Do I Need To Pay Import Taxes On My Own Goods?
In this article I will only refer to movements between Spain and the UK. Although it will be very similar for all the European countries involved with Expats.
Since the dreaded Brexit and the UK leaving the European single market the whole process of moving to Spain, or leaving to go back to the UK has become more complicated, more frustrating and more expensive.
Everyone has realised that if you buy something from the UK to be delivered to Spain, you are going to get hit with a tax / import charge. But the question most people don’t know the answer to is “do I have to pay import taxes on my own goods, even if I have had them many years and they are well used?”
The simple answer is Yes, but probably not, and well… it all depends!
Don’t Worry, We Handle Everything
We handle everything for our clients, we do it often and know what to do. It can be very straight forward and also get extremely complicated. If you are using a different removal company to us, and they are not doing it for you, then they should be.
Moving from the UK to Spain
Moving from the UK to Spain is almost surely going to cost you a little bit in import taxes. We are still working on it, trying to find the correct formula that is not going to get you owing the tax office later down the line, but up to now, this is what we are advising. You have to provide Copies of your passport, NIE or TIE, a BOE and a decleration of the value, which you must delare as low as realistically possible.
Moving from Spain to the UK
Moving back to the UK is much easier and pretty much guaranteed to be tax free. However, if you are just sending things back, for business, for a friend or relative or just moving things back to the UK for other reasons than moving to live there, then they will tax you on it. You have to declare it. A removal company will not take it and just not declare it. The fines are huge.
Moving back to live in the UK instead of being a Spanish resident is 100% tax free. You should not be paying 1 penny. You have to apply for a TOR. Which stands for “Transfer of Residency”. The process is somewhat simple and you can do it yourself by going on the UK GOV website and going from there. But if you are a client of ours then we ask if we can do it for you then there are no mistakes which could cause us problems with the UK Customs and therefore an expensive delay.
The application is fairly straightforward. The documents they ask to support the application
are as follows:-
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of a Spanish utility bill. It has to have the name of the applicant on it and be dated, no longer than 6 months ago.
- Copy of a UK utility bill, again in the name of the applicant and dated no longer than 3 months ago.
Some issues we have experienced with the above
Very often we see cases where the utility bill in the UK is in the other person’s / partners name. You can solve this by also providing a copy of the passport of the other person (if the surname is the same)
We have also been asked to also provide a copy of the marriage certificate so if you don’t want the application being held up then it would be best to supply this at the time of the application.
If the surnames are different for the applicant and bill holders name, then the easiest process is that the bill holder writes a statement letter (Which must include their name, address and be dated) to confirm that the applicant will be staying with them at that address.
If you don’t yet have a property in the UK and will be staying temporarily with friends or family until you purchase or complete then it is the same as the different name scenario… A copy of their utility bill, no older than 3 months and a statement letter confirming the applicant will be staying with them. I would usually suggest you simply write ‘ Mr XXXX will be staying with me temporarily until they find permanent accommodation.’
If you have rented a property in the UK then a copy of the rental agreement is needed. Just the page that has the name (of the applicant) address and date the tenancy starts.
If none of these situations apply, and you have booked hotel/air BnB accommodation, then a copy of the reservation must be submitted. It needs to show the name of the applicant, the accommodation address and the dates of the reservation.
The removals firm can make this inventory on collection day. The boxes that you pack yourself must be labelled with the contents. A basic description for example.. e.g Kitchen, Bedding, Books, clothes…no need to be more specific.
Do not just write ‘box’, your application will be rejected until you specify the contents of that box. Also putting “holdall” or “suitcase” will be rejected, you must put what is inside, i.e. clothes, shoes etc. Also do not use abbreviations like COD (chest of drawers) or BC (bedside cabinet) or label as “odds and ends” or “various” as they will reject and ask for you to clarify.
For the customs agent, we would need a copy of your NIE certificate / Green residencia or TIE card, whichever one you have. If you have none of these then they can also use the NIE ‘stickers’ or Bar codes. If you are selling your property here then you will find that the solicitor or notary handling the sale will have these as they must have them for the tax forms.
If You Really Want To Do it Yourself
Go on to this web page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/application-for-transfer-of-residence-relief-tor1
To obtain the code to start the application put your email address…. you will then receive a 4 letter code
The page then opens and has a square where you add the code sent to your email. Do not close the webpage as opening a new one will require a new code… the code originally sent will not work in the new page.
It will then ask you to upload those documents in stages. It will also ask a series of questions which you answer yes or no. Note! It asks whether you have lived outside the UK for more than 12 consecutive months. If you answer no, then your application will be denied.
It asks what you are applying for tax relief on, Household goods, Pets, cars. If you are taking your car back then it will ask for details of the registration etc. Once you receive ToR approval you use this document to import your car.
It also asks if you have been in possession of these items for more than 6 months, and will keep them for more than 12 month, again a no answer will mean the application is denied.
If your application is rejected (which can happen if they are not happy with any of your answers or documents supplied) this is usually down to utility bills being out of the accepted date range, photos or documents being blurry or illegible or having answered no to any of those questions. Don’t worry, just reply with the additional documents they ask for or clarify the information they ask for.
Once the application is approved, then you can actually edit the list and add items if you have decided to take more than originally thought.
Our Recomendation Is Let Us Handle The Paperwork.
Again, it is much easier to let your removal company do it for you as then all you have to do is pass over the documents and info we need and forget about it.
Just as a second note, the customs clearance fee for each consignment, no matter size or value, is £250 . So that is why removal companies’ “minimum price” quotes have gone up so much. Blame Boris!!
Contact Us For More Information
Get in touch with us if you would like further information about this article or any removal matter
Main Office Location
Calle Gremis 33
Polígono Industrial Teulada