Duty Free and Tax Free
The following products are classed as Duty Free items:
- Selected spirits
All other items are classed as Tax Free.
On July 1, 1999 changes to the Duty-Free and Tax-Free laws that apply to European Union countries came into effect. However, you can still buy a wide range of Duty and Tax-Free goods when you travel abroad.
If you are flying outside the European Union you are entitled to your full allowance of goods at Tax and Duty Free prices.
If you are flying within the European Union you are entitled to Tax Free prices on fragrances, cosmetics and skincare; photographic and electrical goods; fashion and accessories; gifts, jewellery and souvenirs. There are no longer any allowance restrictions on these Tax Free items.
Duty Free Allowance / Tax Free Allowance
When travelling from the EU* to the UK you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods you have bought in another EU country without paying tax or duty as long as tax was included in the price when you purchased the items, the items are for your own use, and have been transported to the UK by you. This includes gifts, but does not include any item that is intended to be used as payment or to be resold.
Although there are no limits on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring in from the EU, a Customs Officer is more likely to ask about the purposes for which you hold the goods if you bring large quantities of them. This will most likely be the case if you appear at the airport with more than:
- 800 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 1 kg of smoking tobacco
- 110 litres of beer
- 10 litres of spirits
- 90 litres of wine
- 20 litres of fortified wine e.g. port or sherry
* The EU countries currently include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (Greek part), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (but not the Canary Islands), Sweden and the United Kingdom (but not the Channel Islands).
When travelling from outside the EU to the UK you are allowed to bring in the following amount of duty/tax free goods, provided you travel with the items and do not intend to sell them (if you go over this allowance, you may have to pay duty and/or tax):
- 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco
- 4 litres of still wine
- 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs that are less than 22% volume
- 16 litres of beer
- up to £390 worth of all other goods including gifts, perfume and souvenirs (£270 if arriving by private plane or private boat)
Please note: From Dec 1 2008 you can 'mix and match' products in the alcohol category, and the tobacco category, provided you do not exceed your total allowance. For example you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars, which is 50 per cent of your cigarette allowance and 50 per cent of your cigar allowance.