Monday, November 07, 2011

Import Duties on Taxable Goods

Thinking of buying something from abroad? There's a good chance you won't be charged any import duties if it's a small item, but if the value is declared and the object isn't a gift, be prepared to shell out some cash for the privilege.

Here's the smallprint of the customs duty arrangement, but the key point is this:
In 2007, the average applied rate for all goods is 1.8 percent. Specifically, 10.1 percent for agricultural products, 4.6 percent for fish and fish products, and 1.7 percent for wood, pulp, paper and furniture.
Also, some things (such as watersports equipment properly labelled as such) don't have to pay fees. A full list of what does and doesn't require payment is available here (current as of 2011). When I say full, I mean it. Everything from ash to spacecraft.

But anyway, if you've bought something small from eBay you won't have much to worry about. Even if you get charged it will be a pretty small amount. I recently spent 150,000 on diving products from America, and was charged 3,200yen on arrival. Not a bad percentage, despite the fact that it should have been free according to the website.

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan Higgins7 November 2011 at 13:51

    It's still very much hit or miss. The method of delivery DOES seem to matter though. Over 16 years I've paid import taxes on items sent via FEDEX and other courier delivery companies about 80% of the time. For items delivered by the Post Office I would say the figure is closer to 30%. The amount to which the contents are insured plays a big part in this. Shoes and leather goods often seem to get hit hard. One method to get around this I've found is to buy other items at the same time.

    Unfortunately this is something you'll only know about for sure on the day of delivery - by which time it's too late to do anything about it. Forget about arguing with the mail courier. Also note that FEDEX will often bill you for taxes after the delivery. Ignoring the bills doesn't work!!! Nor does ignoring the letters from their debt collection agents!!!! Nor does changing address!!!! (The ignorance of my youth.)