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Sorry if this question is not adequate for the site -- I'll gladly accept suggestions to another site in the Stack Exchange network to transfer it to, if that's the case.

I'm from Brazil but I'll be visiting France in a few days.

While in Europe, I was looking to purchase a piece of professional (test and measurement) electrical engineering equipment. I've researched the possibility of buying it directly in France, but a more interesting (read: cheaper) option came up: buying it in the UK, shipping it to a friend's house there, who would proceed to ship it to my hotel in France by UPS. Even after quoting the cost of shipping from the UK to France, it's still cheaper than buying it in France. The cost of the equipment is about 500 GBP plus VAT.

Now to the question itself: will this parcel incur customs taxes when entering France, and at what rate?

Perhaps this is a weird question and no taxes will be charged, but in Brazil I'm used to get charged quite hefty charges for importing goods from any other country (from 60% to close to 100%, depending on the delivery method).

  • You can buy (almost) whatever you want from the UK (because it's in the EU). If you would have it shipped from the US or Brazil, then yes you would expect some delays and taxes. – Relaxed Dec 14 '16 at 15:32
  • And could you not have it shipped directly to your hotel, pending your arrival? – Giorgio Dec 14 '16 at 15:41
  • @Dorothy would it make a difference if it was mailed by a business or an individual? The store in the UK is putting up some roadblocks with regards to sending it to France directly (perhaps it sounds fishy since I'm from Brazil), which is why I contacted a friend in the UK to help me get it to France. – swineone Dec 14 '16 at 18:53
  • That's unfortunate. When traveling on business, it's not unusual to send materials ahead and have them marked 'hold for arrival. Might your UK friend place the order for you and have it sent to the hotel? That might make the company less nervous. You'd just have to reimburse your friend. – Giorgio Dec 14 '16 at 19:05
  • @Dorothy that's exactly what I'm planning to do. – swineone Dec 14 '16 at 19:06
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No, France and the UK are part of a customs union, you will not be charged any additional duties or VAT. Such transactions happen all the time online.

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    @pnuts It is a bit tenuous, yes, but they are travelling to France, so there's that, and I may as well at least answer the question. Possibly the PF&M SE would have been a better place for it *shrug*. – Crazymoomin Dec 14 '16 at 15:39

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