Top Tip on Importing Cigars

Sorry it’s been a ridiculously long gap between entries to the blog, it’s been a funny old few months, with not nearly enough cigars to see me through them!  Unfortunately not a review today, that may have to wait (I lost all my unpublished reviews when my Blackberry, along with my good self, took a dip in the Solent a few weeks ago…)  Hopefully you will find this equally as interesting, and possibly more useful.

Thanks to EugeneSax of the UK Cigar Forums for bringing a very interesting point regarding duty and VAT to public attention.  I hope he doesn’t mind my passing on his valuable message.

When importing cigars it is absolutely vital that you check the paperwork that comes from the delivery company.  Let’s imagine that you are a UK based BOTL trying to get your hands on some of the vast non-Cuban range available in the States.  You’re a thoroughly decent chap who wants to do everything by the book, and you pick a retailer who appropriately labels the contents of your package.  Your package arrives, complete with invoice from the delivery company for the duty, VAT and any other taxes which you are liable to pay.  Some companies (such as Parcel Force/Royal Mail) tend to keep your package until you pay upfront, others (in this instance FedEx) deliver the package and invoice you for the charges.  Anyway… you take a look at the invoice and the whole thing seems a little on the pricey side.  You put it down to our excessive duty on tobacco (yes, it’s excessive, but it’s not as excessive as your invoice might suggest).

In the case which EugeneSax brought to everyone’s attention, FedEx had paid and invoiced for tobacco duty on the whole package!  Yes, that’s right, he was paying duty on the tobacco (fair enough), but also the humi pouches, jiffy bag, padding and protection, and (if I recall correctly) in this case even a humidor!  That was more than twice the duty!  An average robusto comes in at around £2.50 duty, so a box of 25 will be over £60 worth of duty.  Bad enough, but you don’t want to pay as much again for something which isn’t even liable for duty!  Then, you have the increased value of the VAT as a result… it all adds up.  So take a good look at the invoice and check that the figures add up, if they don’t, make sure that you only pay what you’re liable to to pay – it’s not your fault that the courier buggered it up!

P.S. As seems to be the way these days, I should probably clarify that I in no way encourage the dodging of duty, VAT or any other taxes.  Which I’d have thought from the post was pretty clear!

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