Selling on eBay from Taiwan - any experience?

Purely a hypothetical question:

Imagine I was to go to a shop in Taiwan and buy something.

Let’s say it costs $100,000.

I find out I can sell it in the UK via eBay for $150,000.

The buyer wants my assurance that he isn’t going to be stiffed for 20% VAT when it arrives at his house in Blighty. Can I give it? If so, are there any boxes that need ticking I should know about (marking it as a gift, falsely declaring its value etc)?

Payment could go directly into my UK bank account in pounds sterling, but preferably would be made into my TW bank account via bank transfer.

Remember, it’s hypothetical. If any part of the process is illegal I want to know so I don’t get into strife if I ever find such a magic product.

My thoughts are that maybe the Yook government may not take kindly to this kind of practice. I do remember seeing a lot of electronics goods marked as “from Hong Kong” on eBay UK. If I am paying tax and it’s a fully legal sale in TW, I am the legal owner and I have paid tax on it, then I choose to sell it overseas, is it illegal?

As an alternative, I could send it to my father’s house marked as a gift, he could then take cash on collection from the would be buyer.

Is there a limit to the number or value of gifts one person is allowed to receive tax free from overseas?

I don’t want HM Customs to turn up on my dad’s doorstep in 12 months demanding ten thousand pounds in unpaid tax for the 34 phones he’s received as gifts from TW in the past year!

That’s exactly what could happen, they aren’t stupid. What may be a bigger problem is if the UK customer refuses to pay you for delivered mechandise due to VAT dispute. … e=document

I deal with UK customs on a daily basis and they are quite good at picking out obviously fake invoices.

Writing out pro-forma invoices with ‘gift’ or ‘sample’ etc. DOES NOT WORK. Items sent as gifts from individuals to other individuals in the UK have a slightly higher limit before import tax is assessed but you would not get away with that for multiple regular shipments or anything of higher value than 100 Euros or so. Anything new or boxed is more likely to be scrutinized.

If you use a government-to-government mail service such as EMS then there is less chance that your goods will even be inspected at all, but if they are inspected and found to be undervalued then you will have more problems getting it dealt with than if you used a commercial shipper such as FedEx.

Should customs suspect an undervalued transaction they may request proof of payment from the recipient to assess the correct value.

If you plan to operate a business exporting items of high value then I suggest you do it properly and get a contract with a commercial shipper such as FedEx, TNT etc. Then if you want to offer a full ‘end-to-end’ service to your customers you can opt to bill them for the VAT, import tax etc. so they know exactly what they will pay and you can request the final import taxes to be charged to your shipping account.

It seems like you are aware that any goods subject to import duty will also be subject to 17.5% UK VAT but you should also search TARIC to confirm if there is any additional duty on the goods you plan to send: … e=20100908

If you are smart then you can stay within the law but pay less duty by carefully selecting the TARIC code you use for shipment. For example a robotics kit might be sent either as industrial machinery or parts for toys, the latter of which would not be subject to import tax.

Thanks for the info Llary. Are you saying that in addition to VAT in the UK I am also likely to be charged for import to the EU?
To what lengths do they go to verify the true value? For instance if the docket says it’s a Panasonic TV that cost $100000 NTD when actually it’s a Panasonic TV that cost $120000 NTD, are they likely to check true prices from a Taiwanese website full of Chinese characters, or in your opinion are ballpark figures acceptable? How easy is it to falsely declare value to the courier company? Just out of interest you understand. I’m not interested in starting a business that’s trading illegally of course!

Anyone know how it works the other way around? I am looking at buying something off eBay (one from US and one from UK) and having it shipping to me here. Will I have to pay any extra tax/duties? And if so, how much?


Depends on what you are hoping to buy, the value, whether new/used and the shipping company.

Gravedigger here.

Anyone selling using eBay from Taiwan. I have a date bit of designer clothes that no longer fit me. Thinking of selling on eBay, since locals might not be interested in the brands (Givenchy, Laferfeld, Hermes, Missoni, Zegna, Ungaro). There is also some signs of age or use (might not be removable by dry cleaning). And, when I was a 36 waist they fit. Most Taiwanese wouldn’t wear that size.

It not eBay, do you think there is a market. I’m not looking to profit, but have no friends of that size. If there are other suitable markets, I’m all ears. Just being realistic that I’ll never fit into them again and would like to sell at a very reasonable price to interested parties (this is where shipping becomes a huge issue). Thanks in advance for any insights.

You could try depop for the UK. The youngsters like baggy clothes at the moment. I have a load of designer stuff from the 90s I will put up for sale there myself.
Whether you will generate any sales from Taiwan though?

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Thanks for the advice. The merch is not that old (early 2000s). Wish I could squeeze into those lovely outfits!