I live in the UK as a UK national, and the US based company that I work for has bought me a computer in the USA to use for my work with them. I'm travelling to the US from the UK for business and to visit friends soon. They will give me the computer (Mac Studio) then before I return with to the UK. It will be their property and not for my personal use. I will have to return it at the end of my time with them, which has no end date (It is open). Do I have to pay VAT? It is worth $4500 in the US.

  • It would make way more sense for them to just buy you a Mac Studio in the UK, given that way any import charges, regulatory compliance etc will have been taken care of by Apple or their agents.
    – CMaster
    Mar 22, 2022 at 14:27
  • The price difference is ridiculous, and it will also take much more time to arrive here in the UK. It's cheaper for me to go to the US and pick one up, pay the VAT when I come back. Plus, I get it sooner. I might just get it shipped. It comes to about $1000 less. And six weeks quicker.
    – StudioBoy
    Mar 23, 2022 at 17:00
  • Fair - my experience is normally once you account for VAT and shipping (+ warranty issues) it normally winds up not worth importing from the US, but those leadtime and price differences are huge!
    – CMaster
    Mar 23, 2022 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Yes, you have to pay VAT. If you just bring it in your luggage as is - the backstory is absolutely irrelevant.

A decent company would have a shipping department that would handle this for you. They shouldn't be giving it to you to deal with, they should ship it to you and declare it accordingly and cover whatever taxes the customs require.

If you decide to carry it, they still should provide the customs documentation. Unless it was a gift to you, it's their computer given to you for work. You're importing a piece of business equipment. See here for details.

  • Why the downvote?
    – littleadv
    Mar 19, 2022 at 0:29
  • 1
    I did not downvote but I do not see an answer here. "Your company should have done this" does not answer "Do I need to pay tax on it?".
    – Willeke
    Mar 19, 2022 at 6:54
  • 2
    @Willeke ok, added a direct answer, not sure how much help that is to the OP. The answer to the question is "yes, you'll need to pay VAT", but the answer to the problem is "don't do it, the company should be doing it".
    – littleadv
    Mar 19, 2022 at 8:10
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    The issue I've found is that there isn't clear language from HMRC. But from this discussion (Thanks) I can gather that my company is essentially importing a computer for me to use, and it doesn't matter that it isn't mine. If I'm using it in the UK, I have to pay VAT. It seems computers are duty exempt from the USA (Correct me if I'm wrong). So it might be better to forget the flight, do meetings virtually and have them post it - then have them pay the VAT. It's still worth it for my work, as these computers are hard to get (Mac Studio Ultra).
    – StudioBoy
    Mar 19, 2022 at 22:11
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    @Acccumulation items in the posession of a visitor that will leave again with the visitor are generally exempt from taxation etc. But the OP isn't a visitor, but a resident. There are processes to exempt items from import taxes for temporary imports, but they ar enormally contingent on the temporary import being for certain purposes - eg repair or similar.
    – CMaster
    Mar 22, 2022 at 14:29

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