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Importing knives into the UK

Importing knives into the UK from Japan
VAT, import duty and handling fees

All chef's knives imported into the UK from Japan are subject to tax, duty and fees, so if you’re resident in the UK it’s important to know that you’ll pay an additional sum to receive a knife sent from Knife Japan.

When your knife arrives in the United Kingdom VAT and import duty will be assessed by HM Revenue and Customs. This amount is paid by Parcelforce Worldwide. Parcelforce Worldwide will ask you to repay this amount plus a handling fee before the knife is delivered to you.

Tax, import duty and fees vary according to:
- the value of the purchase
- the postal service we use
- how we itemise your invoice and
- how many parcels we send (sometimes it can make sense to split an order).

This guide will explain how we can legally minimise import duties and fees on your purchase.

One way to reduce your tax liability would be to lie about the value of your purchase on your documentation, but we’d like to stress that’s not something we do. Doing so would risk confiscation of your parcel and void the insurance we arrange on your order.

What will you be required to pay once your order reaches the UK?

First is VAT of 20%, which is the tax to be paid on the total amount you have paid to us.

Second, Parcelforce Worldwide charges a processing and handling fee for parcels that we send to you. They charge £8 on ordinary mail or £13.50 on high-value (£1000+) purchases and express postal services. We can choose which postal service and therefore which fee is payable.

If the value of the items in your parcel goes over the Import Duty threshold of £134 then duty of 8.5% is also payable. It’s important to note that unlike VAT this is paid on the item value only, and doesn’t include postage, handling or insurance. This item value is within our discretion and in most cases can be held under the threshold, even if your purchase is over this amount.

Shipping with Knife Japan is free for all orders and all destinations, however we have learned that itemizing our invoice and indicating separate values for products, postage and handling can save you money when your order is delivered.

Let’s look at three examples.

Example one: a 15cm knife that is purchased for £113.60 with free shipping.

In this case the invoice we issue will list your knife as £102.60 and postage as £11.00 (this calculation may change for a heavier knife). The declared value of the knife will be £102.60, and VAT will be payable on £113.60. This ensures you are not charged VAT on postage you haven't paid.

Import duty of 8.5% will not be payable because the value of the item (£102.60 in this case) is under the £134 import duty threshold.

Before we ship your order we will ask you if you would like us to use EMS Express Post (handling fee £13.50) or Airmail (handling fee £8.00):

Total payable if sent by EMS Express Post: £34.02
(VAT £20.52 + Parcelforce Worldwide handling fee £13.50)

No import duty

Total payable if sent by Airmail: £28.52
(VAT £20.52 + Parcelforce Worldwide handling fee £8.00)

No import duty

Example two: a 240mm knife that is purchased for £176.61 with free shipping. 

If sent by EMS Express Post, with an invoice indicating an item value of £176.61 with free shipping, this knife would attract tax, duty and a handling fee totaling £66.42.

Our system will instead issue your invoice to show your knife and postage & handling separately. The invoice will list your knife as £130.00 and postage and handling as £46.61. 

20% VAT is always payable on the total value of your order (in this case £176.61) however import duty of 8.5% will not be payable because again the item value is under the £134 import duty threshold. 

Total payable if sent by EMS Express Post: £48.82
(VAT £35.32 + Parcelforce Worldwide Handling fee £13.50)

No import duty

Total payable if sent by Airmail: £43.32
(VAT £35.32 + Parcelforce Worldwide handling fee £8.00)

No import duty

Example three: these two knives purchased together. Total purchase value £290.21 with free shipping. 

Sent together, with an invoice indicating an item value of £290.21, your order would attract 20% VAT plus 8.5% import duty plus parcel fees, totaling £90.71 by airmail or £96.21 by EMS Express Post. Ouch. 

We can lower this amount by splitting your order and sending them as in examples one and two above. Handling fees will be paid on two parcels but import duty will not be levied. VAT doesn’t change.

By splitting your order and sending your knives separately, VAT and parcel fees will total £71.84 by airmail, or £82.84 by EMS Express Post.

As a UK resident your overseas online purchases over £15 are subject to VAT, import duty and UK carrier handling fees when they arrive, but by taking these steps we can take some of the sting out of what you have to pay.

If you have any questions about our products or how we can deliver them to you in the UK, please drop us a line using the form below.

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