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Importing PC tablets to the UK. Customs and taxes


The process of importation can seem challenging and unclear until you understand it completely. In this article, we will calculate the custom fees and other taxes that you should pay while importing PC tablets to the UK.

This guide can be useful only if you are importing outside the European Union. For example, from China.


This article will cover:

  • EORI number
  •  Commodity code
  • Value of goods
  • Getting license if needed
  • Customs and declaration (customs clearance)
  • VAT

Except finding suppliers, developing the product, and organizing the shipping, you will need to pay customs and follow several regulations.



If you are importing goods, you will need an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) that starts with GB.

Your business should be “established”. It should be based in the country where you are importing to or exporting from. You need to have an office/permanent business establishment/central headquarters.

If you don’t have an office in an importer or exporter country, still you need to get an EORI number.


Here you can read more about conditions when you can get EORI number


Right Commodity code

After, taking the EORI number you should think about the commodity code. Usually, commodity codes can be found in the UK Government Trade Tariff. There you can find commodity codes, VAT rates, and duties. With commodity code you can:

  • Duty reliefs
  •   Complete declarations
  • VAT and duty fees.


On this official website of the government, you can get the commodity code for your product.


8471 34 00 00 - Portable automatic data-processing machines, weighing not more than 10 kg, consisting of at least a central processing unit, a keyboard, and a display

This is commodity number describes the Tablet pc. So, we choose this number.

After choosing the right number, we should get the amount of duty and VAT that we are going to pay. In our situation, it is:

Goods are subject to Value added tax (20.00 %).

Importing from outside the UK is subject to a third country duty of 0.00 % unless subject to other measures.

Use this website to get the right commodity code.


Value of imports

There are 6 ways to calculate the value of your importation. You must tell HMRC the total value of your importation while declaring them.


Transaction value method.

This method of estimation is based on the “transaction value”, the cost you paid before bringing the goods to the UK. You should have a document that will prove your expenses, for example, the seller’s invoice.

While importing you could have additional expenses that are not included in the invoice.

You should add expenses for:

  • Delivery to the UK border
  • Commissions
  • License fee
  • Packing
  • Product development


Can be left:

  • delivery costs within the UK
  • duties or taxes
  • taxes paid in the country of origin or export
  • quantity and trade discounts
  • dividend payments to the seller
  • marketing activities related to the imports
  • buying commission
  • export quota and license costs
  • interest charges
  • rights of reproduction
  • post-importation work, for example, construction or assembly
  • management fees


If you import the goods on consignment, there’s been no sale, or you have supplied them free of charge or on loan, then you can try another method. About other methods of working out the value of the importation, you can read here 


Getting license

You should check the type of your importing product. You may need to have a license or certificate if your products are in the following groups:

  • animals and animal products
  • plants and plant products
  • high-risk food
  • veterinary medicines
  • human medicine
  • controlled drugs
  • tissues and cells for human application
  • waste
  • products containing F gas
  • precursor chemicals
  • hazardous chemicals
  • nuclear material
  • guns, knives, swords, and other weapons
  • weapons and goods that could be used for torture or capital punishment

So, Tablet PC is not in any of that groups and we don’t need the certificate.


Customs clearance

For customs clearance you will need to:

  • have an EORI number
  • register on systems to make declarations
  • have the certificate for your product
  • arrange inspection if needed
  • pay VAT and duty

Above, we have talked about the EORI and certificates, so are not going to discuss EORI and certificates.


Systems to make declarations

We are importing from China (non – EU country). The entry summary declaration should be done, when products arrive at the UK border.

Here is the official website to read more about an entry summary (safety and security) declaration.


Making declarations

You can submit either:

  • Full declaration
  • Simplified declaration


Full import declaration

An entry summary declaration normally is prepared while your goods are on the way to the UK, but sometimes before the goods were loaded. The goods should be presented to customs authorities immediately on their arrival in the UK.


Full import declaration must be presented within 90 days after your goods have passed custom controls. It is possible to make a declaration up to 30 days before your goods’ arrival, but it will be valid only after your products have arrived.



Your declarations should include:

  • customs procedure code
  • commodity code
  • unique consignment reference


You also need to provide information like:

  • Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR)
  • departure point and destination
  • consignee and consignor
  • type, amount, and packaging of your goods
  •   transport methods and costs
  • currencies and valuation methods
  • certificates and licenses


Here you can read about the boxes that you should fill on your declaration in CHIEF

When your declaration is accepted, you will be confirmed how much you pay. Duty must be paid before goods are released.


Simplified import declaration

There are some cases when you can do a simplified import declaration. You can enter the products into special procedures like:

  • inside handling
  • outside handling
  •   customs warehousing
  • Admission
  • and others

Here you can read more about simplified import declaration.


CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight)

You will use the CHIEF system to make declarations. You will need to:

  • apply for access to CHIEF
  • buy commercial software that can submit declarations through CHIEF


You will need the following data:

  • your contact details
  • your EORI number
  • which Community System Provider you’ll be using
  • the badge allocated by the Community System Provider
  • the port or location where your goods will travel through
  • the Entry Processing Unit (EPU) number


Download the form. Right-click on the link and select “Save linked file as”. You should have the latest version of Adobe Reader. It won’t work if you will open it using an internet browser.


Software to submit declarations.

Here you can find recommended by GOV UK software developers that offer customs declaration software.



Inspections are arranged if your product is in one of that groups:

  • Animals and animal products
  • Plants, plant products, seeds, and wood
  • High-risk food and feed
  • Endangered species, products, or plants.

You might have to pay a fee for the inspection.

However, in our case, we don’t need to have additional inspections. So, we are free from fees.


Paying VAT and duties

There are several ways of paying VAT and duties.


You can use a flexible accounting system. And pay by card, bank transfer, or cheque.

If you are registered for UK VAT you will be given an import VAT certificate. You must claim import VAT as input tax on your VAT return.


Here you can read more about paying VAT.


You can face issues and the goods can be held at the border. Usually, this happens if:

  • You haven’t paid enough duty or VAT
  • You don’t have an import license
  • Products couldn’t pass inspections
  • Appear other problems.

If your goods are detained, you will be told about the reasons.

It is recommended to keep records of commercial invoices and any paperwork that is connected with customs, VAT, and others.


From the article, we could understand that Tablets PC are 0% taxed. But the VAT is 20% in the UK, so you will pay that percentage. And there is not a huge percentage of taxes that are paid like for restricted or special products.

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