Spanish Customs
January 16, 2005 7:09 AM   Subscribe

CustomsQuestion: I've moved from the UK to Spain, but some of my stuff is still in England. It looks like the easiest/cheapest way to get some of that stuff is to send it to me using a carrier like DHL. One of these items is worth £1,400. Will Spanish customs try and charge IVA (Spanish sales tax on it) as if it was an eBay purchase, or similar, even though I already own it and have paid VAT (UK sales tax) when I bought it. I have documentation.
posted by benzo8 to Work & Money (8 answers total)
I'm guessing yes, they will try.

I was charged customs when I shipped from me in the US to me in France that I had owned for years. This seemed to be triggered by using a shipper like DHL (it was UPS in that case).

I've had better luck with the postal services -- easier to deal with the customs items since the post office is right around the corner.

As you're shipping within the EU, I can't fathom why you would pay customs but more often these things seem to be a reflection of box size than anything else.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:41 AM on January 16, 2005

If it's worth that much, it might be better to take it on a boat or train or something, with you personally. (depending on how bulky/unwieldy it is, of course) There are overnight boats from Portsmouth to Bilbao/Santander i believe.
posted by amberglow at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2005

Response by poster: Sadly, it's a full-sized synthesizer, weighing 23kg and being over 1.5m in length outside of its box. I'm not carrying it! (And Bilboa/Santander are a long way from Barcelona, where I am!)

The ferry tickets prices are close to the IVA anyhow, so I may just end up sending it and swallow the cost - I can't see any other way of getting out here "for nothing" so to speak. Thanks guys.
posted by benzo8 at 8:47 AM on January 16, 2005

contact other Expats in town and see how they did it--there should be a way. (maybe send it to work, and have work say it's office equipment?)
posted by amberglow at 8:59 AM on January 16, 2005


There are generally no restrictions, but anyone who wishes to bring valuable items into Spain temporarily, e.g. fine art collections, should consult the nearest Spanish Consulate. Otherwise, the only documentation necessary is a list of the items to be imported, and a valid passport. EU citizens do not pay tax on personal and household effects as long as they were not purchased duty free.

posted by magullo at 9:24 AM on January 16, 2005

There are no custom taxes within the EU. We are all one big happy economic family. Hurray!
posted by sic at 9:26 AM on January 16, 2005

Response by poster: Ah excellent new magullo - I've got purchase documents and passport, so I should be in the clear. Thanks!
posted by benzo8 at 9:42 AM on January 16, 2005

Generally, when you move internationally, your personal stuff is not taxed. I've moved U.S. to Germany, then Germany to UK, then UK to South Africa. Never had to pay a penny or 'p', nor pfennig or even a euro-cent in taxes.

The most closely examined move was to South Africa, but that's understandable. My synths are all just fine through every move. But then, I used professional movers for those moves, so the shipments themselves were officialy noted as household stuff.
posted by Goofyy at 5:36 AM on January 17, 2005

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