Bringing furniture to France from UK for second home

Can I bring furniture from a UK van to my second home in France? It’s not bought new and I don’t have any receipts for it.

The answer to this is that it depends on the value of the items; With the UK leaving the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market entirely, customs formalities and potential duties now need to be completed when goods are brought from the UK to France or vice versa.

There are specific rules for moving to France to make it your primary residence, but there are no specific exemptions from import taxes and duties when items are brought into a French secondary residence.

For a total value of € 300 or more, a declaration should be submitted to French Customs, and French VAT may be charged on the value of the goods. In theory above this value, duties may also be levied on items at varying rates depending on the type (some goods are excluded) if they are not wholly or largely manufactured in the UK.

However, proof of this British origin below a value of € 1,200 is not required.

After many years in the EU’s customs union, this is a major change. There is still a lack of clear information about the requirements, particularly with regards to the public arriving in their own private car or van bringing used items.

The Brexit deal does not seem to have made a clear distinction between this scenario and commercial imports and exports.

However, you should be able to get more information about your specific situation from the French information line Douanes (Customs). From Great Britain this is 0033 (0) 1 72 40 78 50 or in France on 08 11 20 44 44.

In reality, if you are bringing furniture over € 300 into your French home, it is probably more practical and reassuring to use a moving company who is up to date on customs papers.

An international moving company, Reflex Moody’s Ltd, based in Salisbury, UK, told The Connexion today it is still seeking clarification on the exact rules for taking over items for a second home, which the company has confirmed are complex, not of Simplification benefits from rules and tax exemptions for moving items as part of a change of main residence.

The company informed us that even if their primary residence is relocated, they will use a UK specialty agent to organize export papers and a French agent for the import side to make sure everything is in order.

Reflex Moody’s said its trucks must now arrive at port with documents completed and previously cleared, otherwise they would not even be able to board to cross the canal. It is unclear whether the rules would apply as strictly to a member of the public arriving in their car.

We also spoke to Douanes advisors in one of the French ports today who said they are still grappling with some rules related to the UK and confirmed that it is usually best to have the documentation with the help of a professional before moving Agents sort out valuable, potentially taxable items rather than arrive unplanned.

We therefore recommend that you do not currently include any valuable furniture in your own car or minibus until practices between countries become clearer or seek professional advice.

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