Pay Duty and VAT FAQs

If this is the first time you’ve received a Duty & VAT invoice from us then you may have some questions that you’d like answering before you pay it. This could be an unexpected bill and you may be unsure what it is or how it is calculated.

We hope that the most commonly asked questions listed below will make everything clear but if you have any questions that we haven’t covered, we’ll be happy to help.

Why should I and not the shipper pay Duty and VAT charges?

The person receiving a shipment is obliged to pay Duty and VAT except where the person sending the shipment has agreed to accept these charges. Private individuals intending to buy goods on the Internet from non-EU countries should be particularly careful. The price advertised on the supplier’s website will not include UK Duty and VAT and you will be expected to pay this once the shipment arrives in the UK.If you have agreed with the shipper that he will be paying the charges, then the shipper should indicate this on the Invoice or AWB. Otherwise Duty and VAT is charged to a receiver.
I’ve already paid for delivery – why is DHL invoicing me?

This invoice is not for delivery charges. The invoice relates to import duties, other applicable government taxes (such as VAT) that were levied by HM Revenue & Customs when your shipment arrived in the country and an Advance Payment or Disbursement charged by DHL (as set out in Receiver’s Guide to Duties and Taxes under ‘Your charges Explained’). We will not be able to deliver your goods to you until we have paid the duties and taxes to customs on your behalf. Unfortunately, we are not able to tell you in advance of the costs.
Weren’t these costs included when I paid for my goods?

Retailers (internet or catalogue) will normally include advice about import duties on their shipping information pages. You may wish to check the Terms and Conditions of your purchase.
How are Duty and VAT calculated?

For further information on how Duty and VAT are calculated please refer to the Receiver’s Guide to Duties and Taxes on our DHL UK Website.

This wipes out all of the saving I made by buying online!

Sometimes this is the case. Products sold by companies outside of the UK may appear cheaper compared to UK prices because they do not include taxes. Buyers are advised to check for additional costs before purchasing goods from overseas. You can find useful information at
Why have you given me a customer number?

A customer number has been created for you to pay Duty & VAT charges as per your invoice. This is not a shipping account. If you would like to set up a DHL shipping account please go to
What about my duty free allowance?

Your duty free allowance is only for items you carry with you in your baggage. Goods that you do not carry with you are subject to entirely different regulations. Goods over a value of £15.00 are subject to taxes.
What if I already own these goods?

a. If you own these goods as a business, you need to provide documentary evidence of their export or that these goods were purchased tax-paid in the UK.
b. If you recently left items behind from a trip abroad and these items are now being returned, then you may be eligible for duty and tax relief (subject to the items being owned by you for more than six months). To make a claim please provide DHL with a detailed declaration, together with any supporting documentary evidence.
c. If you are moving to the UK you must apply for a ToR01 (Transfer of Residency) approval from HMRC. If this was not obtained prior to your belongings arriving in the UK, DHL would have been obliged to pay for import duties/taxes on your behalf. To check if you are eligible for a ToR01 approval. please visit and search for ToR01.
d. If you are visiting the UK / EU (European Union) on a temporary basis (maximum of 24 months) you will need to provide a declaration to DHL detailing your: Dates of arrival and intended departure date; Country of Residence; Permanent Address; Passport Number and Purpose of Visit
e. If you are an overseas student please provide DHL with a letter of acceptance from your university/college to claim relief of duties/taxes.

Please provide the information detailed above and return it to DHL within 7 days of receipt of our invoice.

How about gifts?

Gifts from one private individual to another providing the value does not exceed £39. (Exception: There is a very restricted gift allowance on excise goods but you are advised to contact Customs for further information)
What about samples?

Samples relief can only be claimed by Traders registered under the EORI number (Economic Operator Registration Identification). Trade samples are subject to various conditions to qualify for tax relief. To check if your sample qualifies, please contact Customs. Detailed guidelines are published in Customs Notice 372, available by contacting 0300 200 3700 or at

If your goods do qualify for tax relief please contact DHL within 7 days of receipt of our invoice. Please provide a declaration on company letterhead confirming you meet the conditions on Notice 372, quoting your EORI number and details of the person responsible for your record keeping.

Why am I paying tax on delivery charges?

Under current regulations the cost of delivery is added to the declared value of the product to make the shipment’s “value for Customs”. If the sender has not supplied a shipping value, a value is used that is based on the weight of the shipment as per the Customs scale of charges. This calculation will also include a VAT Value Adjustment which is the cost of transport within the EU borders, liable to VAT only.
What if the sender wants to pay for the Duty?

There is a facility for the sender to nominate to pay these charges on the shipment documentation. We can usually re-issue the charges to the sender, but we need the sender to confirm to us in writing that they agree to this. Alternatively, they can pay the invoice directly using one of the payment methods shown on the reverse of the invoice.
How do I pay?

We offer a number of payment options which you will find on the back of the invoice.

  • Internet / Telephone Banking:
    If you have access to the internet or telephone banking, payments can be made to:
    Sort Code 40-02-50, DHL Account number 91406396. Please quote your DHL Customer number and/or Invoice Number as a reference to ensure that DHL can match your payment to the invoice.
    The IBAN code is: GB33 MIDL 400250 91406396 and the Swift code / BIC number is: MIDLGB22.
    Remittances should be sent via email to
  • Credit or Debit Card:
    To pay online please visit with the help of your waybill number or account number. Alternatively, please call 03442 09 01 02 and select Option 2. Please have your DHL Customer Number and Invoice Number available to process your payment.
  • MyBill:
    If you are registered for MyBill, payments can be made online via the MyBill hub. To sign-in or register for MyBill, please visit
  • Cheque:
    Cheques are payable to: DHL INTERNATIONAL (UK) LIMITED. Please send your remittance to: DHL International (UK) Limited, Customer Accounting, PO Box 4833, Slough, SL3 3JE and provide the invoice number on the reverse of the cheque.
  • At the Bank:
    You can make a payment directly at the bank using an invoice giro slip or by quoting DHL bank details:
    Sort Code 40-02-50, DHL Bank Account number 91406396. Please ensure the bank has entered your Invoice number and/or Customer number in their system as a ‘Customer Reference’, to ensure we can match your payment with your invoice. Please allow 4 working days for the payment to clear your account.
Where can I get more information about Customs?

These taxes are collected for the Government by HM Revenue and Customs. There is a National Advice Service for customs matters available on 0300 200 3700. Information is also published online at