Thursday, 2 January 2014

Another privately collected tax

I have just found out the hard way that if you have anything posted to you from abroad that attracts import VAT or customs duties, the carrier pays these on your behalf and can then charge you a "handling fee" for doing so, which, in my case, at £8, was just under twice the cost of the VAT charged, and that's the Royal Mail, the cheapest of the carriers.

What makes this a privately collected tax is there is no option for the receiver of the goods to pay HMRC direct, they have to have the carrier pay it for them and have no control over what the carrier may charge for doing this. Up until last year, the government at least had the excuse that the Royal Mail was part of the state, but now, of course it's just the usual business of legalised extortion, albeit in a very small way, but on the other hand, as one of their friends says, "Every little helps".