Customs taxes for imports from USA?

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valdim

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Hi there. I have a question for the fellows from EU. How do you instruct your seller from US to arrange the invoice for a purchase - do you request a low invoice amount (less than 15 euro) or you go ahead with the real value, in order to take advantage of the insurance.
A seller from US suggested me to describe the goods as "kitchen tools", and he says that would "help with customs", while keeping the real amount...I dont know how a discription "kitchen tools" would help avoid/reduce EU customs taxes and then VAT....
I asked him to decalre it as "gift", but he suggested the above...
What is your experience, (EU) guys? US guys welcome to comment, too.
Thnks!
 

Beau Nidle

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Every country will have different rules. It may be that for some, 'kitchen tools' are VAT exempt, and therefore exempt from import duties. Check your countries list of VAT exempt products. Here in the UK knives are subject to VAT, so the only option would be the declaring of a lower value. Gifts too may still be subject to VAT and import duties, although to a higher value. Again, here in the UK it's something like anything under £15 comes in without having to pay VAT or duty, if it's marked as a gift then you're allowed up to £35 without VAT or duty.

I guess it depends on the value and how upset you'd be if it disappeared or was broken in transit. I usually just get the insurance if it's something expensive.
 

valdim

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Every country will have different rules.
Come on, UK is still in the common market. Rules are the same in UK and Bulgaria.
Anyway, thanks for the opinion. I guess for a 200+$ knife I should get the insurance.
I just wonder how it may disappear since the parcel is trackable?!?
 

banzai_burrito

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Not sure if this helps, but when I was crazy about watches, some EU sellers labeled them as horological instrument instead of just saying "watch"
 

Beau Nidle

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Come on, UK is still in the common market. Rules are the same in UK and Bulgaria.
Anyway, thanks for the opinion. I guess for a 200+$ knife I should get the insurance.
I just wonder how it may disappear since the parcel is trackable?!?
What I meant was that Bulgaria may have different products that are VAT exempt. You should check for yourself, I can only speak for what I know in the UK.

Parcels disappearing...well, it's rare, but it's happened to me once. It was tracked as far as as depot, where it simply disappeared. I got my money back through insurance, but I still wonder what happened. Was the label ripped off leaving an anonymous brown box? Or did someone just walk off with it?
 

valdim

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Not sure if this helps, but when I was crazy about watches, some EU sellers labeled them as horological instrument instead of just saying "watch"
We are talking about moving of goods in the other direction - from US to EU. Besides, I guess, you have imported them from Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, unlike Germany for ex.
 

IsoJ

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In Finland(at least in my experience) almost every package stops at the custom. If it is a gift or under VAT value, the customs ask always for a document to be seen for this. If over VAT value, you do customs declaration, and custom usually accept it without any documents need to Be shown at the moment.(they do random checking now and then and could ask the documents to be shown later if they choose to). I have maybe received 2 out of 40-50 package from the USA that havent stopped at the customs...The VAT, postage and custom fees makes many knives quite expensive...Unless you are willing to play a little gamble with the insurance/value, which I don't think is a good idea...
 

Carl Kotte

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Nothing I’ve bought outside the EU has avoided customs and VAT. It doesn’t matter what the items are called. I think Sweden might be an extreme case. So you @valdim should definitely check what specific rules hold in Bulgaria!
If the item you’re interested in can be found within the EU, it’s often preferable to buy it within EU if you want to keep costs down.
 

RDalman

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Just want to add also it might be good to be aware of, that asking someone to falsify documents you're asking them to break their local laws.
 

Famima

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If it's a private sale between individuals, then "Gift" is the correct entry on the customs form and you don't need to raise a commercial invoice. As others have noted, this doesn't exempt you from VAT and customs duty, but it does raise the threshold on which it's charged, at least in the UK (and I know this threshold varies in the EU).

I never ask sellers to mis-state the value and this is hard to do if you have insurance anyway. However I have noticed some commercial sellers have a habit of declaring any knife sent (irrespective of value and insurance applied) as a low amount , eg. USD15....
 

RolfK

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Same here in the Netherlands. I usually calculate about +30% of the price when importing outside the EU (VAT tax+ imports tax). So it's not many times worth buying things far away...
To prevent these taxes we have to lower the value to about €20. That's a risk with this kind of low insurance. And like Robin said, the buyer and seller are breaking laws.

Anyway the best japanese knives are made in the EU, right? Problem solved ;)
 

valdim

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If it is a gift or under VAT value, the customs ask always for a document to be seen for this.
What kind of document the customs ask?
So you @valdim should definitely check what specific rules hold in Bulgaria!
I would definitely do that, Carl. Thanks for the advise.
Anyway the best japanese knives are made in the EU
Well...that's a surprising statement.
 

IsoJ

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What kind of document the customs ask?

The sender/receiver to provide some kind of proof he/she is a friends/family etc. In Finland if the sender is a company/vendor the custom is pretty strict and usually dont aprove the gift. But I can only speak for myself and what the customs have said to me. Finnish customs suck real hard...But I do believe that it depends on the country etc, so I would first check from the customs before making any decisions.
 

JayS20

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It really sucks. There are a lot of knives which you can't get in the EU and like in the Netherlands, in Germany you have to pay an additional around 30%. It's a gamble to declare it differently but might pay off. Usually my stuff gets rightly declared coming from the US/NA and they still open it and put the top of the knife box on it wrong after that, ****ers.
From Japan I had quite some things go through Customs without having to pay anything though. I once ordered a stone from Japan and they declared it kitchen utensils and 19,99€, so also didn't have to pay anything..
 

pozz85

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difficult to get away from taxes, i'm in Italy and tax and duty is a big problem...
and yes It's a gamble to declare it differently...
and it's would be outlawed declare wrong item's.
it's not easy i'm in the same situation and yes you calculate 30% more out EU on total price.
 

pozz85

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and another things, i bought one mazaki 1 month ago from CarbonKnife shipped trough DHL and other the tax and duty 30% i pay another 30euro for the issue of the Health Clearance by the Ministry of Health, by the USMAF (Offices of Maritime, Air and Border Health).
i make a declaration to DHL enclose the invoice and a copy of my identity card
 

RolfK

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From Japan I had quite some things go through Customs without having to pay anything though.
For some reason my parcels from Japan also aren't noticed by customs (until now..). And they arrive very fast - like two days. It's strange, but I'm happy.
 

valdim

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For some reason my parcels from Japan also aren't noticed by customs (until now..). And they arrive very fast - like two days. It's strange, but I'm happy.
Yes, Japan is a different story...I guess this is because Abe is more sympathic to EU customs than Mr. President...:p
 

pozz85

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And be careful purchase to Switzwerland ( for EU guys) because it's little bit different them other EU countries
Switzerland it's outside EU and have different policies then the other EU countries
above 300 euro you have to pay tax and duty
 

Famima

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Japan also has a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, so generally only VAT applies, not additional customs duties. I've had a number of items delivered via Japan Post SAL in the past few months - all have been fast.
 
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