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Old 7 May 2006
Ian Ian is offline
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Question Importing a Used Bike from the USA to the UK?


Considering importing a used bike from the USA to the UK.

Anyone any experience of this?

I understand the major costs involved will be the shipping, import duty and possibly VAT (is this payable on used goods?) payable to UK customs. Would there be any tax payable on the US side?


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Old 9 May 2006
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Importing a Used Bike from the USA to the UK?

Not done it with a bike but did it with a Kenworth truck!
No US taxes to pay (I bought from a private seller). I shipped from New York State on a Ro-Ro ferry to Southampton back in 1995. I had to pay the freight (I think it was £2,000 but it is a big truck) in the US then when it got here I had to pay import duty not only on the truck's value, which was $15,000, but also on the the freight charges too. Then you have to pay VAT on that total i.e. you are paying tax on value and tax. Completely outrageous! I reckoned that the total cost was about £15,000. i.e. convert the Dollar cost of the bike into Pounds and you won't be far wrong. Incidentally Customs web site has some useful info on duties etc, but I don't have the url to hand. The shippers in the US will have forwarding agents in the entry port who will do all the leg work with Customs here.

Good luck

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Old 9 May 2006
yuma simon's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Quintin
No US taxes to pay (I bought from a private seller).
The key words are "private seller." However, if you are buying new or used from a dealer, and the transaction goes across state lines, there are often no taxes to pay, either, but that may differ depending on if the state is money hungry (ie. California or New York). I live in Arizona, and just mail ordered a Chinese manufactured GY-series enduro from California and did not have to pay any sales tax. However, if the transaction went the other way from Arizona to california, I would most likely have had to pay a sales tax. If you are buying from a dealer (used or new) in the particular US state that you are located in, you are responsible for sales tax, but if you are shipping the bike straight out, you may be able to avoid sales tax if the dealer arranges for the shipping, and you never actually take possession. (Duty free) (Just like shipping across state lines--no sales tax) Also, unless you are registering the bike in the US, there should be no road tax, either, on this side of the "pond."

To sum it up, if you are doing a straight ship out of the US like Quintin did with his rig, you would have no sales or road tax. If you are riding the bike around in the states, and register it here, you would have to pay registration fees (and sales tax if you are buying from a dealer). No sales tax if from a private party, however. Hope this helps...
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