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VAT charge on UK delivery


Yesterday DHL attempted to deliver my Flow Light E.B. Early Delivery. Since I wasn’t at home they left a card stating that I owed them an additional £31 for VAT.

That is in addition to the $45 delivery already paid. Has any other UK customer had this? Is this a viable extra charge?

It’s a bit galling to have to pay so much more on top of an already expensive outlay.



Jealous @BenR _ mine is a compete Flow so wont be here until September.

Tell DHL there was a special deal worked out with the Australian end and they are to take it up with them.

I will message the team and get some clarification - don’t pay any extra!!


Thanks Valli. Further clarification on the deal would be much appreciated.


Hi @BenR that must feel a little rough having to pay an extra fee.
VAT, government charges, taxes, etc., are different for each country and some what out of our control. I will check in with the crew organising shipping to see if they know any more. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. On our indigogo and our shop page we have clearly stated that we are not responsible for individual countries tax and import duties.


Thanks Jake. It would be great to have proof of the deal to which Valli alludes before DHL attempt to deliver again tomorrow, so I can show it them.
All the best,


@BenR How did you get on with DHL?


Obliged to pay £31 VAT before delivery . It seems like a legitimate tax, though one that can occasionally be overlooked by smaller courier companies.


Yes unfortunatly items purchased outside the EU and brought into the UK will have to pay VAT


Yes, I’m sorry about the extra tax. @Smoser is right.

Each country has different rules around this and different thresholds for requesting payments. So it is out of our control and a little difficult to get information about all the different rules regarding import taxes and fees.

I’m glad to hear you have received your flow hive and I look forward to hearing about your experiences.


Jake, what C&E commodity codes are you placing on the fullflowhives?


@MartinB is our shipping guru :slight_smile: I will have a talk to him.


8436809000 Is the HS code for our product https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/8436809000


Looking at the descriptions …it seems to me that it has been misinterpreted. The beehive is not electrical equipment nor mechanical equipment. It is a box with frames in it…I think this needs more investigation.


It is not Machinery or Mechanical - Also it says for Business - We are Hobby Bee Keepers so there should not be VAT!!


I agree Valli…so I’m appointing you as Chief VAT Interpreter for the Flow Hive UK!!! He he he…and running for cover!


I have just spoken to Customs and Excise - they have given me an email address and I also found a 2010 amendment about relief for Hobby bee keepers!!!

Let’s see where this goes.

BTW we can Contest the payments and ask to be re assessed so don’t panic!!

sorry amendment was for pest control!


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no it was about verroa


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Official reply:

To: Enquiries, Classification (Customs)
Subject: Hobby Beekeeping Imported equipiment - new invention for beekeeping


If I’m being given or Buying beekeeping Frames - Made of Food grade Plastic from Australia and accompanied with a Bee hive - Flat pack made of cedar from America.

What import Duty or VAT is there to pay.

We are a group of Hobby Bee Keepers trying a new invention from Australia and feel the items may have been incorrectly Classified.

Also I was to understand there is some relief for Hobby Bee Keepers since 2010 in relationship to buying equipment - can you please help so we can understand what we can expect??

Thank you

10:16 (8 minutes ago)

to me
Thank you for your email enquiry for wooden beehives with frames as detailed below.

From the information you have supplied in your email, my advice is that the goods would be classified to 4421909790 with the wooden hive considered to be the essential character when they are imported together as a set with the frames. The duty rate is Free (0%) and the standard rate of VAT applies, currently at 20%. As regards the relief for hobby beekeepers, to receive assistance on this matter from HMRC, you need to phone our VAT, Excise and Customs Helpline on 0300 200 3700.

However please note that the code I have supplied is specific to the information you have provided in your email. If your product varies in any way to what has been described, it may be that a different code is applicable. I would therefore suggest you use the free online UK Trade Tariff available on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/trade-tariff to look up any additional codes you may require.

Jane Martin
We do our best to provide accurate and up to date tariff classification advice using the information you have provided. Our advice is not legally binding and should be accepted as guidance only.
Legally binding rulings can be obtained by submitting an electronic application via the Government Gateway. Further information on how to submit an application is available from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/binding-tariff-information-rulings.
For your additional information, details of the duties that are payable at any given time are also set out in the online UK Trade Tariff. Users should read the UK Trade Tariff terms and conditions which explains the legal status of duty rate information.