and duties:
- Make sure your parcel is marked as ‘gift’ and clearly shows what is included in the package
- Ensure the value of your gift is less than the equivalent GBP 36 (AUD $57 – $77 depending on exchange rate)
- Do not include alcohol or tobacco
- OR buy off a company like I Still Call Australia Home®
4. BUYING AUSTRALIAN MADE
Finally, people in the UK like Australia.
It’s a little disappointing to receive a beautiful parcel from overseas only to find the gift isn’t Australian made.
To be sure, look for the certified Australian made logo.
The logo either says
- ‘Proud Retail Supporter’ – companies like I Still Call Australia Home use this as it shows they actively try to buy Australian made product.
- ‘Product of Australia’ – this means the product is 100% made in Australia
- ‘Made in Australia’ – this means the majority of the product is made in Australia
So in summary:-
- 1. Pick something light AND small
- 2. Think about your packaging before you buy your gift and make sure you have the right ‘fit’ packaging
- 3. If you don’t want your receiver to pay duties and taxes, ensure your gift’s value is under GBP 36 and doesn’t contain prohibited items or alcohol. Make sure you clearly mark this on your customs declaration form
- 4. Look for the Australian made logo
If this is all too hard (and it is time consuming!) select a site who specialise in sending Australian made gifts to the UK. For one price they’ll cover all freight, duties and taxes; and send a beautiful Australian gift to the UK with a personalised card on your behalf.
And as an added bonus, your gift will be tracked door-to-door and they’ll let you know when it’s signed for other end.
They even donate $1 from every pack to the Australian Koala Foundation. Now that’s value!
- Shop here for Australian Gift Baskets delivered overseas
- Australian gift ideas to send to England
- Top 10 Australian gifts to send overseas
- UK Government website explaining UK taxes & duties
- UK Excise duty charged when sending alcohol (You are allowed to send up to 2L of wine and 1L of spirits as a gift from Australia)
- Australia post international post guide – up to date information on what you can / can’t send
- DHL freight dimension / cost calculator
- Toll freight dimension / cost calculator