OT: Import VAT on books from the US?

Hi folks,
I want to buy some academic textbooks. They're much cheaper in the US, even once delivery has been taken into account. But I'm wondering if I'm
going to get charged VAT for importing them.
HM Revenue & Customs confusingly list the rate for books as either "Standard" or "Zero", and give no further information. I e-mailed them about it, and they unhelpfully failed to reply. Has anyone here bought books from abroad, and does anyone know the answer for sure?
Many thanks,
Chris
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I regularly get things sent from America and I think it usually depends on the value,less than $50 seems to be okay.
From past experience,if they do stop it to charge duty,the Post Office/Parcelforce will stick extra postage on it for collecting it and delivering it.Whether any of this applies to books I don't know.
Strangely enough,things from Asia seem to mostly come through unchallenged.
Allan
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On Sat, 19 Jan 2008 02:46:41 +0000, Christopher Tidy

No VAT is charged on books, period.
You might trip over the Import Duty, but in my experience, even a $500 shipment didn't attract any attention or duties.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel http://www.stationary-engine.co.uk
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On Sat, 19 Jan 2008 09:06:17 +0000, Peter A Forbes

There are grey areas - conventional books (paper only) are zero rated for VAT. However, e-books (books on CD or DVD for example) and audio books are standard rated (17.5%). Not sure how they treat a paper book that has a supplementary CD included - could go either way I guess.
If you stick to buying paper books there should be no problem.
Regards, Tony
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from Tony Jeffree

In the case of 'Multi-media' (CD included) the VAT is charged on the value of the CD content.
There is another 'grey area' though - but for fully printed text books, which I assume is the subject, it has no effect - if a book is a 'work book' with some printed text plus blank space for filling in answers etc. then VAT would be charged if the blank space amounted to more than 25%. This was the figure in the original V700 book that was issued when VAT replaced Purchase Tax and I haven't checked to see if there have been adjustments since but I doubt it.
JG
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If the item is entirely printed matter from front to back then it is zero rated for VAT. If there is eg a disk enclosed then the part of the price that pays for the disk is VATable and the rest of the price is zero rated.
I once imported a paper copy of a specification from the USA and the shipping agents tried to charge me VAT, I wrote and explained it was printed matter and they corrected the VAT request.
Hth,
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Thanks very much for all the replies. Sounds like I'm fine. I just didn't want to get caught out, because as someone pointed out, with the additional charges imposed by the post office, things can get rather expensive.
Best wishes,
Chris
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