On January 6th I had a lovely email from my American penfriend telling me she'd sent me a wall hanging made by her mother through FedEx.
Her mother was a great needlewoman, I remember she used to give rug hooking classes, knitted as well as being a lovely person who made me so welcome whenever I visited them. Since her death, and then the death of her eldest daughter who was her carer, the family have been clearing their family home and I am so delighted to be having an example of her work.
However, the shine has been taken off by correspondence received from Parcelforce telling me I have to pay customs charges raised by the Border Agency on behalf of HMRC. Didn't know that gifts were subject to VAT and a clearance fee charged by Parcelforce. Not sure how this could be avoided and who decided the value of the gift.
I tried to ring the Border Agency but it is obvious that they have no intention of answering calls, always one was cut off after being told that all their agents were busy. A look at the website made it clear that one has no choice about paying.
How does one go about sending and receiving gifts like this? If I wanted to knit and send gifts to their grand children would they be taxed on these? Daughter reminded me that she was sent a clothes gift from a Texan friend and she had to pay £20, less than me but VAT was lower then. As item had been despatched couldn't warn penfriend about filling in customs form.
Maybe it's just me but I feel so fed up about this, some one does something lovely out of the kindness of their heart and the recipient in another country is clobbered by tax and handling charges when the sender has paid postage already.
Sorry, wanted to whinge. Will post pictures of first marmalade batch in next blog.