Are there import charges on a magazine sent from the UK to France?

There is a different treatment depending on whether magazines contain samples and ‘goodies’ or not

French customs duties may be levied on certain items

Reader question: I live in France and am considering subscribing to a British magazine – will I have to pay customs charges on each issue?

Post-Brexit there have been issues with increased charges on receiving many items in France from the UK, however La Poste previously told The Connexion that this should not include magazines.

Despite this some readers do report having had charges applied and there appears to be some confusion over the issue.

There are two main charges which can commonly arise when ordering items for delivery from the UK into France: VAT (usually 20%) and frais de gestion (admin costs).

The latter are charged by delivery companies including La Poste, and should only normally be levied where VAT and/or customs duties were payable on import and where there were formalities to be undertaken in relation to this.

Note that French import VAT on purchases from the UK should only be payable in cases where the seller has not already collected VAT on behalf of France and included it in the cost.

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As for actual customs duties, these are only payable on high-value imports and only if the item was not made in the UK.

Having said this, a La Poste spokeswoman previous told The Connexion that with regard to magazines, a distinction is made between ordinary magazines and magazines containing samples and ‘goodies’ (ie. complimentary gifts).

The latter are considered as merchandise with regard to customs regulations and must be declared to customs on entry. They can have VAT levied if worth more than a couple of euros. In which case admin costs may be additionally added.

Magazines with nothing else inside can be considered to be similar to correspondence and therefore do not require customs formalities or VAT, La Poste said.

If, despite this, you find that charges are applied to magazines that you have delivered, we suggest contacting La Poste’s customer services