Anyone know about import duties

Hi Guys, do any of you know of the import costs for a “Elecraft k3” kit from the States to UK.
Would it be cheaper to import from their EU agent in Switzerland ?
I believe that as a kit the rig is exempt from duty but VAT is payable.
It’s a minefield…any help would be appreciated
73’s MW0EUG

Hi Hugh, Welcome!

Richard @M1HAX ordered his KX2 from the States and Simon @GM4JXP ordered a KX3 last year. They may be able to help.

AFAIK there is no import duty on amateur radio equipment. There is a 10digit tax code for these items and should be on the customs label.

You do have to pay VAT at 20%. As the K3 costs more than £135, then the tax can be collected by the courier. So you pay the supplier the cost of the items and shipping, they put the label on the package with the 10digit customs code. When it gets to the local office, you should get an email/letter from the courier / Post Office saying your package is available and listing the VAT and the handling charge. You pay them the VAT + charge and they deliver it.

I think the 0% duty commodity code is 8525600000 but you should check and confirm that yourself.


I believe @G7WKX Simon ordered a KX2 from the US as well recently. Not sure if it has arrived yet though.

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I’m waiting for my KX2 ordered from the US (12 weeks lead time) but i will pick this up when i’m in the US.

Unfortunately i understand there is also a local sales tax added on top of the advertised prices. In CA that is about 9%. :cold_face: and you cannot claim back as US as it does not have a tourist tax free scheme or whatever it is called.

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You may be paying 9% Ca Sales Tax but you wont be paying 20% VAT will you? So that’s a win.

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Hi Hugh @MW0EUG ,

As Robert @M0RWX said, I’ve just ordered a KX2 from Elecraft USA. It has not been sent yet though, so I cannot tell you exactly how much I will be billed for the privilege of importing it. I do know that I will have to pay 20% VAT, which includes a VAT charge on the delivery cost itself. I’m not expecting to pay any USA VAT on it, as it is being officially exported, but let’s see eh…

I recently ordered some parts for the KX2, in preparation for the radio itself. These were side panels and a few other bits, which came in at approx $135 inc postage. I was not charged any additional VAT or import duty on this.

I looked at buying the radio from René and Carine in Switzerland, but unfortunately the Swiss Franc exchange rate with the £ is no good at all. It was going to be approx £500 more to buy from them, which I cannot justify. Even if it did mean getting the radio straight away, I can’t afford that much extra. I’d even planned flights etc (you can get EasyJet from Manchester for about £20 each way to Basel and then a train to the village next to where Lutz CH is based for about £10 each way). It’s worth noting that you would of course have to pay the 20% VAT on import from Switzerland too.

Once the radio arrives, I’ll let you know how much the various import costs are.

73, Simon

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Yes you will. You can only bring up to £390 in personally without paying VAT (and import duty where due) and I’m pretty sure a KX2 is more than that.

Only if you get away with it.

A seemingly minor point, but worth noting that Switzerland is not in the EU - so you need to look at the customs regulations between Switzerland and the UK, not the EU and the UK.

The alternative EU Elecraft distributor is Carlo Biancoli in Italy.

73 Ed.

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Switzerland is in the single market, but not in the customs union. Very confusing.

You can use this Import Duty Calculator - SimplyDuty and enter the info and the duty code given earlier to get some figures on the duties due. It should be in the right ballpark.

Indeed. Shall we say you don’t need to have an IQ in the top 1% worldwide to figure out how to minimise the chances of having to pay the VAT. Whether that aligns with your morals and sense of duty is matter for your own conscience.


Sales tax rates vary in CA depending on your location and mine in Orange County (CA) isn’t 9%. Counties and cities get to modify (typically upwards) sales tax rates from a state wide base.

I’ve lost track of the ways CA “collects” sales tax. Used to be that if something were shipped to another state it was the destinations sales tax that was used and some states (many?) have lower (maybe even zero) sales tax.

Not sure where you are going in the states but maybe you could drop ship your KX2 outside CA.

CA is truly a wonderful place but we have perfected taxing ourselves and by many metrics are leaders within the US and one day we might even have tax rates just like the UK!!!


Hi Paul, Wow Thanks! This trip i’m in nevada, then bay area and finally down to LA. I imagine that nevada beats ca, i will check this.

I did phoned elecraft a while ago and i think it was maybe 8.75% local sales tax on top of the vat i should pay in the uk.

It’s work, but i am planning to take some extra days in the LA area for SOTA. Small issue of getting a full licence before then, so lets hope. I feel like i could probably build a superhet the amount of RF engineering I’m having to learn to get there ….

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Hi - I went through the process of buying direct from Elecraft in 2021 and it was remarkably straightforward (Other than the difficulty in opening my wallet wide enough for a large sum of money to come out…). I just paid VAT which from memory I paid to the courier when they arranged delivery. They did need to re-authorise my credit card payment due to the gap between the order and delivery. If anything it was easier than buying from Europe since our Brexit freedoms and the magical bonus of a blue passport arrived… :roll_eyes:

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Hi Hugh

I ordered direct from Elecraft last summer. It took about 15 weeks to ship and a week for UPS to deliver.

UPS hold the parcel until you pay them the VAT. You can pay while it is in flight. There were no other taxes.

Shipping was expensive (I had accessories in my order that increased this cost) - about £135 total delivery charge! I asked Elecraft several times if this could be improved upon but they did not respond on that issue.

When you checkout on their web store your credit card will be preauthorised for the full amount but they then reverse this due to the backordered item(s), and contact you shortly before dispatch for payment.

Shop around for forex rates - my bank credit card was cheaper than AMEX even factoring in cashback.

Overall it was slow and expensive but I really like the radio and am glad I didn’t get something else to avoid the delay/cost involved.

73 Rich


I haven’t checked myself for a while but have you checked that an M7 can operate in the USA under the CEPT adoption? Maybe you have a US licence etc, I don’t know your circumstances, but worth investigating/ being aware of.

73, Colin

Edit! Ha! Re-read your post and you said you were hoping to take the full exam. Good luck!

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Isn’t that the point? :laughing:

Good luck with your studies.


It is. But TBH there’s not much engineering knowledge need for all 3 exams put together.

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Hi Colin,
From the UK side, Ofcom has only signed up to the CEPT TR6101 agreement for Full licence holders, stating that the UK licence is HAREC compliant as is required, so the CEPT arrangement allowing amateurs visiting other countries to operate while on holiday only applies to UK full licence holders, not Intermediate or Foundation.

There is an equivalent agreement to TR6101, EC REC 05/06 - which applies to the middle-class licence known as the Novice licence by the CEPT and as the Intermediate licence in the UK. Ofcom has not signed this agreement, however, the FCC have - so that for example General Class US operators may operate in other signatory countries of the EC REC 05/06 such as Germany Austria and Switzerland while on holiday (but under the same rules and band/power allocations as the native Novice licence holders).

There are even agreements around entry-level licences (the Foundation class in the UK) defining the qualification requirements (ECC Rep 089) but there has been very little movement on allowing entry-level licensees to operate abroad while on a short holiday. Ofcom has not been part of this entry-level standardisation so far as I know.

73 Ed.

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Many Europeans obtain a US license before coming, including DF3MC, who used his in Hawai’i. Take a look at the practice questions at QRZ in the resources tab.

Elliott, K6EL