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Moving Country - Needing Advice

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Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:09 pm
by Daan30
Hey everyone,

Haven't posted in a long time but I'm in a tough spot and could be doing with some solid advice and SOS is the place to get that :)

I'm a Brit living in America. I'm planning on moving back in 2021. I have built up a pretty solid studio and nice collection of of high-end guitars. I make music for TV and Film and also streaming platforms and I'll continue to do that when I return to the UK. I need my music gear.

The question I'm asking myself is whether I should keep my gear or sell it and purchase new gear when I return. I would much prefer to keep all my gear but I'm nervous about shipping expensive guitars and studio gear. I've also head that I will need to pay VAT on all my gear when it arrives on British soil.

Do any of you have experience of moving back to the UK from another country with expensive gear?

Thank you, I'm grateful for any input you might have.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:22 am
by zenguitar
No first hand experience to offer, but one thing comes immediately to mind. Well before you have to make a decision it is worth auditing all your mains powered and adaptor powered equipment.

Identify which mains powered gear is 115V only, which has a switchable 115V/230V supply, and which has a universal supply that will work with either. The switchable/universal gear will work fine in the UK. But the 115V gear will require step down transformers which comes at a cost, it might work out cheaper to sell the US spec gear and source UK spec equivalents to replace them when you get here.

With adaptor powered equipment you need to factor in how you will power it in the UK. Some pieces of gear will be simply powered by standard 9V/12V/18V AC or DC supplies, but you need to look out for unusual voltages and non-standard connectors.

And, of course, I apologise if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs :)

Andy :beamup:

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:08 am
by MOF
I would have thought that bringing over your property that you have accumulated over time it would be exempt from duty.
You’re not importing gear. Check obviously, I’m no expert.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:35 am
by blinddrew
VAT and duty are separate things though, and i'd expect to be hammered for both of them.
This might be a good place to start: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs- ... nuary-2021

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:02 am
by ef37a
The tariffs I can't help you with but gear and voltages I have some thoughts.

Even kit that can be changed to 230V might need the services of a tech? Another cost!
We are of course 50Hz and some 60Hz transformers don't like it. They buzz and run hot and don't deliver the right voltages. Rare for quality gear but something to add to my conclusion.
Some valve power amplifiers run hot on 240V+ which is what you are likely to actually get here.

Shipping insurance will be steep I bet. Warranties will be difficult to enforce on another continent and servicing tricky to get.

All in all I would sell everything except perhaps an old favorite synth say, and start afresh in Blighty. You will also have the benefit of a whole raft of new warranties.

Dave.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:58 am
by Mike Stranks
Key point:

Do you have dated invoices/receipts/paperwork with Ser Nos for the items you're considering bringing to the UK?

Although their presence won't necessarily waft you through, their absence will make things much more difficult.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:17 am
by Sam Spoons
As a guitar player who, like you, has accumulated a few nice guitars I have developed an emotional attachment to some of them, those would have to stay with me. Most of the rest of my gear I could replace but you need to work out the cost of replacement. My Emerald X7 is probably a useful example as I have the figures to hand. It cost me £850 about 4 years ago, if I sold it it would realise, probably, about £1200 but a new one costs more like £1700 so even if I had to pay VAT and duty (about 24%) based on the market value (and I think it would be based on price I paid if I had proof of purchase) plus shipping and insurance I suspect it would come in at less than the £1700 I'd have to pay to replace it. Also some items may be impossible to replace like with like less you get lucky on the secondhand market, and many others will be worth a lot less in the US than a similar item would sell for in the UK.

So, if it was me there would be some things I would want to keep for sentimental reasons, others that I'd keep 'cos they would cost too much to replace in the UK and others that I'd sell and replace either because they were generic (audio interfaces, PA gear etc) or because they would not work without modification on UK mains supply.

One final point, I don't know where CITES is WRT guitars, I believe most are now immune but travelling with high end instruments that don't have the correct certification could be problematic (vintage Martin D28 with Brazilian Rosewood in it's build...) so if you have any old instruments check it out.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:21 am
by Arpangel
What if you were to live in a few countries over a period of months/years? why would you be asked to repeatedly pay tax on equipment you’ve paid it on already in the country where you originally purchased it? ho-hum.
It looks like you will have to pay duty on your equipment in line with what the VAT would have been if you’d bought it here, a quick look on the guv website says this.
I’d just try and replace the US items with second hand ones when I got here, only keeping the stuff you can’t bare to part with.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:29 am
by ef37a
Arpangel wrote:What if you were to live in a few countries over a period of months/years? why would you be asked to repeatedly pay tax on equipment you’ve paid it on already in the country where you originally purchased it? ho-hum.
It looks like you will have to pay duty on your equipment in line with what the VAT would have been if you’d bought it here, a quick look on the guv website says this.
I’d just try and replace the US items with second hand ones when I got here, only keeping the stuff you can’t bare to part with.

Ooer! I have sent my son 100s of pounds worth of kit over the years to France. A couple of years ago he went back with a refurbed laptop £400 worth. No mention of duties or taxes in the EU but I suppose all that ends on Jan One 2021?

Dave.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:48 am
by blinddrew
ef37a wrote:No mention of duties or taxes in the EU but I suppose all that ends on Jan One 2021?

Dave.
Assuming we don't stay part of the customs union, yes.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:18 pm
by CS70
Daan30 wrote:Hey everyone,

Haven't posted in a long time but I'm in a tough spot and could be doing with some solid advice and SOS is the place to get that :)

I'm a Brit living in America. I'm planning on moving back in 2021. I have built up a pretty solid studio and nice collection of of high-end guitars. I make music for TV and Film and also streaming platforms and I'll continue to do that when I return to the UK. I need my music gear.

The question I'm asking myself is whether I should keep my gear or sell it and purchase new gear when I return. I would much prefer to keep all my gear but I'm nervous about shipping expensive guitars and studio gear. I've also head that I will need to pay VAT on all my gear when it arrives on British soil.

Do any of you have experience of moving back to the UK from another country with expensive gear?

Thank you, I'm grateful for any input you might have.

Having moved countries a couple times, my experience is that you can bring your "personal belongings" with you free of taxes and duties when the reason of import is settlement, without the need of itemizing or having receipts. You simply declare them, show sufficient proof of settlement (anything from permanent employment to a request for a SSN etc) and there you are with your stuff - including that lovely oak table.

Don't know if it's the same in the UK, but I'd be surprised it weren't (and obviously you wouldn't be asked anything if you came from another EU country within this year).

However, different countries may have different definitions of "personal belongings" and musical gear might require a bit of explaining, especially if it looks new. But so long you're settling (and you clearly come from another country!) shouldn't be a big problem.

For moves overseas, you usually would use an experience international mover (I did), and they will usually answer all your questions..

However, selling out before moving allows you to travel lighter, which can save you a lot of money in moving fees from said company (they usually operate with volume per distance rates), so you basically want to make an estimate of how much you can get for your gear, if you can re-buy once resettled and how much cost (or gain) that would be, and how much the lower transportation volume would save you with the company of your choosing.

An alternative is to rent a container, but then it's you and the tax office - so I would definitely exchange some mails beforehand, print them out and have them with me when you go pick up the container.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:07 pm
by al_diablo
MOF wrote:I would have thought that bringing over your property that you have accumulated over time it would be exempt from duty.
You’re not importing gear. Check obviously, I’m no expert.

That was my assumption but the HMRC website seems to suggest otherwise

https://www.gov.uk/moving-to-uk

For things like guitars it is probably best to calculate the total cost and work out if youd be more out of pocket shipping, or selling and replacing

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:28 pm
by CS70
al_diablo wrote:
MOF wrote:I would have thought that bringing over your property that you have accumulated over time it would be exempt from duty.
You’re not importing gear. Check obviously, I’m no expert.

That was my assumption but the HMRC website seems to suggest otherwise

https://www.gov.uk/moving-to-uk

For things like guitars it is probably best to calculate the total cost and work out if youd be more out of pocket shipping, or selling and replacing

I was curious, and while the list at the start of the page points to the generic "import stuff when traveling", a little down it says that one can indeed claim tax relief, like you can in most other country.

Wanted to see the details, but the dedicated page detailing the conditions (https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... ide-the-ec) has been "withdrawn". Happy to see these Italy is not the only one with these funny government websites!

Unless is a trick by Boris to allow people to travel discretionally because they're his friends :D

Forgot to say above that in most countries of course importing cars is much more restricted than other types of personal belonging. For example, in Norway when I came here you could do that tax-free without paying taxes if you had owned the car for more then 2 years, now you if you wanted to import one you'd have to pay taxes no matter.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:32 pm
by Sam Spoons
It's not simple is it but a couple of things pop out :-

HMRC wrote:2.1 ToR relief
ToR relief exists for those persons who wish to make the UK their normal place of residence. This means the UK will be your main principal home. The relief is only available to ‘living persons’ and their personal property, so it’s not available to trusts, companies, corporations, associations, groups or organisations.

To get this relief you must:

be moving from a country outside the EU to the UK, to live in the UK – transferring the place you usually live to the UK
have lived outside the EU for at least 12 consecutive months
have used and had possession of the goods for at least the last 6 consecutive months
have used these goods and are going to continue using them in the new place of residence in the UK for at least the next 12 months
be bringing in your goods within 12 months of coming to live in the UK
not lend, pledge, give away, hire to others or transfer your goods within the first 12 months after the date on which they were imported

And :-

The relief does not apply to:
Articles for use in the exercise of a trade or profession, other than portable instruments of the applied or liberal arts

and goes on to say :-

Belongings include clothing, furniture, portable tools of trade

So it looks like guitars would be ok as would other instruments, laptop computers, amplifiers and other easily movable stuff but probably not that 70 channel SSL desk and three 24 track Studer tape recorders you have tucked away in a corner of your bedroom.

Definitely worth an enquiry as I'd have thought mostly it would be cheaper to ship what you have than sell and replace if you can get tax/duty relief at this end.

Re: Moving Country - Needing Advice

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:17 pm
by Daan30
Guys,

Thank you for all of your feedback. Very helpful.