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Taking items back to the UK for repair and for my children


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We wish to go back to the UK for a visit soon but not sure of the implications regarding the following.

Wish to take back an expensive surround sound receiver for repair as I cannot get anyone to look at it here in France.

Also wish to take some furniture back to my son who has moved house and needs furniture that we have in excess!! Notably, an Irish antique table an chairs that belonged to his grandmother, plus some other items, e.g, occasional tables and a bed frame made for him by his father.

When exploring the UK gov website, it goes into detail about a TOR1 form, but reading this it is for people moving residence to the UK, which we aren't! 

If anyone has any insight into this I would really appreciate your help, or a telephone number for the relevant department in the UK that I could discuss this with!!

Thanks for reading.

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I would say  the procedure goes something along the lines of,  you purchase or import/export your product, in either direction, and take your chance.

From The Daily Telegraph© this morning.

French customs officers have been accused of unfairly applying high import taxes on British parcels, as a growing number of people have been caught out by complicated customs duties. 

Since Brexit, any gifts sent abroad or received from the EU are subject to import VAT and customs duties. Any gifts worth less than €45 (£38) should be free of French import VAT and customs duties. However, Britons have repeatedly reported being charged large doorstep bills on low value items. 

Kate McGee, who lives in Château-Garnier in the centre of France, said she believed the French customs department had overcharged her as she had frequently paid more than 50pc of the value of her gifts in taxes. 

One diary she received from Britain worth £11 incurred a €23 import duty fee, she said. Meanwhile, she was charged €13 in import duty to receive a £20 calendar for 2022, sent as a gift from her daughter in Wiltshire. 


“This imposition of custom duty happens every time, and the sums of money demanded seem random and illogical,” she said. 

Ms McGee said she paid €9 to receive her husband's jacket that he had left behind on a visit to the UK. In another instance, she was charged €10 to receive a box of chocolates sent by her daughter.

“It is outrageous and an example of the disdain that the French government has for the UK. Frustratingly there is nothing that I can do to protest here in France,” she said. 

Andrew Thurston, of accountancy firm MHA who formerly worked on customs compliance at HM Revenue & Customs, said: “This shouldn’t be happening and there’s no real answer to why it is. It should at no point cost more than 20pc of the goods' value.”

Britain left the EU customs union, the single market and common VAT area on Dec 31 2020. This brought major changes in the way importers and exporters have to account for goods arriving from and leaving to the EU. Customs officers can open packages to assess their value and this can add an administrative fee.

As far as the European Union is concerned Britain is now a “third country”, said Mike Warburton, previously a tax director with accountants Grant Thornton and now the Telegraph’s Tax Hacks columnist.

“This becomes a painful issue and delays everything for the people who are receiving the bills. I expect there will be many disputes over this,” he said. When goods are imported VAT will usually be charged, not by the overseas supplier, but by the importer.

The extra charges are usually collected by the courier on behalf of the government, with customers asked to pay before they can pick up their package.

However, an increasing number of online shoppers are being caught out by double taxes. Mr Thurston said: “We have seen cases where end customers were being charged on imports when it arrived in the country and the provider charged them for it online before they received the goods. That’s where the confusion lies and they can be charged twice.”

'We paid £6k to get move our furniture back from home'

The charges can also apply to existing belongings. Any goods worth more than £135 arriving in the UK from abroad must be declared and will be subject to customs duty. A recent court ruling showed a couple called Mr and Mrs Brooks were charged £6,211 in import duty and VAT to move their furniture back to Britain after relocating back from France following Brexit. 

The retirees moved back to the UK in 2016 but left most of their furnishings in their French property while selling the home to avoid paying storage. They also believed this would help sell the home. 

However, the property only sold in November 2020 after delays during the pandemic. This meant the furnishings were shipped back after Brexit on Dec 31 2020.

Anyone entering the UK is not required to pay any duty or tax if the goods had been used by them in the country they are moving from and if the property is declared for relief within 12 months of them becoming British residents. 

Mr and Mrs Brooks were forced to pay the substantial tax bill because they had passed their 12 month deadline. Their challenge was rejected by the tax tribunal, on the grounds that Brexit was not an “unknown event” and that Covid was not an “exceptional event” because almost everyone everywhere was affected.

Mr Warburton said: “What I find particularly worrying is that the tribunal were not persuaded that Covid was an excuse for the delay in shipping their possessions to the UK because in their view it was not an ‘exceptional event’. I think most of us would disagree.”

Douane Finances, the Government agency responsible for French customs charges, did not respond to requests for comment. ©



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I would bet if taking stuff back in your own car you wont be checked
anything is possible though but it wouldn't deter me

I have just returned to our france place from Uk with a car load of bits
I was actually stopped by the Douanes going out for driving a UK reg'd car! contents never checked, I was asked if I was taking over any drugs.

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Thank you for all the replies.... Food for thought!!! Beginning to think it may be cheaper to buy again in the UK rather than pass on family heirlooms. What a sad state of affairs!!! After reading and trying to understand all the UK Gov site "Rubbish", I think it's pretty clear that all this nonsense has been decided upon for company's and import/export businesses, but the poor "man in the street" has been caught in the middle and dumped in to these ridiculous rules/regulations. Why the hell should I pay duty on furniture I brought from the UK to France in 2005 and all I want to do is take some of it back for my children to enjoy.... It really beggars belief.... Rant over!!!

Thanks again to all who replied

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On 02/02/2022 at 18:13, Ella52 said:

Also wish to take some furniture back to my son who has moved house and needs furniture that we have in excess!! Notably, an Irish antique table an chairs that belonged to his grandmother, plus some other items, e.g, occasional tables and a bed frame made for him by his father.

Re furniture, a friend locally has a holiday home and is an antique restorer in the UK. He regularly takes furniture back - things he's acquired here and plans to restore and sell in the UK. On the rare occasion he is stopped, he explains he has a French house and he needs these pieces of his furniture back in the UK now. No Carnet or form filling in advance and no difficulties. I had this conversation with him last weekend so it's not a story via a friend-of-a-friend or from 2 years ago - it's what he's experiencing personally this year.

But it's not guaranteed that would be your experience, of course. ?‍♀️

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Thankyou for the last two replies.

Catalpa, could I please ask.. your local friend, does he take these items back by van and if so is it UK registered or french registered? Can't decide where to hire a van from if I go ahead with this.

Thanks again

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I don't know the answer to this question but I would go back and forth with 2nd hand items. 

I think you are over thinking this OP. 

BTW...OP....what is wrong with your AV receiver ?

I am supprised you can't get that fixed in France.

These things don't tend to go wrong IMHO.

Edited by alittlebitfrench
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