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  1. Whenever I order from UK, like Cult Pens, I have to pay a ton of duties, around 40-60% in fact on my recent order I paid more than 50% taxes ? [both on DHL courier and normal post, so its not a local post corruption issue]. But when I order from the US [FedEx courier], or other parts of Asian continents like Japan, Singapore I hardly have to pay customs even for an Expensive item ? Can anyone please explain what is going on here ? I was not able to find any clue online ? Thanks and Regards, GS Gill
  2. PatientType

    Ahhh ... Vats What It Is!

    Several times I've marveled at how fountain pen pricing seems to be so much higher when members in Europe offer pens for sale. I've seen used fountain pens that I could purchase in the US for $250 offered at more than $300. What I'd not realized is the huge difference that VAT makes. The Value Added Tax is imposed in Europe, China, & India. It is supposed to be their version of the sales taxes imposed in the United States. There appear to be two major differences between our sales tax and VAT taxes: 1) VAT taxes are incrementally collected for every value-added transaction. So, if I buy wood, a VAT would be paid on the value of the wood. If I make the wood into furniture and sell it to a retail outlet, a VAT would be paid on the difference betweent he value of the wood and what I sold the furniture for. Then, if the retail store sells the furniture, they charge a VAT on the difference between what they bought the furniture for and what the consumer paid to buy it. 2) VAT taxes are really high. Sales tax in the US ranges from zero in Montana, Delaware, Oregon & New Hampshire to 9.75% in Oakland, Los Angeles & Long Beach California. Also, Internet purchases often do not incur the tax or rely on citizens to voluntarily report such taxes (resulting in a compliance rate of less than 1%). A Wikilinks article lists the following VAT fees by country: Germany 19% Hungary 27% Spain 21% UK 20% Sweden 25% Greece 24% Finland 23% France 19.6% Bottom line... If you're buying a fountain pen from someone is Sweden, they paid more than 25% more for the pen than you might have had you bought it new. As a result, they're likely to expect to receive more for their used pen than you might. I've known there were such things as VATs but not the specifics. I thought others might find this as interesting as I did.

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