VAT from EU to USA

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captaincaed

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Hey all,
I'm looking to buy something from the EU for import to the USA - should I be responsible for that VAT going in that direction? My understanding so far was the VAT usually applies for thing going into and within the EU, but not going outside.

Anyway, thanks for the help from the international shipping pros!
 

captaincaed

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Thanks both! From my cursory reading, it's possible to pay an import duty coming into the US, with items held at a local post office. No big deal. Sounds like it's also uncommon for goods under $800?
 

WildBoar

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If you get hit with import taxes the package usually halts at Customs until the shipper (or you) pay the import taxes. Once that is done shipping resumes.

Between knives and watches I have had well over a dozen packages shipped to me from EU, Asia and Australia. Only one was stopped and required paying the import duty -- and that one was a pretty large box.
 

daveb

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No taxes, fees or duty into US. (Pls don't share this with the polies or they'll realize another way to suck dollars from us) I've ordered from Maxim and he prices Vat / Non Vat accordingly. Cleancut once charged me VAT but refunded it after a quick email. Even on rare occasions I've gone over $800, I've not incurred any fees.
 

captaincaed

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Tapping @Jovidah
I asked the seller, in the Netherlands, about VAT, and he doubled down that he still needs to pay it:

”I have a small business, so I have to pay VAT in the Netherlands when selling something. This is not about US or anywhere else, it is just a European rule that also applies to exporting something to a non EU country. Sorry about that.”

If this is something particular to the Netherlands, cool, I don’t want to be rude. I should also probably just suck it up and pay. All the Euros are playing the world’s smallest violin for the American who has to pay VAT once in his miserable life.
 

MarcelNL

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Tapping @Jovidah
I asked the seller, in the Netherlands, about VAT, and he doubled down that he still needs to pay it:

”I have a small business, so I have to pay VAT in the Netherlands when selling something. This is not about US or anywhere else, it is just a European rule that also applies to exporting something to a non EU country. Sorry about that.”

If this is something particular to the Netherlands, cool, I don’t want to be rude. I should also probably just suck it up and pay. All the Euros are playing the world’s smallest violin for the American who has to pay VAT once in his miserable life.

that absolutely is utter nonsense, send him THIS:


basically the same info now in English;

 
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Delat

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Just in the last month I’ve had knives shipped from the UK and Sweden with no VAT charged. These were all automated web store fronts - they seem to automatically recognize the US address and skip VAT.
 
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MarcelNL

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Just in the last month I’ve had knives shipped from the UK and Sweden with no VAT charged. These were all automated web store fronts - they seem to automatically recognize the US address and skip VAT.
please note that the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Businesses with newer, fancier automation may have got this covered...as a small business a manual process is more likely how this VAT on export is handled but the rules are the same....no VAT on export outside EU.
 

Delat

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please note that the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Businesses with newer, fancier automation may have got this covered...as a small business a manual process is more likely how this VAT on export is handled but the rules are the same....no VAT on export outside EU.

Oh right, they’re having all sorts of fun with brexit. Presumably the UK has some sort of UK-specific version of a VAT now.

I think the small maker in NL will have to figure it out eventually if he wants to sell to the US market. I bet he hates the business aspect and would rather be banging on hot steel though. All sorts of awesome blacksmiths in Europe I want to try, but would probably skip over any incorrectly charging VAT (and circle back later once they figure it out) because there’s just so many to choose from.
 

MarcelNL

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The UK for sure has VAT, and their own rules on import-export (suspect their export VAT rules are the same as for the EU)

You do not need to worry about VAT when ordering from a blacksmith within the EEU, as for all countries within the EEU the rules are identical and clear (see the info in the URLs I posted)...and simple; you do not pay VAT.
 

Jovidah

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I'm inclined to agree with Marcel but in all honesty I have 0 experience on the matter so I cannot tell you anything sensible. The links Marcel conjured up are pretty much the horse's mouth you'd look for in these matters (KvK = chamber of commerce).
 

JayS20

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He probably doesn't want to deal with the paper work or simply has no clue how to declare it at the end of the year. So for him it's easier to sell with VAT included.
But there are also exceptions. If you are a small maker and don't go over a certain threshold you don't pay VAT on the items but still have to pay a small sum to government depending what you do. In this case Europeans and international buyers will pay the same price + shipping.
 

MarcelNL

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the paperwork is not THAT hard to deal with. I've been doing intracommunitarian declarations for some years and those are pretty simple too (that is what is used to transfer VAT responsability in B2B within the EU).
All a matter or investing an hour or two to read up and try.

In the NL a small business with under 20Keuro a year in business can forego VAT, but that means you're a really small maker/business.
 
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captaincaed

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@MarcelNL huge thanks. My Google-Fu was weak, I feel like I should have found that, but just did not have the right search terms.

Now I just have to decide if it’s worth making an issue, whether I just shell out a few extra bucks, or walk away…
 

sansho

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you only asked about VAT (the answer is no, you don't pay that), but if you're curious about other potential taxes along the way...

there are basically two kinds of taxes:
  • one is import tax via us customs. you pay this if and when your package gets inspected. you have to pay this to get your shipment cleared through customs. if it's inspected, you also have to pay an MPF(0.3464% or $27.75 (whichever is greater); but capped at $538.40). and typically a convenience fee to the courier for facilitating the payment (~$15).
    • 800usd is the de minimis. declared value below this is not subject to tax. such shipments are also almost never inspected.
    • if declared above 800usd, it may or may not be subject to tax depending on what's in the shipment.
      • the authoritative reference is here. you need to study the HTS and look up the appropriate code. and possibly study past rulings for clarification ;)
      • from what i can tell, most knives people talk about here fall under HTS 8211.92.9030.
        • this means knives from most countries declared over 800usd are subject to 0.4¢ + 6.1% import tax.
      • interestingly, it seems that if you have an expensive knife, you might do better to have it sent without a handle and declare it as a blade for a fixed-blade knife (HTS 8211.94.1000). the rate for this code is only 0.16¢ + 2.2%.
  • the other is state tax. by now, many states have implemented a 'use tax' (or similar) to address online shopping. basically, if you didn't pay your state's sales tax and bring something into your state for use (either from another state or internationally), they want to hit you with that. most people don't pay this, lol. but if it gets reported or you get irs audited, it is often discovered for larger value shipments. google if your state has a tax like this. afaik, you don't pay this to get it cleared through customs. you're supposed to be a good boy and take care of it on your own.
 
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