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Customs on the hunt for Christmas GST dodgers

Customs on the hunt for Christmas GST dodgers

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Customs on the hunt for Christmas GST dodgers

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Customs are tracking down big spenders who've been shopping in the UK to make sure they pay their GST - and they say one shopper owes more than £2,000.

Officers are in the process of chasing up more than 30 Islanders who in the last six months have come home and forgotten to pay the 5% tax on their shopping trips.

Jersey's Customs have a deal with the UK Border Force who let them know when Islanders are travelling home with high value goods on which they've claimed back the 20% VAT. They now have 31 cases on the go for purchases in excess of £1,000 each - one last week for just over £24,000 and another for over £40,000.

Customs Director Steve Le Marquand said: "Obviously our officers at controls are looking for a number of things, part of that is goods that have been purchased in excess of £390 but it's fair to say drugs and cigarettes have a higher priority than that."

Mr Le Marquand said they'll chase for GST in all the cases they are told about otherwise they'd be encouraging people to buy more in the UK and they have a responsibility to look after local trade.

But he says most Islanders still don't know when they need to pay GST. 

He said: "I suspect if you asked a dozen people what's the customs allowance they won't know, it's more a lack of knowledge rather than an attempt to evade duty. They should be aware of their customs allowances of £390, and it's on them to declare it."

Mr Le Marquand said anyone buying items over their allowance should declare them to the Customs officer on duty at the ports, show their receipt and the GST will be collected there and then. Alternatively they can declare it online or go into the Customs office in Maritime House.

The value threshold for paying GST changes depending on how the goods arrive in the Island - for goods arriving by mail, the threshold is £240; for goods arriving by private boat or plane, the threshold is £270; and if you're bringing the goods back yourself on a flight or the ferry, the threshold is £390.

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Nigel Geary on
Posted by Patricia Garfield-Bennett on
I am a staunch supporter of local businesses and shops, but there often things that are not available in Jersey which one can only obtain in UK. Bearing in mind that there are considerable costs attached to travelling to and from the UK I feel that some consideration ought to be made in respect of items one is importing for personal use. I understand that if the imported items cost above the current threshold of £390 for goods being brought back oneself on a flight or ferry that one is charged GST on the total value with no deduction for the threshold of £390 which seems somewhat unfair - what do others think?
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