Aug
04

Import Duty & VAT Threshold on Imported Goods

import-vat-tresholdToday’s article is about something quite simple, but still hugely important – import duty and VAT on goods bought from outside the EU.

I receive countless emails every week from people asking me about import taxes; how much they are, when do they apply, how to calculate them etc.

And although once you start importing it becomes second nature and incredibly simple, it is something that can be off-putting initially and as a result; some people continue ordering from local wholesalers at much higher prices than they could get importing directly from places like China or the US.

So today I’m going to go over import taxes and give you a guide to use when importing goods to the UK from outside the EU.

First things first; what taxes do you have to pay on imported goods?

In general, you need to pay VAT (Value Added Tax) and import duty.

VAT is a set amount (currently 20%) whereas import duty varies depending on the type of product, with many being duty-free.

Import duty is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods you are importing, which means:

  • The price paid for the goods.
  • The shipping cost.
  • The insurance cost.

As mentioned above, the duty rate depends on the product type and many are actually duty free. I won’t list them all here but some popular duty free products include:

  • Books
  • Computer Software
  • Desktop PCs
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile Phones
  • Video Game Consoles

So as you can see, a number of products actually have a ‘nil’ rate of duty, even when imported from outside the EU. [Read more...]

Jul
23

Top 5 Turbo Lister Alternatives for MAC Users!

turbo-lister-for-macAs my long time readers and members of my Easy Auction Business video course will know, I generally recommend using Turbo Lister to create your eBay listings.

There are countless other listings tools you can use, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages – there is no one perfect solution…

But unless you use a more sophisticated (and costly) system such as Linnworks, then I think Turbo Lister is the easiest way to create and manage your eBay listings.

If you want to read more about this, check out my previous guide to Creating Beautiful eBay Listings Using Turbo Lister.

But there is one problem – Turbo Lister is a desktop based software and as of right now, it doesn’t support Macintosh.

So what if you’re a Mac user?

Do you have to change your entire set-up just to be able to use Turbo Lister!?

Well no – there are plenty of other options out there, specifically for Mac users, and today I’m going to go over the best ones for you to choose from.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

GarageSale 6 – The All-in-One eBay Tool for Mac OS X

garage-saleGarageSale is a desktop app that allows you to edit, manage and track your eBay listings.

It is regularly updated (which is a must-have with all the changes on eBay) and includes many needed and useful features such as item variation support, auction scheduler (a must have and very effective when used in conjunction with Terapeak!), multiple account support, batch editing and much more.

You also get free image hosting for up to 20 product pictures per listing! [Read more...]

Jul
18

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#8)

questions-answers-8It’s Friday and time for another Questions & Answers blog post. It will be a slightly shorter one as it’s now the middle of summer and I’m really trying to take a break from business activities to spend some quality time with my family.

Still, over the last week I have received some interesting questions I would like to cover:

  • How to get goods imported from China through UK customs?
  • How to manage orders when going on holiday?
  • Is it possible to start an eBay business from Pakistan?

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi,

First of all, your blog has amazing information! Thanks so much :)

I have ordered 1,000 wooden photo frames from China and I am getting them shipped into Southampton, UK. This is my first time ordering from China and I ordered a few test products first and loved the quality and price so I went ahead and ordered the full 1,000.

I paid in dollars via PayPal and the ETA is around 25th July 2014.

Is there a service anywhere that can collect my order when it comes into the port at Southampton? Then pay the relevant fees and tax and then invoice me a bill? As I am really stuck with the whole process of collecting my order from the port and paying the fees!

The company I have ordered from has already arranged the shipping to Southampton and I just need help with the last bit now – getting my goods through customs and to my actual address in the UK!

Please ask if you need more information about my order.

Thanks,
Rachel

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for your question.

From the sound of it, you have purchased goods on FOB basis which means that the goods are loaded onto the ship in China but you take care of customs clearance and delivery of the goods to your address in the UK. This is perfectly fine and is the most commonly used method when importing goods from China via sea freight. [Read more...]

Jul
15

How to Reduce your eBay Fees on AUTO PILOT!

reduce-ebay-feesIn today’s blog post I want to share with you a business strategy that can greatly reduce your eBay fees or even eliminate them completely! This strategy can be applied to ANY eBay business, at any stage – even if you’re just starting out you can still use this to great success. And if you’re already an established seller on eBay, making hundreds of sales per month, then this strategy can save you thousands of pounds in eBay fees every year!

In my Easy Auction Business video course I mention countless times how important it is to collect the email addresses of your eBay customers. If you’re still not familiar with how this works, here’s a quick overview:

To be able to collect email addresses from your eBay customers, you need to use an autoresponder service such as AWeber, MailChimp or similar. I myself use AWeber but it’s a personal choice really so feel free to use any other service out there.

But what is an autoresponder in the first place? To put it simply, it’s an online service which you use to collect and store customer information (such as name, email, address, phone number and any other related data) and communicate with them using email marketing. This essentially means that you can send out mass emails to your customer base whenever you want.

newsletterYou can also use it to set up an autoresponder series of emails to be sent out automatically to a new customer when they’re added to your database. For example:

  • Send out a Thank You email once a customer is added to your database;
  • Send out a Feedback Reminder x days after purchase;
  • Send out Up-Sell Offers for related products;
  • Send out FREE Gifts (manuals, guides, videos, upgrades);
  • Send out Coupon Codes (for example – FREE Shipping coupon for your online shop).

[Read more...]

Jul
11

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#7)

questions-answers-7It’s Friday, so time for another Q&A session!

Here are the topics we’ll be covering today:

  • How to register a new company and stay under the VAT threshold?
  • Can I transfer the feedback from my personal account to a business account?
  • What are “grey imports”?
  • Should I sell unique products on Amazon?
  • Does your program work in Australia?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I saw a comment that was left on one of your blog posts about VAT and trying to stay under the threshold via registering separate businesses.

I currently resell branded products online (clothing and shoes on eBay and Amazon) as a sole trader, staying just under the threshold. My current business would not be profitable if I had to charge VAT so becoming registered seems like a bad idea.

I am looking at designing and ordering my own unbranded products, imported from China, then also selling these online as a new Ltd.

My accountant tells me that HMRC would most likely consider them the same business as they are online even though they are not selling the same type of product. Firstly I am looking at towels but there is not a specific area I will focus on… My accountant does not seem 100% sure so I wanted to ask your advice on the viability of having these as two separate businesses?

Kind regards,
Jason

In cases like these, it’s all about how HMRC interprets your situation and whether they feel it’s ONE business or not. The law on this is quite vague and unfortunately that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. [Read more...]

Jul
09

DSR Update: Consumer Contracts Regulations

dsr-updateA little while ago I wrote an article on DSRs and The Legal Responsibilities of an eBay Seller, because I just came across too many listings on eBay that simply didn’t follow UK law in regards to selling online.

If you missed that post, you can check it out here: WARNING: Distance Selling Regulations on eBay!

But as most of you should be aware, the Distance Selling Regulations were replaced in June this year, and the new Consumer Contracts Regulations came into effect.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations applies to all purchases made online and basically just implements the Consumer Rights Directive of UK law.

But enough of all this regulations and directives talk – the most important question, and I’m sure all you actually want to know, is – how do these changes affect us when selling online?

And that’s exactly what I’m going to go over today.

Firstly let’s cover the new rules in regards to the service you provide:

You must deliver any goods purchased within 30 calendar days, unless the buyer expressly agrees otherwise.

So this first point shouldn’t be a problem for anyone as I really hope all orders are delivered well before 30 days! If an item is out of stock and you are waiting for a new delivery before fulfilling orders then make sure this is made 100% clear. Personally, I would suggest removing that item from sale until you get new stock in because, as we all know, most eBay buyers don’t read much information at all and you’ll end up with a lot of negative feedback for late delivery. [Read more...]

Jul
07

Hotmail should be BANNED!

hotmail-bannedSeriously, someone should take down Hotmail for good. Or should I say Outlook as Microsoft’s Hotmail to Outlook takeover was completed last year? Either way, if you’re a business person, you should be warned that using a Hotmail/Outlook email addresses can possibly harm your business.

How?

By filtering legitimate emails as SPAM and automatically placing them in the junk mail folder by default.

I see this happen almost every day when my customers don’t get sign-up emails, support replies, payment notifications and other important information. This creates a lot of frustration for them and me of course as I can never be 100% sure that my email has reached the recipient if their email ends in @hotmail.com

Imagine a situation where you run an eBay business or an online shop and use a hotmail email address – chances are you won’t receive many of your customers’ emails as they’ll simply be placed in your junk folder.

People who are aware of this do of course check their junk mail folder every few days as they know that chances are they will find there some genuine emails along with the usual pharmacy spam stuff. But the majority of Hotmail users aren’t aware of this so they miss important emails on a regular basis.

So if you’re in business and use a free Hotmail/Outlook email address, I would seriously recommend you switch to a more reliable free solution, like Gmail, or better yet; do it the right way and get your own domain name with a personalised email address (which you can of course still link to Gmail). [Read more...]

Jul
04

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#6)

questions-answers-6Yep, it’s time for another entry in the highly popular Questions & Answers post series.

It seems the more questions I answer, the more I receive! That’s totally fine of course as the whole purpose of this blog post series is to regularly answer all your eBay, eCommerce and other related questions and to publish them on my blog so that more people can read and benefit from them.

I have to apologise that I can’t publish all of your questions as there are simply too many! I do reply to every single question sent in via email though so if you have something you want to ask me, feel free to get in touch here.

Today we’ll be covering following questions:

  • Do you lose out on VAT for imported goods?
  • HK company selling from a UK based warehouse?
  • Why are so many sellers not VAT registered?
  • Are importing fees a business expense?
  • How to start a successful eBay business with a brand new account?
  • What to do with faulty iPhone chargers imported from China?
  • Easiest way to calculate taxes on imports?
  • Be aware of video game console scams on Alibaba!
  • What to do with my eBay business during Holiday time?

So without further ado, let’s get started! [Read more...]

Jul
02

Let’s pack some Orders!

order-processingPackaging – it’s something so simple and self-explanatory, right? Just quickly pack up your item and post it off, there’s nothing more to it…

Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple, as always with eBay the devil is in the details and if you want to be a truly great seller, packaging is just another thing that you have to consider very carefully.

And just so that there’s no confusion, I’m talking mainly about the packaging you use to post an item, not the product or retail packaging.

Okay, so to get started, let’s first cover the most common packaging materials available and go over which you should generally use for different products.

Cardboard Boxes

cardboard-boxesComing in nearly every shape and size imaginable, regular old cardboard boxes are probably the most commonly used packaging material for eCommerce and eBay sellers.

Cardboard boxes are ideal for heavy items (like books) or fragile items (glassware etc.) that need extra protection during shipping.

One of the best things about cardboard boxes is the variety of types and sizes available – which means they can be used for almost any item. Need to send bottles in the post? That’s fine, you can get cardboard boxes made specifically for that purpose with dividers to hold each bottle and stop them from breaking in transit:

http://www.davpack.co.uk/blog/vintage-boxes/

http://www.davpack.co.uk/blog/vintage-boxes/

Have an eCommerce store in the golf niche? Again, not a problem; there are a variety of cardboard boxes made for shipping golf clubs:

http://www.packingboxes.co.uk/golf-set-boxes-x-3-pack/

http://www.packingboxes.co.uk/golf-set-boxes-x-3-pack/

There are also both single-wall and double-wall cardboard boxes, with double-wall obviously offering more protection but being slightly larger and heavier. [Read more...]

Jun
30

Why Are My eBay Sales Going Down?

ebay-sales-going-downLook at your calendar – it’s July 1st tomorrow, summer time! And this could be the reason why your eBay sales are slowing down.

This happens in many niches every year and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if you’re an established business. For new eBay sellers though it can be a difficult time as they will try to find all kinds of reasons why their sales are slowing down while in reality it’s simply because it’s summer time.

I have been doing this for over 10 years now and I can easily spot such trends just by looking at my sales data from previous years. If you don’t have such historical data to go over, there are still a few things you can do to verify the cause of a sudden drop in eBay sales.

sales-downFirst of all, you need to understand two simple statistical numbers and what they mean:

  • Listing views – this simply shows how many people have viewed your listing. So for example, if this number is 100, it means that 100 people have looked at your listing.
  • Conversion rate – this shows how many of those views converted into sales. So for example – if 100 people viewed your listing and you got 10 sales, that means your conversion rate is 10% (use this formula to calculate the percentage for yourself: Sales/Views x 100%)

Without knowing these two numbers, you can only guess as to the reason for a drop in sales! If you’re a smart seller (like I always talk about) then you DON’T want to guess ANYTHING! You only want to look at real numbers and make educated decisions based on this data.

But where can you find out your listing views and sales in order to calculate the conversion rate?

There are 3 ways to do this: [Read more...]

Who Wants a £100k a Year eBay Business?Show Me How!