Will I be charged any duties or taxes for my order?
Various import duties and taxes may be charged by the local customs office, when artworks are imported into the customer's local country. It is worth noting that the customs duty & import charges are often called government charges as they are imposed by the government and are outside of Artfinder’s control.
When import duties and taxes may apply?
Whenever artworks (goods) are purchased from outside the customer’s country, duty and tax may have to be paid to the local Customs unless both customer and artists are based in one of the EU member states or within the same country.
Who is responsible for paying import duties and taxes?
In some cases the artist may offer a "Delivery Duty Paid" international shipping option at the time of purchase, this means that any import taxes would be included in the shipping cost paid at checkout. Please check with the artist who is selling your artwork before placing the order.
How can I pay import taxes due on my order?
Our artists are responsible for pricing of artwork and shipping costs as well as arranging the delivery itself with their courier of choice. Currently the Artfinder platform is unable to accurately estimate and collect import duties and taxes at checkout. This means that there are currently two ways in which you can pay the applicable import taxes and duties due on your international order.
Pre-pay duties via Delivery Duties Paid (DDP)
Some artists offer shipments with a courier that offers a "Delivery Duty Paid" option. In this case your customs and duties would be included in the shipping charge you pay at checkout. Please check with the artist you're buying from if they are able to offer this option which will depend on the courier/postal service they use.
Pay when the item crosses the border
In most cases you will be required to pay import and customs duties when your artwork crosses the border and is inspected by the customs officer. A small admin charge may be raised by the courier to cover the additional cost of processing this charge.
If there are extra charges raised by customs or border control, you'll likely have to pay them to either the courier delivering your parcel or the collection point if you're collecting it in order to receive the parcel after the charges have been cleared. Please note that some courier services may notify you of the raised charges after the delivery has taken place (e.g. FedEx).
What has changed for UK and EU customers after Brexit?
We have created this article to help our UK and EU based customers prepare for changes that will follow the end of the transition period. In essence, although a deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU you may expect temporary delays with cross-border shipments, as well as extra fees. These may include taxes charged by the government and admin fees from the courier. Please see more on that below.
When goods are entering the UK from the EU (or the other way round), they are presented at customs, and in order to be entered into free circulation, import VAT and, possibly import duty must be paid.
Import duty is based on the type of goods being imported, their country of origin, and their value.
Most goods imported between the EU and UK are “nil” rated for customs duties.
This is due to a 'rules of origin' agreement between the UK and EU where goods that have been largely produced in an EU country or in the UK are exempt from customs.
Important points to ensure there is no import duty charged:
- The goods must largely originate from the respective countries (rules of origin). Proof of the origin and claims in customs declarations must be made to support this. (e.g. commercial invoice)
- The goods must be also properly classified with the UK and EU commodity codes
Providing both the above is the artist’s (the seller) responsibility when arranging the shipment. If you are not sure about the country of origin that applies to the artwork you want to buy, please contact the seller directly to check.
From 1 January 2021, if you are based in the UK and buying from the artists based in the EU country (or the other way round) you will be charged import VAT when goods are entering your country. This is because your purchase from abroad is now considered as an import.
Like “normal” VAT, import VAT is usually charged at the standard rate applicable in the country e.g. 20% in the UK. Import of the original artwork is subject to a reduced VAT rate in the UK (5%) and in the majority of EU countries (VAT rates do vary between the countries).
Please also note that import VAT is charged not only on the value of the artwork but also on the following:
- The cost of shipping and insurance (if applicable)
- Customs duty (if any)
Each courier will also add processing fees to their tariffs as they now have to process more documents to clear customs. The fees do vary and depend on the courier, they can be anything between £6 and £20 or a percentage of the combined customs duty & VAT charge.
What are the import duties and tax by country?
Unfortunately the Artfinder platform is currently unable to accurately estimate and collect import duties and taxes at checkout.
To get an indication of the cost to expect you may want to check an online calculator such as Simply Duty https://www.simplyduty.com/import-calculator/. Please keep in mind that these values are only estimated and that we are still seeing some discrepancies between what the calculator says should be charged and what is actually charged (e.g. calculator’s estimate would usually apply a standard VAT rate and it will NOT include the individual carrier’s admin surcharge for example).
Other useful links to EU countries import VAT rates:
European Commission online tool (relevant category from the drop-down list: Pictures)
If you have any doubts, please contact your local customs office for further information before placing your order.
Will Artfinder reimburse me for the unexpected import tax bill?
We're sorry, but at this time Artfinder isn't able to reimburse you for any local import taxes or duties, since those are payable by the importer (ie. the customer). This is why we advise all customers about to place an international order to contact the artist and seek to pre-pay or estimate the import charges ahead of time to avoid surprises. See How can I pay import taxes due on my order section above.
If you are based in the UK and you think you have been incorrectly charged import duty or import VAT then you can try to reclaim it from HMRC using the forms below:
- For items delivered by Royal Mail or Parcelforce use form BOR 286
- For all other couriers use form C285
If you wish to discuss this further, do get in touch with our support team and we will work on a case-by-case basis to find the best possible resolution.
Will I receive my order if I refuse to pay customs charges?
No, if you decide not to pay the charges and therefore contact the courier/ postal service to refuse the parcel, they will usually hold your item for a period of time (this varies from a couple of weeks to a couple of months), after which your item will be returned to the sender. In order to receive a refund, we will need to confirm that the parcel is on the way back to the artist.
Will I get reimbursed customs charges if I return my order?
If you request a return, Artfinder will arrange it for you and cover the cost of the return shipment of the artwork back to the artist. Once we’ve confirmed a safe receipt of the artwork, we will issue a refund of the artwork’s value and of the shipping cost.
You will not be able to reclaim courier handling fees however.
You only pay import VAT and customs duty when goods are imported into the UK, so you won't have to pay these again when sending back/exporting the goods.
Got more questions?
We understand import taxes is an exciting subject and you may have more questions. If that's the case please do not hesitate to get in touch with the artist or our Support Team on firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help!