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Importing Thoughts...



Gasquolet

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I've not long been a member of FPN and not posted a lot but I have been busy in one respect:

I've been buying things...

 

In the last few months I started buying pens again; I bought my Pilot Capless and then shortly afterwards a Platinum #3776 Century SF on the strength of reviews and having a strong appreciation of my old pocket size Platinum. I then bought another #3776 as a present for my Mum and most recently a Pilot Custom 823 for myself as a sort of Birthday present (do I need to use these excuses here?)

 

Along the way I was reminded about VAT and import duty. Mainly because I had not fallen foul of this with the earlier purchases, including several during the last few years unrelated to fountain pens including some from the USA, I was disappointed but not surprised when the Pilot was stopped and a demand for VAT appeared on my door step instead.

 

Since this happened I have had two more packages stopped for VAT payments too, the only others delivered to date. Then today, another one. This time I thought it had gone too far and was going to challenge it but having read up on the HMRC website, it is correct.

 

About 3 weeks ago I found that Iroshizuku ink was much cheaper on Amazon from Japanese retailers than if bought locally. I decided to buy some and made a mistake. On thinking it was such good value that I could afford to buy two bottles (at £13 each including delivery from the same seller), I put myself over the VAT free threshold of £15. So I now have a bill for £12 to pay the post office... :gaah:

Word of advice; only buy one bottle of Ink from Japan at a time if you can get it for under £15.

 

Does anyone know if HMRC marks specific addresses as worthy of special attention ? I've never tried to evade VAT and rarely buy high value items but though I have bought from outside the EU a few times/ year for years it's only been since getting several pens from Japan in the last 3 months that suddenly every package to me at the same address has been intercepted.

 

On another note, I am really enjoying using the current line up of pens, having banished ballpoints to emergency use only.

:)

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tax,shipping and handling are really what I can say country dependent you have to read up your Custom's code if you wish to understand what items will be intercepted and why, a lot of people argue has something to do with corruption while possibly be true there's also the legal threshold customs can do to packages... worst case scenario you end up with a broken pen caused by a customs inspection (trust me its not a pretty thing, say like an omas or visconti celluloid nitrate pen thats been drilled through the box and end up igniting the pen).

so first thing to do talk to fellow pen importers in your locality

of course perhaps members from your country can also give you an advise

next would be check your country's tariff and minimum declaration value code, there's also check for tax region exemptions and if they fall under all these categories

there's also probably your country's economical situation and customs "seasons"

these are the things I would come up with from top of my head considering my country's customs has never been clean

Edited by Algester
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I agree, best to go into buying from abroad with your eyes open and expect to pay the additional amount that your local taxes dictate. You'll be lucky if you avoid paying duty/ tax occasionally so consider that an exception rather than expecting it.

For clarity I thought I'd summarise what I now understand though I'm sure this has been covered before. In the UK:

 

VAT at 20% of the marked value is payable on all purchases from outside the European Union above £15. In addition, gift goods above £135 are also subject to import duty unless the resulting duty is less than £9 in which case it is waived. This is variable depending on the item but the rate is set at 3.7% for writing instruments. According to a quick calculation this means that any pen over £244 will also have import duty levied after VAT.

 

The real sting comes from the additional charge from the Post Office or Parcelforce etc that can easily outweigh the VAT due on the goods, this is to 'cover their costs' as thay actually pay the duty and recover the cost from the importer but this varies from £8 to £13.50 in my recent experience.

 

Okay... :rolleyes: Back to looking forward to some new inks in a few days.

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Here in Denmark, I really have the impression that they tax everything from outside the EU, shipping costs included, with 50%. I don't understand how normal people will lower themselves to perform such crude and immoral acts just to get a pay check. You never hear people say "Hi, I'm a tax guy" at social gatherings - I guess they make up some cover story to tell at parties. And to tax bare life necessities like ink, that is just pure evil. It almost makes me cry :( :crybaby:

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VAT at 20% of the marked value is payable on all purchases from outside the European Union above £15.

 

I have a nasty feeling they include the cost of the shipping in that "value" too. Whatever, I always seem to get hit if I go over it; I conclude the Revenoo are exacting revenge for Cornish smuggling activities of yore...

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In the EU they tax also the shipping. I have the same feeling lately about customs. I have now a package sent by EMS that is taking forever to process by the post (gone the Express shipping idea) and I'm sure I'll be paying VAT (24% in Romania). I just hope the pens will not be damaged. :unsure:

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I have a nasty feeling they include the cost of the shipping in that "value" too.

Yes, that's right. VAT (where applicable) is applied to the total value of the import. That means the cost of the goods plus the cost of getting them here.

 

Try this website: http://www.dutycalculator.com/. Plug your figures in and go.

 

HTH,

 

Martin

 

PS: make sure the vendor fills in the CN23 form properly, otherwise it's tax evasion.

 

PPS: if we each had a pound for every thread on this subject on FPN we'd probably all have enough for a grail pen...

The Writing Desk

Fountain Pen Specialists since 2000

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Sorry, should have said; VAT is payable on the total goods value, any packaging/ handling charges already applied at the country of source and also on any customs duty that is levied at this end too!

 

The value of the package has to be stated on the customs slip filled in by the sender. If this is not stated or is believed to be incorrect then UK customs can open the package and inspect the contents to ascertain a value for themselves- which may be based on the UK market value of the item unless documentary proof to the contrary can be provided and is accepted.

 

PPS: if we each had a pound for every thread on this subject on FPN we'd probably all have enough for a grail pen...

 

Yes. Sorry for starting another one... I did read a bit about this a while ago here but it was the ink delivery being hit and having to pay extra that could legitimately have been avoided; not so much £4.00 VAT but the additional £8 handling charge that I thought others should know about.

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It is painful to hear that the people in EU get taxed so heavily on imports.

 

From my experience within Canada, if the item is new and it is shipped via a courier service like FedEx/UPS, it will be taxed the provincial tax every time plus a handling surcharge. If the same item is shipped with the regular local mail service like Japan Post/USPS that is delivered by Canada Post, it may or may not be taxed. In the past several years, I've only been taxed once on an used MB fountain pen among other items because the sender didn't make note it was used :headsmack:.

 

Bottom line for me, I expect to pay the tax every time I import new items and am very pleased when I don't have to.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing"-Socrates

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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well in my country we get taxed with the shipping so its just wise to count everything with the shipping + tariff (item dependent ideally for pens its 0% but it can go to 5%) + VAT (12%) + postal fee which is weird cause we get it from the customs depot...

Edited by Algester
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I was about to buy a pen from Japan ($56,00 + shipping $15,00 = US$71,00), but then I was a bit worried about customs. I don't mind paying duties and VAT, but if I don't have to it's off course better. So I made some calculation on this very pen.

 

$71,00 + 3,7% duty = US$73,63

$73,63 + 25% Swedish VAT = US$92,04 -> SEK ~773,00

Usually the customs agent charges SEK 200,00 for their paperwork. Which lead us to a total amount of SEK 973,00.

 

I then by accident found the pen (which I didn't think was sold in Sweden) at a Swedish webshop for SEK 950,00 incl shipping, and delivery within a couple of days.

 

For this very pen I think I will buy it localy and avoid all possible extra hustle, even though if the pen would have passed through customs unnoticed I would have saved US$42,00.

Also, it feel good to support the few local retailers of fountain pens we have in Sweden.

YNWA - JFT97

 

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