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Has CultPens started collecting Taxes from US customers?



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47 minutes ago, Paul-in-SF said:

Not unless you have a time machine. 

 

(i.e. aren't they already doing this? Have I been whooshed?)


The last time I did an overseas order on eBay (more than a year ago), there was a second charge on my Paypal account for salestax.  In other words eBay collected the sales tax, but the shop did not.  But this is a quickly evolving space.  There's no reason my experience is representative of how it works today.  Or how it works today being representative of how it will work tomorrow.

 

I've never ordered from CultPens so can offer any anecdotes one way or the other.  I now make it a practice to verify that I'm paying sales tax no more than once.  If CultPens collects then fine, but make sure nobody else collects it again.  I have never actually been burned, but I worry that there are so many layers involved, and things changing so quickly, that it's probably easy for bugs to be in the system and go unnoticed.

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ParramattaPaul
1 hour ago, Paul-in-SF said:

Not unless you have a time machine. 

 

(i.e. aren't they already doing this? Have I been whooshed?)

If they have, I've missed something.  But then, I very rarely shop on e-Bay.

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ParramattaPaul
58 minutes ago, samasry said:

Perhaps @ParramattaPaul  did not use the bay in the past  couple of years.

 In actual fact, that is true.  I haven't use it since I've spent most of the past two and a half

 years in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.

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samasry
3 minutes ago, ParramattaPaul said:

 In actual fact, that is true.  I haven't use it since I've spent most of the past two and a half

 years in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.

 

As a cancer survivor myself, I know what you mean. 

Best wishes  my friend for a full recovery. Take good care.

 

 

 

 

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ParramattaPaul
3 minutes ago, samasry said:

 

As a cancer survivor myself, I know what you mean. 

Best wishes  my friend for a full recovery. Take good care.

 

 

 

 

Thank you.  It's been a journey.  Thank heaven for the internet and groups like this to take me to a different place mentally.

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Paul-in-SF
7 hours ago, XYZZY said:

there are so many layers involved, and things changing so quickly, that it's probably easy for bugs to be in the system and go unnoticed.

Or easy to be exploited. Your verifying is probably a good idea. 

 

For what it's worth, I've never had a separate charge for sales tax on eBay on overseas transactions, the tax always shows in Order Details. My most recent order from Europe was in May of this year, and going back to 2019. 

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A Smug Dill
13 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

That notice is, I think, a little disingenuous. I've never had to pay import duties on anything I've bought overseas,

 

That notice is for everyone who orders from Cult Pens, not just you or Americans. If I'm not mistaken, even for US residents there is a threshold for import by international post (over US$800, which is not that high when premium fountain pens are easily several hundred dollars apiece) past which import taxes may be assessed. The key question, and I haven't tested it myself, is whether buying US$2500 worth of products sent in a single consignment would result in additional taxes having to be paid “at the border” to local Customs authorities for release.

 

Australians have had almost three years to gnash their teeth over having to pay 10% GST at the point of transaction on ‘low-value imports’ under A$1000, which caused Amazon.com to refuse orders for delivery to Australia for over a year, and the company still does on all of its international sites (bar Amazon.com and Amazon.com.au). But not many are aware of the pain that may await if they order more than A$1000 of goods at once from an online retailer overseas, where the usual (and supposed) procedure is not simply for the retailer to add 10% in tax and then send it on to the Australian Government.

 

I wonder if Cult Pens's implementation has dealt with that type of situation, either for Australian customers or American customers; or customers in the EU, for that matter.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Paul-in-SF
5 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

That notice is for everyone who orders from Cult Pens, not just you or Americans.

The notice posted by CupTea does appear to be specifically directed at the US, based on the headline "We Ship to the United States" and the link at the bottom where it invites you to change your shipping country, if you are not in the US. In between, it says "To help make it easy to shop from the United States, you can: ... Pay import duties and taxes in the checkout..." (among other listed items). 

 

I tried to test it by changing my shipping country to Australia, but I could not get it to pop up the notice again. 

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A Smug Dill
3 minutes ago, Paul-in-SF said:

The notice posted by CupTea does appear to be specifically directed at the US, based on the headline "We Ship to the United States"

 

That part is based on the apparent geographic region of the IP address of the request. I've used many different VPN exit nodes all over the place, and the language used and location in the “We Ship to …” statement in the pop-up change to match the region if there is no cookie set in the browser from previous sessions (or if the visitor has already signed in to his/her Cult Pens customer account), but the wording is effectively the same irrespective of the origin of the web site's visitor.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Paul-in-SF
2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

That part is based on the apparent geographic region of the IP address of the request. I've used many different VPN exit nodes all over the place, and the language used and location in the “We Ship to …” statement in the pop-up change to match the region if there is no cookie set in the browser from previous sessions (or if the visitor has already signed in to his/her Cult Pens customer account), but the wording is effectively the same irrespective of the origin of the web site's visitor.

 

So apparently that part of the notice is, in effect, boilerplate, designed to be presented to locations for which some parts of it may not apply. Which is the case for the US. Hence, my original remark about it being slightly (not seriously) disingenuous. I still think that is true, if perhaps not worth arguing about. 

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12 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

That notice is for everyone who orders from Cult Pens, not just you or Americans. If I'm not mistaken, even for US residents there is a threshold for import by international post (over US$800, which is not that high when premium fountain pens are easily several hundred dollars apiece) past which import taxes may be assessed. The key question, and I haven't tested it myself, is whether buying US$2500 worth of products sent in a single consignment would result in additional taxes having to be paid “at the border” to local Customs authorities for release.

 

Australians have had almost three years to gnash their teeth over having to pay 10% GST at the point of transaction on ‘low-value imports’ under A$1000, which caused Amazon.com to refuse orders for delivery to Australia for over a year, and the company still does on all of its international sites (bar Amazon.com and Amazon.com.au). But not many are aware of the pain that may await if they order more than A$1000 of goods at once from an online retailer overseas, where the usual (and supposed) procedure is not simply for the retailer to add 10% in tax and then send it on to the Australian Government.

 

I wonder if Cult Pens's implementation has dealt with that type of situation, either for Australian customers or American customers; or customers in the EU, for that matter.

 

To be honest, I assumed we were talking about sales tax, not import duties.  But re-reading the OP it's not clear to me any more. 🤦‍♂️

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A Smug Dill
5 minutes ago, XYZZY said:

To be honest, I assumed we were talking about sales tax, not import duties.  But re-reading the OP it's not clear to me any more.

 

I'm not familiar enough with how it works in the US, especially when there does not appear to be a single consistent tax regime across the contiguous 48 States.

 

For Australia, now UK, and I believe going forward in the EU shortly, governments are offloading the responsibility for consumption tax (call it GST, VAT MwSt, sales tax, whatever makes the most sense to you) - where applicable of course, and that may well be threshold triggered - to the likes of eBay, AliExpress, independent retailers, even international couriers and forwarding shippers. So I don't think there is anything wrong with Cult Pens's notice, unless the objection is that the company is actually taking money for consumption tax when there is no actual tax liability (as opposed to there being a 'loophole' where applicable tax law does not grant an exemption from consumption tax on imports but official policy is not to collect small amounts, which was the case here in Australia from 2000 to 2018, if I'm not mistaken).

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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samasry
50 minutes ago, XYZZY said:

 

To be honest, I assumed we were talking about sales tax, not import duties.  But re-reading the OP it's not clear to me any more. 🤦‍♂️

 

At the time of the initial post, I had no idea what  that charge was.

 

I have later made an order with CultPens, and just before you  finalize the order, at the bottom of the page where they charge you  the Taxes,  they  give a solemn promise that this would be the final payment for you and that there will not be another entity, sale tax collector, customs collection that is added on top of this charge.

 

My order only warranted a  California Sales Tax. Had my order required  import custom duties; according to CultPens, it would have been charged  during this check out process.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

I'm not familiar enough with how it works in the US, especially when there does not appear to be a single consistent tax regime across the contiguous 48 States.

 

It's profoundly more complicated.

 

The import duty is collected by the federal government when we import into the country.  I'm not sure if that applies to only the 50 states, or if it applies to non-state territories as well.  This is what customs officers enforce.

 

Sales tax is imposed by some (not all) states.  But frequently states with sales tax will also allow local municipalities to collect their own sales tax as well.  For example, in the suburb that I live in the sales tax is 10.2%.  6.5% is to the state of Washington, 3.7% is to the city of Kirkland.  As a consumer I just see a single sales tax on the bottom of the receipt.  The state publishes sales tax charts by quarter, so I assume, but don't know for sure, that this means it could change that frequently.  And to be clear: that's a state thing: nobody in D.C. has any say in that process.

 

If in a brick and mortar store the sales tax rate is based on the location of the store.  For online/mailorder purchases it is based on delivery address.  To make it more fun, the "ZIP code" from the post office that is used for shipping does not correspond to city boundaries, so to know my sales tax rate you have to actually look me up by full address, not just the ZIP code. 

 

This all, unfortunately, has a side effect of encouraging small businesses to want to use a mega-corporation to deal with this.  E.g. be a shop on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, etc.

 

The only states I have ever lived in for more than a year are Washington and Texas, so I would expect the other states to have additional wrinkles that I left out.

 

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Mysterious Mose
26 minutes ago, XYZZY said:

 

It's profoundly more complicated.

 

The import duty is collected by the federal government when we import into the country.  I'm not sure if that applies to only the 50 states, or if it applies to non-state territories as well.  This is what customs officers enforce.

 

Sales tax is imposed by some (not all) states.  But frequently states with sales tax will also allow local municipalities to collect their own sales tax as well.  For example, in the suburb that I live in the sales tax is 10.2%.  6.5% is to the state of Washington, 3.7% is to the city of Kirkland.  As a consumer I just see a single sales tax on the bottom of the receipt.  The state publishes sales tax charts by quarter, so I assume, but don't know for sure, that this means it could change that frequently.  And to be clear: that's a state thing: nobody in D.C. has any say in that process.

 

If in a brick and mortar store the sales tax rate is based on the location of the store.  For online/mailorder purchases it is based on delivery address.  To make it more fun, the "ZIP code" from the post office that is used for shipping does not correspond to city boundaries, so to know my sales tax rate you have to actually look me up by full address, not just the ZIP code. 

 

This all, unfortunately, has a side effect of encouraging small businesses to want to use a mega-corporation to deal with this.  E.g. be a shop on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, etc.

 

The only states I have ever lived in for more than a year are Washington and Texas, so I would expect the other states to have additional wrinkles that I left out.

 

I confirm what XYZZY said.

 

 

In the United States, the federal government has nothing to do with Sales Tax.  Sales tax is administered by the states, and regions of states if applicable.  This is in contrast with Europe where the VAT (Value Added Tax) is administered by the countries and is otherwise somewhat comparable to a Sales Tax.

 

As XYZZY wrote, the sales tax within a state might depend on location.  As a further example, in New York City, there is the state sales tax and a city sales tax on top of that, totalling about 8.875%.  Some counties, such as those upstate, might only assess the state sales tax.  I would hate to manage sales tax for out-of-state sales.

 

I don't understand what eBay does.  On recent sales I've made there, they add the sales tax at one point and deduct it at another point.  ????

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude

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When Cult pens started to charge Australian GST @ 10%, I queried it because we're entitled to personally import items less than A$1000 tax-free.  They told me that they used to have to pay the tax but had no mechanism for recovering it from the customer... weird!  They now use a 3rd party company for the taxes, and, like eBay.com.au, there is no opt out, they charge 10% on everything (eBay charge it on the P&P too.) Cult Pens were always great value until this happened... now I definitely wait for their discount specials &/or shop around. So far, I've seen no similar move from Fontoplumo or Appelboom, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

We're a tiny market, so our local prices are mostly horrible, which puts our sellers way behind a lot of the overseas competition.  If the difference is only A$20, I'll still support a local B&M store, though, but you'd probably not want to buy an M900 Toledo here!

Glenn.

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Bristol24

"...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  Benjamin Franklin, 1789

“The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.”  John Adams

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A Smug Dill
On 6/21/2021 at 4:43 PM, Eccles said:

When Cult pens started to charge Australian GST @ 10%, I queried it because we're entitled to personally import items less than A$1000 tax-free.

 

Since when were Australians entitled to do so? Certainly not by international post or courier. If you are entering the country from overseas, including as a returning Australian, then you can bring in up to AUD 900.00 of personal goods tax-free as an adult if you're carrying them on your person or in your luggage at the time.

 

You were not entitled to import low-value items tax-free by post, even prior to 1 July 2018; but official Government policy was not to collect it for consignments of value under AUD 1000, as the items arrive at the border. From 1 July 2018 onwards, the Australian Government put the responsibility of collecting GST on low-value imports onto overseas retailers, electronic distribution platforms such as AliExpress and eBay, and international courier service operators as well as commercial forward shipping services delivering into Australia.

 

At one point Cult Pens may not have been strictly required to register with the Australian Tax Office, if and when it could claim it has not exported >AUD 75000 of goods to Australia within a (rolling) twelve-month period, and therefore not obliged to collect the 10% GST on what it sold to Australians, if the value of the particular consignment was no more than AUD 1000; but it was never an entitlement granted by our taxation law for Australians to have be exempt from paying tax on such items, only a matter of non-enforcement.

 

If the declared (or, in some cases, assessed) value of the consignment exceeds AUD 1000, then Australian Customs itself has the responsibility for collecting GST “at the border” from the importer, i.e. recipient of the consignment. Your tax liability is calculated at a GST rate of 10% irrespective of the value of the consignment, who collects the tax on behalf of the Government; the Government is entitled to that tax revenue paid out of your pocket, irrespective of whether it chooses to turn a blind eye and let items pass through without enforcing collection.

 

That's how I understand it works, anyway, and I've looked quite closely into it over the years.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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ParramattaPaul

I have to admit that I assume that I'm being taxed (GST, VAT, sales, etc.) in one form or another on purchases.  That's just the nature of governments today. 

 

What this thread has done, is cause me to look more closely at what I'm being charged for P&P on internet purchases.  Just today, I was about to make what would have been about a £12 or AUD 22 purchase until I saw that the P&P they intended to charge was exponentially greater than one would have expected.

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