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Thread: Customs/Duty when items are shipped internationally

  1. #1
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Customs/Duty when items are shipped internationally

    How does one pay that? What is the tax based on?


    Someone outside the USA purchases $100 of fabric from a shop in the USA and it's mailed/shipped - - to the non-USA person -

    Just wondering - - - -

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I live in Thailand and the duty can be handled several ways. If the item is shipped Fedex/DHL, UPS it might be included in the final invoice when shipping and the charge is very high. But frequently the customer has to pay for the duty in Thailand before the item is delivered. Unfortunately while there are set fees for duty it is very rarely followed and the amount charged is up to the duty officer. Sometimes a price can be negotiated. If a package is shipped via the post office and the stated value is not over a certain amount frequently no duty is charged. I think this problem is common in third world countries and we have to want something very badly before we would order it.

    When shipping to somewhere like Australia, UK, etc you can probably contact the customs department of your country and find out the charges.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Panchita's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Chester, England


    In the UK if you buy from abroad the shipping company holds the package to ransom until you pay the import duty/charges.

    Here, the tax due is often VAT (a.k.a. Value Added Tax) which is currently 20% of the value once converted into £UK. So there would be that plus a handling charge (which if I remember correctly is currently about £8).

    So in your example, if $100 equated to £80 (I'm making up the exchange rate!!), then the recipient would need to pay £16 (being 20% of 80) plus £8 handling fee - £24 to collect the parcel.

    Which sounds a lot - until you factor in that fabric etc. is far, far cheaper in the States than it is over here, so there are often major savings to be made purchasing abroad, even with the import duty.

    The person sending the item doesn't need to worry about it - the recipient does, but they get told exactly how much to pay and how!!!

    ETA: I just checked, and as I type this US$100 = UK£64 - so my figures are out, but hopefully clear!
    Last edited by Panchita; 08-06-2012 at 02:21 AM.
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  4. #4
    QKO is offline
    Super Member QKO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Western Nevada
    We ship about 20% of our orders to international customers, mostly in Canada, Australia and Europe.

    The fees and charges vary by country and by the way you ship. Our shipping is by US Postal Service, so I'm most familiar with that.

    If you're selling into international countries, the buyer is responsible for paying any local duties, taxes or fees. You don't have to worry about that when shipping. You are, however, responsible for providing an accurate and truthful statement of valuation on the customs form. Failure to do so can result in delays in shipping and/or penalties to the shipper.

    You put the actual selling price of the items on the customs form. This amounts to the selling price minus any discounts you've given the customer. Depending on the country where the customer is located, they will need to pay the appropriate fees before they receive the package. The fees/taxes/charges will be calculated by the customs/postal authorities in the receiving country.

    In some, if not most countries, the postal service will collect the fees/taxes as part of the delivery process.

    The amount of the charges depends on the country. In some countries, there is a maximum price under which certain of the fees/taxes are waived. Customers in those countries often will make multiple small orders rather than one large order, to avoid those fees.

    International buyers usually develop a pretty good sense and education of how to structure their orders to pay the least they can in fees/taxes when they order from outside their own country.

    To find out the exact fees, most of the countries have web pages now to assist in calculating those as a buyer, so buyers can determine how much it will cost them when the order arrives.

    Generally, the fees are lowest using the USPS rather than UPS or other shipper, as UPS and others charge an additional "brokerage fee" on top of all the others, for doing the paperwork associated with shipping internationally. This can add expense and time to the shipping process, for the buyer.
    Last edited by QKO; 08-06-2012 at 06:18 AM.

  5. #5
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanks for the info -

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