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Import duties from US

Titus

New Member
Messages
9
Hi Everyone.
I hope this is in the correct section, it looks the most relevant!

Thinking of buying a horn from the US, and wondered if anyone has any idea of the import and vat amounts payable when it gets here? The total value will cost around £500.00.
All help appreciated Titus.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,979
VAT is 20%, import duty I believe is around 4%. Sadly they apply this to total cost/value including shipping costs. Also Parcelforce or whoever generally charge a commission for paying the charges in advance on your behalf, and presumably for the luxury of having the item sitting in their warehouse while it is all processed. Or maybe just to annoy you.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would try www.dutycalculator.com if you want to get an accurate estimate. I have only bought a used trumpet in this way from the US, so that the value of said item is at best an estimate, however much it actually costs you, so there can be a degree of flexibility in terms of value declared to US customs, which does not seem to affect legality.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,979
so there can be a degree of flexibility in terms of value declared to US customs, which does not seem to affect legality.
Interesting, do you know any more about that?

I thought the declared value has to match up with the insurance value, very few senders would insure something for $1000 but put $300 on the customs form.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I can't quite remember what we did when we arranged for my trumpet to be imported - sorry 'bout that, Pete.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,979
I can't quite remember what we did when we arranged for my trumpet to be imported - sorry 'bout that, Pete.
I do remember that there are certain categories that don't incur duty, e.g. computers (or maybe it's computer parts), however that is only a small part of it. There's no escaping the 20% VAT, except for books and probably childrens' clothes and a few other things like such as Jaffa Cakes.

That's right, there is VAT on biscuits, but not cakes apparently. McVities went to court against HMRC to defend it's product as a cake not a biscuit.

That doesn't help much in this case, sorry.
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Just got a wooden flute from the USA - 20% vat, plus £8 clearing charge by parcel force. This is on top the base price & shipping.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I have yet to be charged any extra for a Marc Jean ligature from Canada - may be best to try and import from there.....
or you could try saying that the saxophone you wish to import was once owned by Max Jaffa; or get a friend in the US to send it to you as a gift............
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I do remember that there are certain categories that don't incur duty, e.g. computers (or maybe it's computer parts), however that is only a small part of it.
Computers and computer parts are covered by the WTO Information Technology Agreement which sets duties for a large range of items at zero. Not all countries are party to it, but you can assume that the main producers, exporters and importers are.

Duty on a saxophone depends on its origin, too. The European Union charges zero tariffs for least-developed countries on Everything But Arms (EBA). So a saxophone made in Bangladesh would be duty-free. Other duties would depend on the place of origin.

The origin of a manufacture is a tricky area and a fruitful area of employment for consultants and trade lawyers. The criterion is the location of the last "substantial transformation", i.e. where the metal was turned into a playable instrument. Packing, cleaning, etc., does not count.

Based on this criterion a Selmer made in France, exported to the United States and re-exported to the EU should not incur import duties. A Yamaha made in Japan, exported to the US and re-exported to the EU could be subject to a different rate. In the end, customs decide, and you either wear it or appeal against it.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
the clearing charges are the most stupid part of what they make you pay (in the Netherlands too) since this thing has been sent and paid for someone in another country to a country where duty and the consequent custom clearing would certainly apply I could understand having the addressee paying for the duty but the clearing charges should be part of the shipping cost at least for shipping through couriers (since with the postal service one could argue that the postal organisation doing the clearing is not the same as the one which has carried out the shipping..........but in the case of a courier it is the same company!).

I am getting a parcel from taiwan with a declared value of 105$ , Fed ex have told me that I would be paying at least 30€ (almost half of the value) for duty and custom clearance.

Ridiculous! Postal Mafia.
 
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Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
I've just had some specialist luthier tools shipped over from America (some things just aren't available here), total value $267 which worked out to be £172. When the FedEx guy turned up, I had my credit card in my back pocket expecting to have to pay something before I got my parcel, but he just handed it over and I put a squiggle on his electronic thing, and off he went. Relieved I thought it had slipped in under the radar...

... Got a letter from FedEx yesterday, a bill for £40, that broke down as £30 for VAT and £10 for an Advancement Fee.

Not sure this helps any but that's my recent experience.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
When i bought my tenor sax direct from Phil Barone a couple of years ago he devalued it to $625 on the customs form, i still ended up paying £20.80 import duty, £100.62 vat, and £13.50 parcel force Clarence fee.

Oddly though we have bought quite a bit of paint spraying gear from the states as the cost is ridiculously cheap compared to over here and never had to pay a penny in duty etc...
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
possibly it has to do with what it is that you import (although the 20% VAT should be always imposed for any goods coming form outside the EU). Devaluing something has to be done from the sender with full knowledge that if the item is lost or damaged he won't receive more than he declared.
 
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