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Other Why Spaniards Can No Longer Buy From Non-EU Countries.

Jazz Is All

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Back in the 90s and up until Spain was fully entrenched in the EU I could buy mouthpieces and saxes from the US with little concern for extra costs. If the package did get stopped at customs here in Barcelona, the duties and VAT was fairly low. On top of that they didn't inspect all packages because they were understaffed and totally inefficient because they weren't digitalized yet. I went there once to get my palette of household belongings shipped from the Port of Houston and saw how they used paper forms and stamped them by hand while chatting with each other and the customs brokers who came in. It was like the neighborhood deli and between trips to get coffee, go to the loo, talk to someone on the phone their workload output was at a pace of one importation every 25 minutes. That was good for me because it meant that all mouthpieces regardless of value got through and even saxes did too, especially if the seller wrote it was damaged and simply parts or some such thing.

Well jump forward to Internet World with everything in the buearocracy computerized and done online, the EU's rules governing how certain aspects of the economic life of the country are run and the rules governing them, and the desire of the Government to get as much cash as they can out of the enormous amount of importation due to online sales, and you can understand why bringing a sax in for your own personal use is now treated no differently than doing it for resale. The way they cracked down on the enormously gaping hole in the importation of products of this type was by first localizing all the Customs arrivals to a giant center in Madrid and closing all the old-fashioned offices in cities like Barcelona. Even if someone outside the EU sends a package to me in Barcelona, it has to first go to and through Customs in Madrid before being sent on to me here. So right away if it is dutiable it takes longer to get to me.

On top of all this the fees and taxes are what I consider exorbitant given that I am not a business selling the things I buy from the US in order to make a profit. Maybe that is their reasoning because if I were, at least I would be paying sales tax and income tax and as a private user of the product I am not. Basically they consider that they are protecting their market for those things (whether they exist here or not) by making you pay the same taxes and fees to at least acquire them that a business here would. On top of that they charge you VAT on the cost of the shipping from that non-EU country to here!!! Think about that a moment. There is no way I can have anyother shipper than USPS or UPS send a sax to me but never mind that, Spain considers that since it wasn't a Spanish shipper to whom I would have paid tax they'll charge me anyway. I guess the illogical logic is that a Spanish Company should have been used to bring it to Spain.

So when the package gets to customs they send me a bunch of papers in the snail mail with the amount I have to pay at any bank into their account. Once that is done the package is free to be removed from customs and here is where they figured out a way to screw us some more. See, back in the old days when I had paid the duty and taxes to the bank, the package would be given back to the Postal Service -- Correos de España -- who would deliver it to my door as the continuation of the shipping I had paid USPS for. It was just the same as someone sending me a letter that USPS would deliver to Barcelona and Correos would then deliver to my mailbox. No more. Now, in order to get your package out of Customs you need to have a Customs Broker to remove it physically and send it on to you. That can either be you yourself.....if you live near Barajas Airport in Madrid and can get there without hassle.....or a commercial broker or for ordinary people Correos. For this service the tack on two other fees, one for the expenses of Correos doing this for you and the other, much larger amount, for some kind of fee for the Administrative document itself. At any rate that is what its name implies although to me, it just means screw 'Em For All We Can.

Here I have pasted the online explanation of what is involved in buying something from outside of the EU for a citizen or resident in Spain. For those not literate in Spanish I've posted the translation too. Read it and pity me and all of us here in Spain, including many British, Irish and Aussie expatricks too.

¿Cuánto se puede llegar a encarecer una compra?

Hagamos un pequeño cálculo. Si compramos en Estados Unidos un producto de 500 euros que nos envían a casa. Con unos aranceles al 2.5% deberíamos pagar 12.5 euros y debemos añadir un IVA del 21% que asciende a 105 euros. Nuestro gasto ya ha alcanzado los 617.5 euros. A esto sumamos los 6 euros de gastos de correos más unos 25 de DUA (31 euros) por lo que nuestro gasto alcanza los 648.5 euros.

Nuestro producto se ha encarecido aproximadamente unos 148.5 euros que supone aproximadamente el 30% de su precio.

How much above its price can a purchase (from outside Spain) cost?

Here is an example calculation for a product purchased in the United States at a cost, including shipping, of €500. With Duty of 2.5% you'll pay 12.5 euros + VAT of 21% bringing the total to €105. Your cost for the product to get into Spain has now increased to €617.50. To this, add the 6 euros of Spanish postage costs plus another 25 euros for the Administrative Documentation Fee. Now your expenditure has risen to €648.50. That purchase of yours has increased by €148.50 or approximately 30% over what it cost you to buy and ship.

Now you know why we in Spain aren't buy sax stuff in the USA anymore.
 

Phil

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France
I know where you can get a lot of mouthpieces just a few miles north :)

i guess my wife’s family member in Barcelona was right when he said Spain would charge for the air you breathe if they could meter it.

Yes, it seriously sucks. Be glad you are not in Brazil. I have had a few customers who informed me that their fee is literally 80 percent. Then its sometimes higher depending on regional taxes and fees.

I informed them that the Gambino family likely gives better rates sharking loans,

its so bad in some countries that I actually ask potential customers if they have researched import rates. It kills a few sales but if they refuse to pay the fee and refuse the package it can fall into never never land and I never see it again or perhaps in six months.

yep...it sucks and really protects few markets.
 
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mizmar

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Trondheim, Norway
Same in Norway.
From anywhere, EU, USA, wherever. You get a text to go to the post office and cough up 40 odd %. At least within the EU (or within the US or China) you have access to everything within a top 3 world economy.... It's not great outside the big 3.
 

Jimmymack

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I always like the part when you pay the postal cost, on which you've already paid vat and then they add it and charge vat on top of it, tax on tax is one of the great scams. Anyway it's the same in the UK and certain to get worse. I don't buy from abroad, it's not available to me unless I want the things lot, and I don't want many things that much, so things I might buy, I don't. It does sound worse in Spain but not that much worse. It would be interesting to hear what it's like buying from Europe in the US.
 

ellinas

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Athens, Greece
I was very lucky in the past ... To the point I was ordering only from usa.... Very low if not 0 tax from usa.
Now things are awfully different...
Who knows maybe this will boost the industry of EU & UK ...
Great saxophones and accessories produced/developers here in our continent!
 

Jazz Is All

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I know where you can get a lot of mouthpieces just a few miles north :)

i guess my wife’s family member in Barcelona was right when he said Spain would charge for the air you breathe if they could meter it.

Yes, it seriously sucks. Be glad you are not in Brazil. I have had a few customers who informed me that their fee is literally 80 percent. Then its sometimes higher depending on regional taxes and fees.

I informed them that the Gambino family likely gives better rates sharking loans,

its so bad in some countries that I actually ask potential customers if they have researched import rates. It kills a few sales but if they refuse to pay the fee and refuse the package it can fall into never never land and I never see it again or perhaps in six months.

yep...it sucks and really protects few markets.
This would be funny if it didn't hurt so much when I laugh.
 

Jazz Is All

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Barcelona, Spain
I always like the part when you pay the postal cost, on which you've already paid vat and then they add it and charge vat on top of it, tax on tax is one of the great scams. Anyway it's the same in the UK and certain to get worse. I don't buy from abroad, it's not available to me unless I want the things lot, and I don't want many things that much, so things I might buy, I don't. It does sound worse in Spain but not that much worse. It would be interesting to hear what it's like buying from Europe in the US.
Taxes on top of taxes are a major part of all the utility bills here. You should see our water bill. 55% is taxes and varies fees and supposed ecological costs for the sewers that take the waste water out of our home. The great one is that the water, gas and electric companies here all charge you a monthly fee for rental of the meter that tells them how much you have used. Can you imagine going to the gas station (petrol for you guys) and after paying for the amount of gas you pumped they added on a tax for cleaning the residual gas off the pavement and for rental of the pump that metered how much gas you just bought?? That's Spain.
 

Jazz Is All

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Same in Norway.
From anywhere, EU, USA, wherever. You get a text to go to the post office and cough up 40 odd %. At least within the EU (or within the US or China) you have access to everything within a top 3 world economy.... It's not great outside the big 3.
**** I didn't realize Norway isn't in the EU. Why is that? I mean if other major Nordic countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland are in it, why isn't Norway? Hell, countries like Hungary and Poland which are nowhere as advanced and Socially conscious are in the EU. So how did that happen to your country?

The EU is really not a Country like the US however, simply member individual nations that still do their own business their way. That's why the tax rates can be so different from one to the other. The US states are like that to some extent but in terms of postal and shipping services it is all one country and the rates are the same everywhere with the only difference that you pay for distance when you want speed. In the EU, shipping between member countries is not a guaranteed service and the rates are different for national and out of country shipping. That's why Thomann su€ks. Their shipping cost for sending me a pack of reeds is 20 euros period whereas within Spain it is never even close to that. They only give you a break for items that cost more than a couple of hundred. I find that ridiculous since they send them from France which is a 2.5 hour drive from me.
 

squeak

 
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**** I didn't realize Norway isn't in the EU. Why is that? I mean if other major Nordic countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland are in it, why isn't Norway? Hell, countries like Hungary and Poland which are nowhere as advanced and Socially conscious are in the EU. So how did that happen to your country?

The EU is really not a Country like the US however, simply member individual nations that still do their own business their way. That's why the tax rates can be so different from one to the other. The US states are like that to some extent but in terms of postal and shipping services it is all one country and the rates are the same everywhere with the only difference that you pay for distance when you want speed. In the EU, shipping between member countries is not a guaranteed service and the rates are different for national and out of country shipping. That's why Thomann su€ks. Their shipping cost for sending me a pack of reeds is 20 euros period whereas within Spain it is never even close to that. They only give you a break for items that cost more than a couple of hundred. I find that ridiculous since they send them from France which is a 2.5 hour drive from me.
Sorry, but that is just plain silly. There are huge differences within the US with states with zero tax and others with substantial taxes. In NYC, there are tangible city taxes as well. In comparison, large parts of EU are more homogenous in their taxation. Also, from your past posts on SOTW, it is obvious that you are receiving some very tangible benefits from outstanding healthcare on Catalonia. This seems not to be widely known, but healthcare in France, Northern Italy and Northern Spain - Barcelona in particular - is better than in many if not most other parts of the western hemisphere. So, it may be a pain to pay a lot for shipping from outside the EU, but that is also true for Denmark, Sweden ad other countries within the EU that I am familiar with. As to why Norway hasn't joined the EU, it is hardly because they are not welcome, but likely because they can afford to be on their own. Norway used to be the poor little brother in Scandinavia. After discovering huge oil fields in their parts of the North Sea, they are practically the wealthiest nation per capita in the world and use it wisely.

In the big scheme of things, you are fortunate to live in Barcelona, even if reads are expensive and you don't like Thomann.
 
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Jazz Is All

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Sorry, but that is just plain silly. There are huge differences within the EU with states with zero tax and others with substantial taxes. In NYC, there are tangible city taxes as well. In comparison, large parts of EU are more homogenous in their taxation. Also, from your past posts on SOTW, it is obvious that you are receiving some very tangible benefits from outstanding healthcare on Catalonia. This seems not to be widely know, but healthcare in France, Northern Italy and Spain - Barcelona in particular - is better than in many if not most other parts of the western hemisphere. So, while it may be a pain to pay a lot for shipping from outside the EU, but that is also true for Denmark and Sweden. As to why Norway hasn't joined, it is hardly because they are not welcome, but likely because they can afford to be on their own. Norway used to be the poor little brother in Scandinavia. After discovering huge oil fields in their parts of the North Sea, they are practically the wealthiest nation per capital in the world and use it wisely.

In the big scheme of things, you are fortunate to live in Barcelona, even if reads are expensive and you don't like Thomann.
So by saying "that's just plain silly" were you referring to the situation of taxation in Spain or to my taking umbrage with it? I gather it is the latter and you are sort of saying that I'm biting the hand that keeps me healthier than most people elsewhere for a whole lot less too, right? If that is the case before I get to answering it let me mention that I think you made a mistake in the second sentence putting "EU" while talking about differences among the States, and it should be the USA, no?

Yes that is true. Sales taxes and other taxes, such as property taxes are much higher in California and the Northeastern States because those are all levied by the States and their localities rather than the Federal government. In Europe, or at least in Spain, the national government controls the tax rate for VAT as well as many other taxes levied on utilities and gasoline, and of course income tax and inheritance tax etc etc. However, just like in the US, the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain levy their own taxes on income and inheritance and other aspects of life and so do cities like Madrid and Barcelona, which is particularly zealous in that respect. We pay a municipal tax on just about everything beginning with a tax on driving the car in the city just as one of them.

So while life is better here from a socially progressive standpoint, as in healthcare, it is not as easy in other ways such as finding work for those over 45 or those starting out after their schooling whether high school or college. Jobs do not abound and the unemployment rate here has always been high. Many young professionals have always been forced to work in other countries both in Europe, America, or even in the far east as a result.

For the past number of years we have had a very large number of people who are known as mileueristas--people who make barely 1,000 euros a month. These are not just newcomers to the job market but many older people who are now out of work due to downsizing etc, as well as pensioners many of whom barely get that amount. So it isn't all beer and skittles here although it is cheaper to live here, even in Barcelona and Madrid...the most expensive cities....than in Paris, London, or Berlin. I was in Stockholm last year and found the prices to be comparable to Barcelona and I know that the pay scale is a lot higher but that they also pay much higher taxes too. So maybe it's a trade off. Frankly, I don't know what the tax rates are in other EU countries, but I know that there in Scandinavia and Germany too, probably, they're higher. Of course, they do get benefits for that too. For example, In Denmark I know that professional musicians are paid a salary by the government but that also carries a restriction prohibiting them from taking paid gigs outside the country.

Anyway, as far as your comment goes, perhaps my complaint sounds sort of like sour grapes, but it really isn't. I am not wealthy materially like some people on this forum and have limited funds to spend on luxuries. Yes I have much better healthcare than most Americans unless they are wealthy and that is perhaps the most important fact for my life as an old fart. Had I not moved to Spain I wouldn't be writing this because I would more than likely have been dead at least 4 years already. But being alive also requires having the means to stay afloat and Spain, for all it's joie de vivre is not a place where people live high on the hog materially.
 

squeak

 
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I gather it is the latter and you are sort of saying that I'm biting the hand that keeps me healthier than most people elsewhere for a whole lot less too, right?
Mainly that in the big scheme of things, you are better off living where you do than many of the places that might have less egregious duties and taxes on imports.
If that is the case before I get to answering it let me mention that I think you made a mistake in the second sentence putting "EU" while talking about differences among the States, and it should be the USA, no?
Yes, sorry. I was (am) tired.
it is not as easy in other ways such as finding work for those over 45 or those starting out after their schooling whether high school or college.
I know. I am not saying life is easy in Spain.
In Denmark I know that professional musicians are paid a salary by the government
Nope, aside from a very, very few state-sponsored individuals.
Had I not moved to Spain I wouldn't be writing this because I would more than likely have been dead at least 4 years already.
Spot on. This is what led me to reply to thread. Not that what you describe is reasonable or fair. However, to paraphrase a quote from my native language, the sum total of problems is constant. Better to be ripped off for reeds than essential services that all humans beings should be entitled to.
 

Phil

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France
Yes, complaining about tax is an everyday thing but at least here in Europe half of every buck isnt sent to the military. It goes back to the people in the form of services. There is also no such thing as medical bankruptcy. That, however, doesnt excuse waste, corruption, and plain stupidity. No shortage of that anywhere humans are found.

Aside from imports dont forget we pay a nice tva/sales tax of 20 percent. I think food is 5 or 10...cant recall...I know restaurants are 10. Im not sure about groceries.
 

6441

 
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6,309
I believe there is a limit under which you are not taxed. I think that was about 100€. Looking at the customs website, it says the tax "threshold value" is 45€ for individuals. This may vary according to the product itself, and yes, if it's for resale it will likely be taxed. The other important thing is commercial samples. This is declared at the US post office on the form. We were doing a favor for someone who sent us a package of commercial samples of a product to hold for them. We had to pay 70€ import tax because she didn't properly decalre them. Do you know that companies in the USA used to send empty boxes out of state to help customers evade sales tax? Big names like Bulgari were caught and convicted of this scheme, common in expensive items like jewelry and fur coats. Pity saxophone stores w-can't this for us, eh?
 

mizmar

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I didn't realize Norway isn't in the EU. ... So how did that happen to your country?
It's not my country, I'm a brit. But I live in Norway, pay eye watering tax, suffer a slow delivery system (my latest purchase, see "Flute's", took over a month 40% tax). The only difference is as it's my choice, I accept that. As to why it's not in the EU is as long and complicated story as any and I'm sure there's bookfeet of literature about it.

...have limited funds to spend on luxuries...
But some. More than a lot of others. Which you spent on something you didn't actually need, a luxury. Knowing before hand the taxation situation... that's life.
 
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squeak

 
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478
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St. Mungo's
Yes, complaining about tax is an everyday thing but at least here in Europe half of every buck isnt sent to the military. It goes back to the people in the form of services. There is also no such thing as medical bankruptcy. That, however, doesnt excuse waste, corruption, and plain stupidity. No shortage of that anywhere humans are found.

Aside from imports dont forget we pay a nice tva/sales tax of 20 percent. I think food is 5 or 10...cant recall...I know restaurants are 10. Im not sure about groceries.
Yes, you are right, but in Scandinavia, which is what I am most familiar with, those high taxes are used to a significant extent for healthcare, education, elderly care, public transportation, etc. I pay a lot of taxes where I live in the US (not really by choice btw) and get school for my kid, but almost nothing else. I have no plans to stay when I grow older.

Granted, this is the cynical bastard in me, but it seems like a fraction of mankind enjoy taking advantage of others. I would rather have them busying themselves with preying on things less vital than healthcare and education. The latter btw also kills art. It makes it virtually impossible to be an aspiring musician and raise a family, because as a responsible individual, you cannot afford not having healthcare and where I live it is mandatory. It becomes a stranglehold on creativity and in the long run also on business. I expect your own work falls into this category until you have sufficient success and a customer base with critical mass.
 

mizmar

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Trondheim, Norway
American taxes crack me up sometimes... When you checkout of a hotel to find the list of taxes is longer than the itemised minibar and porn purchases.
To anyone from St. Louis, you are welcome to my forced contribution to the construction of your baseball stadium.
 
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Phil

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France
Squeak, that is a big part of why I am here. In the US I could stay home and work but my wife worked for insurance...pretty common in the US. We are not wealthy but I can support both of us here. Yes the taxes are high but not when you consider being self employed in the States AND paying about 18,000 a year for 2 decent but not amazing insurance policies the taxes start looking more palatable.

i cant say its easier or not to make a living in Europe as a musician (covid aside). I can tell you that the standard of living in terms of material goods is lower through much of the European population. The flip side is there is less focus on attaining “Stuff”. You find a lower percentage of the population that shop for a hobby. The supply of material goods is thinner as is the disposable income to accumulate them.

That is neither good or bad. It depends on your perspective. Just dont expect find US living habits overlaying a more favorable economic system.
 
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squeak

 
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I can tell you that the standard of living in terms of material goods is lower through much of the European population.
I have lived half of my life on either side of the pond, so am well familiar with both. Not sure how true this statement is. 50% of Americans are in personal dept. So whether they have physical belongs doesn't really matter. Other segments are a few paychecks a way from being homeless or destitute. At the other end of the spectrum, ultra extreme wealth is less common in Europe, but there is no shortage of really wealthy people in major parts of Europe. You may simply not have lived there long enough to spot it, as it is much less common to flash. Also, comparisons are hard to make. Housing, for instance, is mostly paper-mache style in New England where I presently live, whereas similar climates in Europe have buildings to last centuries (in the absence of wars).

I will bow out here and should never have gotten involved in this thread. It just seemed to me that the OP was really bothered by something that looking through different lenses might not be such a big deal. The intent was constructive, believe it or not.
 
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