Will I have to pay French tax on used camera bought from UK

Dear all

I’m thinking of buying a new camera. New to me, but actually “pre-owned” or “pre-loved” as two of the big UK dealers call it.

I know I would have to pay tax / duty / whatever if it were brand new, but what are the rules re used equipment. The price will probably be about GBP£600.

There’s no price advantage in buying from the UK, simply that if I have a problem it might be easier to talk to tech support in English.


As far as I’m aware second hand goods are no different if yiu bought them commercially. You are purchasing goods - full stop.

So TVA (aka VAT) So need to arrange to buy vat free
Customs duties
Administration fee

It isn’t clear how the camera is going to go through the border. Are you going to bring it in personally or are you going to get it sent to you in France.

If you buy it in the UK from a VAT-registered dealer you will pay VAT on it. If you just bring it across the border yourself, you might not be questioned about it, especially if it looks personal and unboxed, etc.

If it is going to be exported by a VAT-registered dealer, you should be able to get it VAT-free or claim the VAT back and then pay the French VAT. As it will be over 150€ you will also be liable for customs duties. There may also be handling charges.

I’m not sure what technical problems you think you might have with it? I had a problem with an Olympus lens I dropped this year and sent it for repair. It was all done through the multi-lingual Europe web site.

I know its not a camera but today we received some sweet pea seeds from the UK value £27.00 and had to pay the postie 13.05 euros before she would hand them over. We don’t know how tax/duties are worked out but c.50% seems rather steep. Lets hope the sweet peas germinate and we get value from them!

Just fell of my chair :smiley: I’ve had some sweet pees in my life but none that expensive :grin:

Buy in France Ken, and support your local economy.


That’s either an enormous quantity, or fancy sweet peas! I spend around €2.50 for 100seeds here.

You will have had to pay 20% VAT, customs duty of a few % and a fixed handling charge.

I intend to – having found a supplier here with appropriate tech support.

Don’t want to bore you with details, but I had a bad experience a couple of years ago – and once bitten, twice shy.

Anyway I’m selling an older camera to offset some of the cost, so will spend tomorrow morning putting that up on eBay. Not the latest, glamorous hi-tech, but takes excellent pix, so hoping someone will be interested.

Thanks for all your help


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Dead on Ken. Have you tried a trade in? I’ve been a keen photographer for decades with initially Pentax then Nikon top of the range SLRs, the last camera I bought was a Sony ILC 6300, which is about half the price now than when I bought it in 2016. It’s great camera which has given me great results and despite my usual efforts at expenditure rationalisation I can’t justify replacing.

Most of that will quite possibly be some kind of handling charge. With courier co’s it will often be £10-£15. The Post is probably getting in on this charge-a-flat-fee-rate-regardless-of-the-low-package-value as well.

It’s just tax tax tax and bringing customs and VAT charges in even on very low value packages is just iniquitous.

It’s just what happens to countries outside europe…

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It’s because Europe is broke, has a huge debt added to with the covid pandemic and they have realised they were missing out on billions of euros by having a lower limit.

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It now applies to all those Chinese goods supplies which got into Europe without VAT being paid (sometimes even provided with false VAT numbers) and were therefore unfair competition with EU companies.

Hi all
The sweet peas were 23.50 with P&P added. We’ve grown sweet peas for many years - here and in the UK with varying results but we decided this year to buy these collections from a specialist sweet pea grower. We were more concerned with their form, perfume and colour than the price. And yes Peter J we agree that someone (the public) has got to pay for the cost of covid etc.

You paid import duty on the seeds and a set fee for the delivery agency to work out this fee and collect on behalf of La France.

Source goods within the EU or place larger U.K. orders so that the handling fee is shared across multiple items.

Parcelforce Worldwide always charged me a £12-£14 handling fee on all goods arriving into the U.K. from outside the EU where their declared value was sufficient to incur import duty fees.

Exactly this.

These charges have always been applied to good arriving from outside the EU where the declared or estimated value exceeded a certain threshold.

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So PeterJ… it’s tax. :slight_smile:

Unless there is another restriction between France and UK, I have decided to visit the family, none of us are getting any younger! Because of this decision and my dithering, I am weighing up the pro’s & con’s of still getting a QWERTY laptop from the UK. Is the tax/duty the same for a new machine or a refurbished one?

If you’re driving, I wouldn’t worry about it

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I came back in November with 3 laptops, two tablets, one 18" tablet and a PC tower and they never they batted an eyelid at them, this was at Dover.

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