#1
I'm going to the US soon-ish, and obviously guitars and amps are less expensive over there compared to the UK. How feasible is it to bring a guitar or amp back with me? What are the import taxes like and would it be worth it? Thanks!
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#2
There are a lot of threads here that have gone over this. If you want details, I suggest you search and check the older threads. But to sum it up quickly: don't bother. It's complicated and rarely saves you any money - in fact it can end up costing you more than if you bought the guitar in the UK. There are a few, very, very rare success stories where people manage to bring guitars back without paying huge import taxes, but those people have lucked out in a big way and you should not bank on that happening to you.
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#3
Thanks MrFlibble. I've read some of the information and it seems it's a pain in the arse, and not worth it. Out of interest, is it possible to bring a guitar to the US, and replace it over there? Would it then avoid the import tax?
My Current Gear
Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded (Cherry Burst) || Gibson Les Paul Junior (Vintage Sunburst)
Marshall 1987X and 1960AX || Weber Mass 100
Fulltone OCD pedal || Ibanez TS-9 tube screamer || Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker || Boss AC2
#4
if youre actually going over there for however long, why not just buy it, put it in a hardshell case and take it back with you on the flight, be it overhead or in the hull?

seriously, importing a guitar is a waste of time if your actually going over there.

amps, are a whole different story. put simply: dont.
#5
you will be faced with 20% VAT plus import duty of around 5% on bringing the guitar into the UK. This is unless you can prove that you have owned it for (i think) 6 months.

you should be able to find all the details by googling it, or a quick call to HM customs and excise.
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#6
Quote by HenryB
Thanks MrFlibble. I've read some of the information and it seems it's a pain in the arse, and not worth it. Out of interest, is it possible to bring a guitar to the US, and replace it over there? Would it then avoid the import tax?
That's technically cheating customs, and illegal. It's the sort of thing you might get away with if you were replacing like-for-like (e.g. you went out with an Epiphone Les Paul in cherry burst and came back with a Gibson Les Paul in faded cherry burst), but it's dodgy ground.

Not to mention you don't really want to try bringing guitars back by air anyway. It's one thing when it's being shipped from a shop or distributor where it'll be in a case, then inside another box and all sealed up and with bubblewrap and whatever else, it's entirely different when you're bringing it along as your own guitar in a regular case that gets thrown about the baggage handling guys who really could not care any less if your expensive instrument gets damaged or not. Unless you pay the extra fees for bringing a large object on board with you, which depending on the airline may just be a basic fee for larger hand luggage or some are bastards and will charge you for another seat (especially if you can't fit it into the overhead storage, which is usually the case).
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#7
Buy it over there and ship it back to someone in your family marked as a gift on the paperwork.
#8
Quote by Lozhaze
Buy it over there and ship it back to someone in your family marked as a gift on the paperwork.
And pay a four-figure fine and/or jail time for knowingly cheating Customs.

They check that shit, they're not stupid. To get away with that you have to provide receipts and even then they can still at least fine you if they have reasonable doubt that it's not actually for the person it was sent to.
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#9
Quote by MrFlibble
And pay a four-figure fine and/or jail time for knowingly cheating Customs.

They check that shit, they're not stupid. To get away with that you have to provide receipts and even then they can still at least fine you if they have reasonable doubt that it's not actually for the person it was sent to.


Jail time? Drama queen.
#10
It's happened. It's happened many, many times, more times than people have gotten away with it.

You are aware that you can get jail time for simply letting your dog foul the street on more than one occasion? Law's the law. You may not take it seriously, but those that enforce it do.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
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#11
Quote by HenryB
Thanks MrFlibble. I've read some of the information and it seems it's a pain in the arse, and not worth it. Out of interest, is it possible to bring a guitar to the US, and replace it over there? Would it then avoid the import tax?


I have done it lots of times and never had an issue.

PM if you want to have a chat buddy.

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#12
Of course Tom's an exception with his guitar mafia connections.
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#14
It's happened. It's happened many, many times, more times than people have gotten away with it.
#15
I've got it back across with no problems

You just have to know the right dealers...
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#16
Quote by Lozhaze


How can you possibly know how many times people get away with anything? Do you have evidence of
one single person getting prison for importing a guitar on the sneak? No court in the land would send you down for doing that once.

Like i said, drama queen.

The evidence is a google search away. There are literally thousands of examples of customs fraud.
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#17
If you're not doing this low value gift thing every other weekend I figure you're pretty safe. It actually costs custom a lot more money to bag in smaller custom frauds like this than just to let it pass. Most cases they will just ignore it.
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