Paperwork & costs for selling to the US


We are selling to a customer in the USA – small parcels with a value of around 250GBP, 1 parcel per month. What paperwork do we need to complete, what costs do we pay over the shipping costs and does the customer pay any costs to receive these goods?

Many thanks for any advice.


If you are sending the goods via a courier or Royal Mail, the accompanying invoice or customs declaration with the stated value wil be used, when the parcel reaches the USA, to determine any inport duties and local sales tax that may need to be paid. Generally this is the responsibility of the importer (your client) when the goods arrive in the USA. Any charges would have to be paid before the goods are release to your client.

It would be best practice if you are selling online to make clients aware that inport duties anad local taxes may be due. If not online it would be good practice to put a covering term on your invoice and sales documentation. If you do not do this it could be a shock for your clients in the USA to have to pay further charges, if they decide not to pay them , eventually the goods could be returned to you.

If you want to include all local charges when you invoice your client, if you are using a courier company,they may be able to give you a duty paid etc ‘delivered’ price ie to the customers door. Speak to your courier/shipper.

You may also want to allow for any returns…..if a client send s goods back to the UK, you do not want to pay import duties etc back into the UK… always ask that client contact before they do a return. A statement on a return parcel from the USA stating this is a return shipment to original supplier would be advisable. Hope this helps.

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