UK Tax and Duty Free Allowances 2014
Customs & Excise Travel AllowanceUK residents travelling into the country from outside the European Union have been able to bring back an increased amount of duty-free shopping since December 1st 2008.
Travellers arriving in Britain from outside the European Union can now benefit from an increase in duty free shopping allowances.
Goods valued up to £390 can be brought into the country without any duty payable on the purchases from January 1st 2010, including souvenirs, clothing, electrical goods and perfume.
The only travellers to be denied these higher limits are those arriving into the UK by private jet, yacht or other private pleasure boat. The total shopping allowance for these people is £270.
The amount of wine allowed is now four litres and a 16 litre allowance has been introduced for beer.
The one litre allowance for spirits and liqueurs over 22 per cent volume plus the two litre allowance for fortified wine (port or sherry), sparkling wine or other liqueurs remains the same. In a new development , however, travellers can mix and match these allowances.
The same flexibility has also been introduced for the tobacco allowance so travellers can buy a mixture of cigarettes, cigars or hand-rolling tobacco provided the total falls within the limit – a maximum 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco.
It is also a victory for the UK even though it has taken four years for the Government to win agreement for the higher limits within the European Union. The move was first put forward by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor in 2004.
The new rules are most likely to benefit visitors to the United States, the top destination for British travellers outside the European Union.
But increasingly many people are also taking holidays outside the eurozone where prices represent good value. Holiday companies report an increase in inquiries for trips to Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Dubai and Thailand.
Despite the weaker exchange rate for sterling against the US dollar, there are still bargains for British visitors especially in electrical goods and designer clothes and accessories. Even though latest aviation figures show a 10 per cent decline in British people visiting North America, there was still a buoyant market for short breaks to New York for Christmas and New Year.
Frances Tuke, spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents, said: ‘Travel habits and consumer spending have changed significantly over the past15 years. Whether the destination is New York or New Delhi, the purpose business or pleasure, these new allowances bring greater freedom for the public.
‘The duty free goods laws now match the needs of the ever adventurous 21st century traveller – the announcement is great news for travellers and the industry.’
Anyone with purchases inside the new limits is entitled to walk through the green channel at Customs posts at airports. Anyone found to have shopping in excess of these limits is liable to pay duty on purchases.