[Lfm] Bloomington flies being charged VAT at Customs
Giorgio F. Gilestro
g.gilestro at imperial.ac.uk
Wed Jan 24 18:04:16 GMT 2018
during the past year, virtually every Bloomington shipment gets stuck at
customs with an import charge. I contacted Bloomington about this and they
say that the UK is one of their most problematic destinations. Yet another
sign of our special relationship, I guess.
They do propose a solution (see email below) but apparently, it does not
work. Does anyone know anything more about this? Have you found a solution?
I don't mind paying VAT, but I'd rather have the flies not stuck at the
customs for days.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Cook, R. Kimberley <ruacook at indiana.edu>
Date: Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 5:58 PM
Subject: RE: Re: BDSC POMulti final statement - December 31, 2017 We need a
new PO for your 2018 order year!
To: "g.gilestro at imperial.ac.uk" <g.gilestro at imperial.ac.uk>
The UK continues to be one of our problem destinations.
Last year I sent an email to all UK account holders when it became clear
that you were all being charged the VAT on our shipments. In that email we
offered to include documentation that the flies should not be considered
taxable. Based on our reading of your tax regulations, it appeared that
they WERE taxable (as lab animals) but we said that if you (the user) were
willing to give us a document that said that they should be tax exempt, we
would include it (but not sign it). I believe that some labs are calling
them “lab equipment for human medicine” in order to have them considered
We add a note to the customs declaration that says “relief claimed” for
everyone who has given us such a letter/certificate. I fear that it does
not really work, as we get more returns of UK packages than any other
country, and they are all marked as “refused to pay” even if they had a VAT
exemption letter included. I have asked for feedback from customers who
have given us such documents, but no one has gotten back to me with any
It does not look like we are including such a document with your shipment.
If you would like us to try to include that, we are happy to do so (but, as
I said, we will not sign it).
Kimberley Cook, Ph.D.
Manager, Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center
Department of Biology, Indiana University
1001 East 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005
*From:* BDSC Business Admin
*Sent:* Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:44 PM
*To:* Cook, R. Kimberley <ruacook at indiana.edu>
*Subject:* Fwd: Re: BDSC POMulti final statement - December 31, 2017 We
need a new PO for your 2018 order year!
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Re: BDSC POMulti final statement - December 31, 2017 We need a new PO for
your 2018 order year!
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:37:04 +0000
Giorgio F. Gilestro <g.gilestro at imperial.ac.uk> <g.gilestro at imperial.ac.uk>
flyadmin <flyadmin at indiana.edu> <flyadmin at indiana.edu>
It appears that most if not all of our Bloomington shipments end up stuck
at Her Majesty's Customs with an annoying import charge.
This is a problem that arose about a year ago and it has become more
recurrent than anectodal now.
Have you heard any similar complaints from other fly labs in the UK?
Perhaps we need to change the way flies are declared upon shipping?
Giorgio F. Gilestro
Lecturer @ Imperial College London
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