Closing down a second home

We are selling our residence secondaire in Brittany and are arranging a contractor to take back the few bits and pieces we’ll need in our (principal) home in UK. We are thus not moving under transfer of residence terms and the contractor has persuaded me that we must use a customs clearing agent for those items and we must pay VAT on them. This is real topsy-turvy post-Brexit stuff (VAT has already been paid on all these items at original purchase) but from what I can find on the internet, it seems to be accurate. What I would welcome advice on is what we can then take back with us in our car. We’d rather handle paintings and pictures and ornaments and one or two other bits of small value ourselves and will probably end up with about eight or nine banana boxes in our Berlingo. But the contractor says those too will need to be processed by a customs clearing agent and VAT paid; there is a chance we would be examined by Customs officers (possibly at both ends of the Tunnel) even that we would be diverted on to a freight train. However the UK Government website shows that we are (presumably individually) allowed to import (unspecified) goods up to the value of £390 without payment of any duty. Is this accurate; or do we arrange for the contractor to ship everything? Is he just delivering some kind of ‘duty of care’ message? Or do we just take a chance? Does anyone on the forum have experience of this? I’d welcome any advice.

Weigh up the risk of having your property confiscated and/or being fined for some arbitrary value decided by customs for those articles, and decide if it’s worth it.

Seems to me that it is all about risk management and the sentimental value of the possessions you want to take back.

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Thank you, Alex. You’ve put your finger on it - it’s the sentimental value of most of the stuff rather than any intrinsic value .

If you owned the items prior to our departure from the EU you should be ok? These are personal belongings not specifically imported goods.
Confiscation happens when trying to avoid duty payments and chances to pay are offered as they want the money not you sentimental chattels

Thanks, John, that seems pretty close to the truth too!

these are personal items and do not have a commercial value so should be declared as having zero value, therefore 20% of 0 = 0

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Personal items do have a commercial value…especially paintings and pictures and works of art. Old shoes, drawings done by your grandchildren and other personal papers no, but other things yes. Should you get checked by customs surely it is better to have a low value on these items than no value. But of course can be below the 350€ threshold.

Yes, thank you, Jane, there’s no doubt that the small personal things will have a value below the HMRC threshold and I think we’ll be working on that basis for the bits we do eventually decide to take with us; after thinking it all through again we’ve concluded there won’t be much.

All about the Vat and import costs if you move second home contents back to UK.

Hi @strudball, I notice that you often provide links to the Times and FT and some of them would make interesting reading but it seems that you must be a subscriber to the newspaper while others( like me ) are not.
Whenever I click on the link to a Times article as a none subscriber I cant read them.
Perhaps you can copy and paste them, but then again I feel sure the Times have got that barred too.


yep…i know some will open some not, it depends if a particular article is behind the pay wall, unfortunately it isn’t easy to tell.
Sometimes pasting the web link will circumvent this.
@Graham_Lees might know!
Sorry isn’t practicable to paste an article…

Probably copyright issues as well.

There are ways round some of the paywalls.

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Copyright will raise its head if people start pasting whole articles.

Reaches for his takedown notice template:rofl:

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