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UK's Online Shoppers Get Duty-Free Benefits

As of December 1st, shoppers living within the United Kingdom will not have to pay customs duty on items purchased for less than £105 (approximately EU123 or $155) from sites based outside the European Union. Previously, the duty-free limit for goods bought online was £18 (EU21 or $26.50).

"Whether you are looking to get your hands on the latest computer game, designer clothes or DVDs, it is important to be aware of the law on customs charges, especially as this is about to change," said Doug Tweddle of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Items, such as DVD players purchased from the US, typically come with a 14% duty rate.

It is hoped that the duty-free limit raise will discourage customers that often dispatch moderately-priced items, like CDs, separately to avoid the duty-free charge. (Such indiscretions can result in a penalty if discovered.)

What's more, "some websites do not always make clear there is duty or VAT to pay, while others may misrepresent or undervalue your goods to try and avoid paying charges," Tweddle said (via the BBC).

Earlier this year, New York state ruled that online purchases made by its residents are subject to New York's sales tax, no matter where the vendor is based. Amazon filed suit; Overstock immediately cut ties with all New York-based affiliates, then filed suit itself.

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