Import Duties and International Taxation

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 Buying goods on the Internet is an increasingly popular way of shopping. And  iwatchjapan  offers you an excellent way to save money and time on finding and purchasing brand name bags and designer watches at a significant savings.

But remember, when you buy an item on the internet from a country other than where you live, the item must be "imported" to you from that country.  When a seller tells you that your items price includes shipping and handling, remember that they are paying to package and send you the item from their country to your address. But when the item arrives in your country the customs service, a government agency of your country, may charge you a customs fee on the item. The seller has no control over this and is very difficult to anticipate. They vary greatly, You can expect to pay on value about:

USA : 7%-10%
Canada : 8%
EU: 10-15%

These fees will have to be paid when the item is delivered or received at the post office. Like I said the seller has no control over this so remember it is up to you to anticipate these charges. Make sure you purchase your online item from a buyer with a good reputation for international shipping, like iwatchjapan, and that they will provide you with a tracking number that you can use to track the progress of your item.

This is done to ensure that your country receives money for taxation. Most countries have a minimum limit whereby items with a value under that limit are are not taxed. Then custom duties are based on the items category and wether or not your country produces the same products.  

If your country has a strong leather industry, then the leather industry in your country forces the government to increase import duties to make other countries companies products competing in the same market more expensive.  It is a way that companies force their governments to protect local markets and inhibit foreign trade.  I am against it of course because it hurts the consumer and allows local industries to be less competitive.  The US auto makers in the 1970's is a good example.

Customs duty - this is usually charged as a percentage of the value. The percentage varies depending on the type of goods and their country of origin. Duty is charged on the price paid for the goods including any local sales taxes plus postage, packing and insurance costs. However, postage is excluded from the calculation for duty on gifts sent by post except for Express Mail Service (EMS).

Under international postal agreements the sender must complete a customs declaration  which in most cases should be affixed to the package. The declaration includes a description of the goods, the value and whether they are gifts or commercial items. Any Post Office abroad should be able to give advice to the sender.

Example: The EU.  Markets in the EU are very protective. And import duties are high.

Most goods arriving in the EU from outside the EU are liable to any or all of the following taxes:

    * customs duty
    * excise duty
    * import VAT

and must be paid whether:

    * you purchase the goods or receive them as a gift;
    * the goods are new or used (including antiques)
    * the goods are for your private use or for sale

Most goods arriving in the UK from outside the EU are liable to any or all of the following taxes:

    * customs duty
    * excise duty
    * import VAT

and must be paid whether:

    * you purchase the goods or receive them as a gift;
    * the goods are new or used (including antiques)
    * the goods are for your private use or for sale

Goods sent as a gift are not free of import duties and import VAT. However, customs duty will not be collected if the amount is less than £7, and import VAT is not chargeable if:

    * the value of the gift does not exceed £36
    * the customs declaration is completed correctly
    * the gift has been sent from a private person outside the EU to a private person
       (s) in their country
    * the gift is for the use of either yourself or your family
    * there is no commercial or trade element and the gift has not been paid for either     
      directly or indirectly
    * the gift is of an occasional nature only eg for a birthday or anniversary.


Fast Parcel Operators may charge you for processing your package through Customs. These charges are normally collected together with any duty/taxes on delivery but they are not Customs duties. If you need to know the exact cost of these extra charges in advance, you should contact the seller and ask which carrier they will be using to send your goods. You can then contact the carrier and ask what their charges will be.
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