View Full Version : Hydra imports to the UK

01-17-2008, 07:55 PM
A question for UK Hydra owners. If you bought your Hydra direct from the states were you asked to pay VAT or duty by Customs when the box arrived in the UK. I.E. an extra separate payment over and above what you paid to Parallax or Nurve.

I know that in theory 17.5% VAT is payable on items over 18. However the practice tends to differ, and the shipments can get more expensive than that before Customs take an interest. I just don't know how much more expensive.

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01-17-2008, 09:58 PM
Hi CG!

Whilst I don't have a Hydra I do often purchase equipment from far and away, I can't answer your question directly but these are my experiences thus far....

The import duty I have had to pay is a bit hit and miss, I think it just depends on how busy HM Customs and Excise are at the time your package comes through.
For example on three orders from digikey to my business address all in excess of 100 only one got slapped with import dutY - go figure!
I always prepare for them applying duty and it's a bonus when they don't..... http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif
I think a lot is down to the courier, for example HM C&E are more likely to miss it if it has been shipped through USPS for example.
When it is shipped by Fedex or UPS they collect the import duty on behalf of HM C&E and charge a brokerage fee every time!


01-19-2008, 01:39 PM
If you buy the hydra from www.xgamestation.com just add a note to declare the package for less and we will, additionally we always put for "student and educational" purposes which seems to help.


02-03-2008, 03:57 PM
That is highly illegal Andre L
You get caught doing that.. not a question of "if" it will be be "when"
Have heard some stories here in OZ from a guy I know at customs here and he
told me that is a common practice and if you get caught doing it you will get fined ...

your call mate..not trying to scare you... I know you are a tough guy...

cheers ron

02-05-2008, 03:57 PM
No, its not illegal. Its up to YOU the receiver to pay VAT taxes. I can declare the package for any price I wish, the amount paid and the amount its worth are two completley different things. I may send something that has an intrinsic value of $1000, but since its a sample I can declare it for $1. So its a perfectly legal loophole. Its up to you to pay your government the taxes when you do your taxes. I get $5-10K of samples each year, all have a declared value of $1, this is common practice, not illegal, but subtle. There are two schools as far as the IRS is concerned here in the USA. They don't care if a company charges taxes actually, but then the responsibility is on the receipient of the product to declare it and pay those taxes. However, in practice this doesn't work, so companies collect taxes for products which end up going to the IRS (unless the losses are greater than the income, which is ALWAYS the case in a well run company that's smart about the balance sheet). But, as long as the IRS get's their money they are happy. However, if they get concerned that they aren't getting their due then they can start an investigation and see if parties that owe taxes haven't paid them, if so, then someone will pay and someone will pay fines. For something to be illegal, damages have to be incurred. So if you pay the VAT tax at a later date in the tax year then there are no damges, if you don't then that's on you. But, I give the receiptient the choice. Also, after shipping to 200 countries around the world, the quickiest way to get product stolen it declare its value, EVERY country has corrupt customs agents that steal so much product they commit a felony every day. So one of the worst tactics it to declare full value just to minimize customs theft. And no, insurance is useless, its takes months to get your month, if you get your money, back so its an empty solution. UPS and fedx are the only couriers you can count on for insurance claims.

As another example, contractors that work for USA from other countries get an income statement, but we don't take taxes out. Its very difficult to send taxes to the country in question's IRS, so in most cases the person becomes the responsible party and has to declare the income and pay. At the end of the day, many things are on the honor system.

If you feel that being over taxed is reasonable then you will over pay, but many people in many countries don't feel that IRSs are constitutional, and or reasonable, and or spend the money collected responsibly, thus, there are cracks in the system where people have some choice over what they can do.

At the end of the day with thousands of packages sent, its not a problem.


03-06-2008, 06:53 AM
hi, i just recived my hydra development kit from the thinkgeek website. i paid 169 us dollars for it. i live in ireland. the vat rate here is 21%. i was hit with a 55 euro duty payment when ups delivered it to me. 55 euro translates to 85 us dollars, it doesn't make sense to me. im dead impressed with the hydra though. just thought i would tell you my experience with vat and duty costs.....paddy

03-06-2008, 08:02 AM
Ouch, next time buy from us directly at www.xgamestation.com when shipping overseas. Anyway, glad you like it. The book is what I am most proud of though. The reverse engineering of the propeller chip while still in production was a trick :)


03-07-2008, 06:31 AM
hi andre i had actually intended on getting the hydra from xgamestation, when i tried to register on the site i hit a big wall, it wont accept my login and password, i tried it a few times, im stuck

Ken Gracey
03-08-2008, 02:46 AM

For twenty years now we have worked with exporting, and we always invoice the actual amount paid. We will never charge a customer $200 and put in the commercial invoice "N/C for sample purposes and evaluation only" or even produce a lower-cost invoice specifically for exporting. It's illegal. You didn't clarify whether or not you produce a different commercial invoice showing a lower amount than what you actually charged the customer. I hope you only do that for samples where there's no charge! :)

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.