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 HM Revenue & Customs

Day 2152
Melbourne, Australia
27th February 2010
I have been a victim of highway robbery and there is nobody to help me. I sent a present to my baby nephew in England and between arriving on the shores of Great Britain and being delivered to her house it was intercepted by her majesty's customs and excise or HM Revenue and Customs and they like to be known.

This is where the problem begins, because they can not tax myself they have to tax the receiver, so my sister gets a present and a bill.

I telephoned the customs office and asked if there was some mistake as it was a gift so why would it be taxed and I was told that the maximum you can spend on a gift is £38. So I was being punished for being too generous and I later found out if I had written the words BABY on it then it would have been tax free but as I had spent over the £38 limit I would still have had to pay a fee. I asked what happens at Xmas when people want to send gifts to the UK and was told , each gift has to be under the limit and sent separately. I thought I was in an episode of the twilight zone and England had become the prison and they were the guards taxing the inmates gifts.

After many phone calls from ParcelForce and HM Customs and I was given the following 'options'

1. I was told I could appeal if I thought there was a mistake, which there was as the parcel contained Baby Clothes but as ParcelForce had my parcel it would take up to 5 weeks to get it back and opened to verify the mistake.

2. I can send my sister the receipt with a signed letter stating what was in the parcel and she can pay the customs tax and attempt to claim it back by lodging a refund form.

3. Some crazy idea to stop my sister seeing the receipt which involved me paying the tax and then my sister sending me the box label and me then filling out a claim form and then getting an English cheque sent to me in Australia. It was so stupid I started to realise I was fighting a loosing battle so I took Option 4.

4. I can pay up and shut up.

The Conclusion: Send really cheap gifts to England. I was going to get Rolex watches for my brothers and Fendi and Hermes Handbags for my sister but now my hands are tied :)



  1. I had the same problem when I sent my niece a batmitzvah pres from the US. Now i just put childrens gift /$20 on everything i send obviously explaining at the same time to my family that I am not some cheapskate only spending $20 on them ; - ))

    • Alison
    • Sunday, March 28th at 2:29pm

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