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Buying goods from LHR duty free and re-importing back into EU

Buying goods from LHR duty free and re-importing back into EU

Old Sep 12, 17, 3:38 am
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Buying goods from LHR duty free and re-importing back into EU

I'm off to the Middle East next week, and have been lusting over a new iMac for a long time. I thought the trip may be a good way to save some cost, but looking at the options has made me even more confused...

1. Buy it in the UK. Cost £1749.

2. Buy it in the UAE. Cost around £1450, but it's a huge box so will have to lug it back, and then I guess pay import duties. Sadly I can't just stash it in a bag like a laptop or iPad. Travelling in F so hand luggage hopefully not an issue.

3. Buy it in Dixons in T5. Cost £1580. However, it seems you can only do 'Collect on Return' or delivery if you are travelling in the EU or UK.

Can anyone advise the best course of action? Buying in T5 seems to be the least faff/best price compromise, but only if they don't force me to take it on holiday with me...
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Old Sep 12, 17, 4:52 am
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Originally Posted by GreatBritishBAECOff View Post
3. Buy it in Dixons in T5. Cost £1580. However, it seems you can only do 'Collect on Return' or delivery if you are travelling in the EU or UK.
For obvious tax/duty reasons!

Isn't the obvious answer to spend 9,000 Avios + £35 on a B2B trip to AMS?
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Old Sep 12, 17, 4:53 am
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If you're travelling within the EU, then they will have to pay VAT, which is why it's all the same to them if they just deliver it to you in the UK.

As you're travelling outside the EU, then they won't have to pay VAT but you need to export it from the EU.

So options are basically book a domestic flight with total travel cost less than £169 including time spent and buy it then - or carry it back from the UAE and declare to customs.

Great username btw.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 4:55 am
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Originally Posted by GreatBritishBAECOff View Post
3. Buy it in Dixons in T5. Cost £1580.
Wow, I think you should start a thread about this. Something in Dixons in a UK airport is more than a 1 penny saving over the amazon price.

It's been about 7-8 years since I've heard of that... Yes, they pocket the VAT themselves if you're going outside the EU. If you give them the boarding card that is.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 5:02 am
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I'm interested in this as well as I can get it in HK for £1339. I'm not sure if its possible to take it as hand luggage in J or F in BA or CX?

Another factor is that I'm not convinced applecare for desktops is international.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 5:09 am
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The border agents at HMRC will suffer quite a loss of sense of humour if they decide to check whether you paid duty on that giant Apple device you are carrying through the green channel on arrival from the UAE (at best they'll delay you for some time and if you confess, you'll have to pay the VAT and a penalty). Since this is not something you could claim is under the taxfree value limit nor is it something you can conceal in your bag, I don't recommend it. I don't actually recommend such VAT/Duty fraud at all; I'm actually doing quite well on declaring such items as camera lenses and being waved through with no duty to pay, yet above the law

Perhaps just resign yourself to carrying it on your journey?
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Old Sep 12, 17, 6:34 am
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One interesting loophole to this scheme - I did a trip last year, LHR-GVA//STR-LHR. I was able to buy a bottle of booze that was for non-EU destinations only, AND collect it on return, because I was returning from the EU. I'm sure you exploit this with some imagination.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 12:02 pm
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I did exactly the same thing from SIN. Bought it at the airport then rolled it through the cabin. Luckily, I was in CW in a 747 upper cabin with the huge storage area so I could keep it there.

Came out, went through the green channel. Nobody came and stop me. But I haven't actually thought about the tax/vat problem so probably would have been in a bit of bother if stopped.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 12:16 pm
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Pardon the inexperience, but even if you brought it with you to the UAE and home again, how come you wouldn't have to declare it to Customs and pay duty as if you purchased it in the UAE? Buying from duty free outbound means that you didn't pay duty in the UK. And would the UAE ask for duty upon entering their borders?
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Old Sep 12, 17, 12:24 pm
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Old Sep 12, 17, 12:33 pm
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Old Sep 12, 17, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
Can it fit in a suitcase ? It so buy it in Dubai unpack it from the box and fit it in the case on the way back. Then itís considered used goods so you should be fine. If it canít fit and you cant open the pack you can chance it but may get caught on the way back.
That's bad advice. Even if one could argue the goods were used, they'd still be liable for VAT and duty. There's no exemption on used goods.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 5:10 pm
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Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
That's bad advice. Even if one could argue the goods were used, they'd still be liable for VAT and duty. There's no exemption on used goods.
HMRC get very grumpy at you if they catch you at this.

Just buy it in T5 and go to AMS, or MAN even, with it, and come back. Book a cheap back to back in CE and call it a points run.
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Old Sep 12, 17, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
technically if you bought it in UK without vat and brought it back you are liable to pay vat on the purchase. If you buy it out of eu you are liable for vat and duty! It happened to me when I bought some Abercrombie in the USA and shipped it to Greece. It got stopped in the airport and I went to clear the goods myself and had to pay 23% vat + 12% import duty ! A lot of stamps it must be said!
Yikes, VAT + Duty. In the US we don't pay sales tax on imports, just the duty.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 3:30 am
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Last edited by ahmetdouas; Nov 12, 17 at 11:04 am
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