You do not have to pay any tax or duty in the UK on goods you have bought tax paid in other EU countries which are for your own use, and which have been transported by you.
'Own use' includes goods for your own consumption and gifts. But you cannot bring back goods for payment, even payment in kind, for re-sale, or for business purposes. These would then be regarded as held for a commercial purpose.
You may be breaking the law if you sell goods that you have bought. If you are caught selling the goods, they will be taken off you and for serious offences you could get up to seven years in prison.
If you bring back large quantities of alcohol or tobacco, a Customs Officer may ask about the purposes for which you hold the goods. The Officer will take into account all the factors of the situation and your explanation. If you are unable or refuse to provide a satisfactory explanation the officer may well conclude that those goods are for a commercial purpose and not for your own use. If the Officer is satisfied the goods are being brought into the UK for a commercial purpose, and are not for own use, the goods, along with any vehicle used to transport them, will be liable to seizure and may not be returned.
When travelling to Spain, UK citizens need to be aware that the Spanish authorities have domestic legislation, which places documentary obligations upon anyone holding or moving large quantities of duty-paid cigarettes (above 800). One of the practical effects of this is that UK travellers, in the same way as everybody else who is holding or moving large quantities of duty-paid cigarettes in Spain (between 800 and 1200), must produce a receipt from a legitimate retailer and, for even larger quantities of cigarettes (over 1200), a form known as a 'Documento de Acompanamiento'.
Failure to provide the required document could result in the Spanish authorities taking the goods from you. The Spanish authorities do ensure, however, that people are free to purchase, hold and move as much tobacco as they like provided that they carry the appropriate documentation – such as a shop receipt – and this applies equally throughout Spain. Further information can be found at www.ukinspain.com and www.fco.gov.uk.
For information on allowances for Travelling see Notice 1.
For information on allowances for Travelling to the UK from outside the EU see Notice 1.
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