How to Claim Back Overpaid Import VAT/Customs Duty from HMRC

I posted an article a couple of years back on how to claim back the £12 ‘customs advancement fee’ from FedEx, but I’ve since had problems with Border Force wrongly calculating

For example, the invoice might state $19USD total value, and yet I’ve been charged £30 Import VAT. The actual calculation should be  20% of £14.80, which is £2.96.

Fortunately, there’s always a way to claim back.


For Royal Mail or ParcelForce imports

If you received the shipment via Royal Mail or ParcelForce, the process is quite simple.

  1. Download and print off a BOR286 form
  2. Fill out all the relevant information along with a quick explanation of why the charges are wrong (e.g. this item cost me £40, so the Import VAT should’ve been £10, yet you charged me £51).
  3. Include a copy of the EMS waybill (if applicable)
  4. Cut off/take a photo of and print out, the Charge Notice, and include.
  5. Include supporting evidence such as the invoice from your supplier, or a print-out of the eBay/Amazon/PayPal transaction.
  6. Stick on a 2nd Class stamp and post to either;
    1. Border Force, Coventry International Hub, Siskin Parkway West, Coventry, CV3 4HX
  7. A few weeks later you should receive a cheque in the post.


For courier (FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT) imports

If you received via a courier such as FedEx, UPS, DHL or TNT, you need the C285 form instead.

  1. Fill out the C285 form online
  2. Include supporting evidence (such as Entry (C88/E2), Invoice, or the waybill).
  3. Advise HMRC on the amount to be reimbursed
  4. Print out and send to


  1. This is really helpful! Thank you

  2. I filled in and sent two BOR 286 forms 2nd July 2019 and have heard nothing since, no refund, no contact. And Border Force do not have any phones or email addresses, impossible to contact them. Anyone else had this problem, and maybe got a solution?

  3. Hi I just wanted to clarify after reading both your posts on this matter; if you have a Duty & tax invoice from FedEx you must now pay the whole bill then apply for the £12 over charge after through the government website? There is no way to contend this before paying anything?

  4. Hi,
    What would be the charge reference number on form BOR286. This should be the tracking number? Or 16 digit parcel reference no ?


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