Ordering CreateSpace Author Copies into the UK – Beware Incorrect VAT

One of the most exciting things about being an author is receiving a box full of brand new, pristine paperbacks. Author copies of Bedsit ThreeThis box of treasure represents the months or years of hard work needed to get from an ethereal idea to actual words down on paper in black and white.

Shortly after publishing the thriller Bedsit Three I ordered fifty author copies direct from CreateSpace in the US. They were delivered by UPS and left at a convenient local pick-up point because I was out at the time of delivery. The parcel arrived much quicker than I expected and I was impressed by the service.

Two months down the line I had sold over 2/3 of that original delivery and, with a book-signing event arranged with a local community group for the end of January, I decided to order more copies. This time things didn’t go so smoothly. Again I was out when UPS called but this time they left a note indicating that when they attempted a future second delivery I would have to pay £36.89 in taxes to the driver. Apparently this was the VAT charged on the parcel by HM Customs & Excise. I wasn’t expecting this and panicked, calculating it would mean increasing my prices by around 75p per book – thus making it harder to sell.

I phoned UPS and they said the charge couldn’t be avoided. I contacted CreateSpace and they said customs charges were up to each individual country.  Then I searched the internet and found this useful and reassuring CreateSpace forum post. It says that import VAT should not be charged on books coming into the UK and advises phoning the UPS Brokerage team on 01332 815514. I did this and was given a reference number to give to the driver when he attempted to deliver the parcel a second time. This reference number tells him not to impose the charge.

If this charge had been imposed on my first consignment I may well have paid it out of ignorance. So beware when ordering/receiving CreateSpace author copies into the UK!

Bedsit Three is “a psychological why dunnit reminiscent of Barbara Vine/ Ruth Rendell” – Amazon reviewer.

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  1. #1 by Maria Smith (@mariaAsmith) on January 4, 2016 - 7:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing Sally. Something I wasn’t aware of…

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on January 4, 2016 - 8:02 pm

      A pleasure, Maria. You never know – it might come in useful sometime.

  2. #3 by Jenny Roman on January 4, 2016 - 8:03 pm

    Thanks for this, Sally – useful piece of advice for future reference.

  3. #4 by juliathorley on January 5, 2016 - 10:47 am

    I’ve never heard of this. I doubt I’ll ever need this piece of advice, but you never know.

  4. #5 by colettecoen on January 5, 2016 - 6:14 pm

    Really interesting. I’m half way through my first 50 copies of All the Places I’ve Ever Been, and wasn’t charged anything but good to know in case they try to charge me in the future.

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on January 5, 2016 - 6:58 pm

      Hi Colette. Yes, it’s worth keeping at the back of your mind just in case a delivery man knocks on the door asking for money. Best wishes with ‘All the Places I’ve Ever Been’.

  5. #7 by Linda Daunter on January 5, 2016 - 6:33 pm

    Just wondering who put the VAT charge on your parcel – Customs & Excise or UPS? Surely they should both know the rules? A good thing you checked and didn’t just pay up.
    Good luck with the book, it looks great.

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on January 5, 2016 - 6:59 pm

      Not sure who put the charge on, Linda, but UPS took it off – which, as far as I’m concerned is all that matters!

  6. #9 by susanjanejones on January 5, 2016 - 7:33 pm

    Flipping heck, it’s bad enough trying to sell the books anyway, without all that extra added tax. Thanks, Sally, I’m about to order more Redington books so will keep a note of that.

    • #10 by Sally Jenkins on January 6, 2016 - 4:39 pm

      Yes, Susan – you don’t want unnecessary tax eating into profits!

  7. #11 by Linda on January 6, 2016 - 7:11 am

    Hi Sally, its incredible what they will slap a charge on these days – as if life isn’t expensive enough. Very useful advice and a good job you were out for the first delivery.

    • #12 by Sally Jenkins on January 6, 2016 - 4:40 pm

      Exactly, Linda – you need to be on the ball these days!

  8. #13 by Susan A Eames on January 6, 2016 - 3:19 pm

    Interesting information, Sally. By the way – I love your book cover!

    • #14 by Sally Jenkins on January 6, 2016 - 4:41 pm

      Glad you like the cover, Susan – it’s quite a subjective thing to choose and you’re never sure if you’ve got it right.

  9. #15 by crimewritingsolutions on January 8, 2016 - 2:02 pm

    Very useful and informative post yet again Sally.

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