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Maisy Report 7 Mar 2024 19:32

Can anybody tell me if I need to pay Customs & Excise duty on medals that belonged to my great grandfather. A cousin has these and now lives in NZ. He has sent them to me but I have to pay £128. Is this correct? As I do the family tree he wanted me to have them to keep them in the family. He has sent me a message today to say that I shouldn't need to pay but I'm not sure. Does anybody know.


nameslessone Report 7 Mar 2024 20:06

Have you asked HMRC to confirm the charge is correct and why? You would also need to be sure of the value of the medals.


Maisy Report 7 Mar 2024 20:12

It says on the letter than I received, that I need to pay to have them delivered and then contest the charge. The letter also says I have 20 days to pay and then they will be sent back to the sender. My cousin is in his 90's and just sorting his life out. I think we're both concerned that they might not make it back to NZ. There is no telephone no. to speak with something at HMRC that I have found.


Rambling Report 7 Mar 2024 21:20

Have a look at

Were they marked as a "gift"? or are HMRC classing them as a "trading commodity"?

EDIT it does seem to suggest that they are being seen as a trade commodity? where VAT is applicable ?

see Collections and collectors' pieces of zoological, anatomical, *historical,*archaeological, palaeontological or ethnographic interest containing animal products ( VAT at) 20% or 5%


Maisy Report 7 Mar 2024 21:52

Thank you for that, I will take a look. I find it very confusing and I have tried to call HMRC but they just keep cutting me off after waiting a short while.


nameslessone Report 8 Mar 2024 08:04

Pay the charge and then contest it as per the letter from HMRC. Make sure you keep any correspondence from your elderly relative about the medals.
A letter/ email fromhim to you explaining that they were being gifted within the family would be a good idea.

Paying then contesting was certainly the way things were done in the past.


Andysmum Report 8 Mar 2024 12:20

Who was the letter from? According to the link posted by Rose, you have to pay the delivery company (Royal Mail?) to get the package delivered.

Judging by what I've seen on Antiques Road Show even the ordinary medals that everyone was given are worth more than the maximum duty free allowance, so you will probably have to pay.

If you do end up having to speak to HMRC, the easiest way, if possible, depending where you live, is to visit the nearest VAT office and explain your problem to the person on the enquiries desk.

Good luck. :-)


Andysmum Report 8 Mar 2024 12:38

Further to my post above, I have just been trying to find the address of my local office (I actually know where it is - or I thought I did!) and failed miserably. I finally succeeded by using Google Maps, bringing up my local town and putting HMRC in the search box. The local office must have closed, because my nearest one is now in Glasgow.

Hopefully you won't need to visit yours!!


nameslessone Report 8 Mar 2024 13:12

HMRC have been closing the public access desks for some years. They are also amalgamating a lot of their own offices.


Maisy Report 10 Mar 2024 17:47

Thank you for all you replies. I have paid the fee and my cousin has sent an email to me and I will print it and send it to HMRC. Hopefully I will be able to contest it. I'll let you know when I hear. Thanks again everyone.