Different "Customs"
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:14 am 
 

So, what is the deal with Customs taxes anyway? Do many of you have to pay these charges often? I am always sending out international packages, but I don't know if the buyers ever get stuck paying customs charges on top of it.



I am under the impression that books are usually "exempt" (at least up to a certain amount?). mbassoc just noted that he had to pay a customs fee because the seller wrote "Game Books" instead of books. I've done that before . . . though, lately I have decided to try and just keep it to "Books" or "Used Books" -- I am still not quite sure what to write for boxed sets . . . sometimes I must write "Game Books".



What about other items? Do you have to pay customs on everything else no matter the price or are certain amounts exempt? I have had buyers tell me that it is "hit & miss" and you never know if your package will be the one the customs officials decide to collect taxes on . . .



I know that different countries must have different regulations . . . though it seems from the little I have heard that the rates are exceptionally high if your are required to pay them to get your item.



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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:20 am 
 

I think each country has its own standards. I'm not an expert in the field, but the magic word is "used", so it qualifies it's not a brand new item bought abroad to dodge VAT.

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:25 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:So, what is the deal with Customs taxes anyway? Do many of you have to pay these charges often? I am always sending out international packages, but I don't know if the buyers ever get stuck paying customs charges on top of it.



I am under the impression that books are usually "exempt" (at least up to a certain amount?). mbassoc just noted that he had to pay a customs fee because the seller wrote "Game Books" instead of books. I've done that before . . . though, lately I have decided to try and just keep it to "Books" or "Used Books" -- I am still not quite sure what to write for boxed sets . . . sometimes I must write "Game Books".



What about other items? Do you have to pay customs on everything else no matter the price or are certain amounts exempt? I have had buyers tell me that it is "hit & miss" and you never know if your package will be the one the customs officials decide to collect taxes on . . .



I know that different countries must have different regulations . . . though it seems from the little I have heard that the rates are exceptionally high if your are required to pay them to get your item.



:?:




Books are exempt from customs tax, as are packages with a stated value of under about £80. Over £80 and they start to take an interest depending on time of year and how busy they are. Over £120 an they alwats take an interest.



But 'Games Books' if that is how they are discribed, are considered to be games and taxed at 17.5%. 'Educational Books' are exempted.



On large lots, and expensive single items, I ask sellers to ship to me with Global Express. That way I get a tracking number and in my experience they always arrive. I can then ask the seller to declare the value at $100 and say that provided they ship and forward me the tracking information I will assume responsibility for the insurance (or lack thereof).



I think it all depends on how busy the guys are in Coventry.


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:53 am 
 

Germany: Chance of having to go to customs office is a roll of a 1 on D20. Values under 22 Euro  :wink:  are free of custom fee and turnover tax for commercial transactions. For private transactions, values of up to 45 Euro are free of any charge.



Books are always free of custom charges. The turnover tax for books is 7%, for other gaming materials 16%. The turnover tax will not be charged, if the tax is less than 10 Euro (total value for books up to 142,80 Euro or gaming materials up to 62,50 Euro).


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:11 pm 
 

Switzerland



Gift items are free of customs charges for a value up to 100 Swiss Francs (CHF) Law explicitly states that items bought in an auction are not gifts (suckers)



Switzerland calculates customs charges by weight. It's about 1 CHF per kilogram or so. VAT is 7.6% for luxury items like CDs, computers or clothes. Books, magazines (non-addvertising) are 2.6%.



If the declaration is not clear enough I am charged CHF 10.00



As soon as the package is grabbed by customs the Swiss Post charges me 10.00 for the handling, 6.00 for reviewing the item and an additional 8.00 if the declaration is not good enough and it has to reviewed another time.....makes CHF 24.00 in the worst case.



For packages from the US we have special rules and restrictions:



everything with a value less than CHF 66.00 is VAT-free. Problem is that those 66.00 include everything like transport costs, customs handling, customs value (the weight stuff from above) and the value of the item per  "customs declaration".



Oh, and USPS has a special page for us :)



The page cannot be found


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:31 pm 
 

Jupp wrote:Switzerland

Oh, and USPS has a special page for us :)



The page cannot be found




Jupp, just get it shipped to france and go pick it up :)



  

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:12 pm 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:So, what is the deal with Customs taxes anyway? Do many of you have to pay these charges often? I am always sending out international packages, but I don't know if the buyers ever get stuck paying customs charges on top of it. :?:




In Italy, packages of any size and value coming from within the European Union are tax free. There is nothing to pay for receiving them and if they ask you for money, they are deadly wrong. For packages outside the European Union, books and magazines are VAT exempt and so, in theory, they are subject to no taxes. Boxed games, instead, are not VAT exempt and so you have to pay 20% of the declared value of VAT plus 4% for customs fees. For example, my big package from ISoldIt came with a 22 € bill for a 110 $ of declared value. I suppose that the two 'best' ways to attract Customs attention are big packages and great declared value. A high declared value virtually ensures you pay all the fees above listed (for non books and non magazines items). A big package is almost always inspected, but if your purchases have a sad look (used magazines, battered games) there is a good chance they will let them go away with no fees to pay.



There was once a 'mistake' because Customs asked me to pay 180 € of duties for importing twenty different issues of Space Gamer! 8O 8O 8O After paying the amount asked for and listening to my accountant, I sent them a nasy letter (but in a very, very polite language) stating everything I wrote before. They apologized and promised me a refund which of course never came. However, no package of mine moving trough Genoa port (it seems that all the packages for a big chunk of Italy coming from the US via surface mail arrive to Genoa) and customs inspected ever paid any customs fees anymore :D



A final note for buyers and sellers regarding Italy: please NEVER EVER attempt to sneak or simply to import any weapons. Not only firearms, but such things as LotR sword replicas and so on. This is a real guarantee to give you real trouble, much more than paying VAT and customs fees. Customs personnel could be lenient for a box of Magic boosters or some funny looking books, but not for weapon replicas. I have heard about some guy who bought a sword replica (in metal) from the Conan store in the US and had it sent in Italy with "description: metal sword" and being literaoly drowned in problems with Customs and police. I have an importer of virtually anything produced in the US in the entertainment field whom absolutely refuses to order anything resembling weapons, including miniature replicas of LotR swords, because he (wisely) doesn't want to have any problems. It seems that sex is fine, weapons are not (I agree with this position :D ).

  


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:19 pm 
 

In the UK, Books and magazines are exempt from VAT and Duty.

But some toys and games arent.



So, describe as "Secondhand Books" or "Secondhand magazines"



If youre sending a shipment with stuff that obviously isnt a book, then itemize the values of what youre sending.



The value for customs purposes should not include the shipping cost.

Though your insurance value should.





- How do US Customs work?

  


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Post Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:42 pm 
 

For full details on US customs, consult the following 3471 page reference manual...



US Harmonized Tariff Schedule



But in general, US customs don't kick in on individuals until the item climbs up to $200-$300.



That response in Italy sounds like the kind of numbskull stupidity that only government bureaucracy is capable of. Did they really think the guy was going to order a metal sword from the US so he could commit some crime with it in Italy? Or are they trying to protect Italian sword manufacturers?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:24 pm 
 

In Canada its a crapshoot.  If they do charge customs it $5.00 plus 7%.  Any package over about 2.2 pounds is always taxed though.  It sucks but sometimes is the only way to get certain obscure items.


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Post Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:44 pm 
 

I don't know how it was in other countries, but here in the US back in '93-'94 all we could hear about was that signing NAFTA and GATT was going to open up free trade. Free trade this, free trade that.  Clinton and the Republicans in Congress couldn't stop crowing about it.



All these posts show it was just another lie.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:29 pm 
 

All these other counries tax the shit out of incomming stuff, what about the USA? I've never had to pay any tax on anything from any where...

  

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:00 pm 
 

Welcome to Canada and please bring your wallet!! :evil:


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:54 am 
 

Blackmoor wrote:Welcome to Canada and please bring your wallet!! :evil:


Yeah no kiddin'.  There's no pattern whatsoever, I think the customs agents are taking a cut whenever they need to buy something.  :roll:

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:33 am 
 

dave wrote:That response in Italy sounds like the kind of numbskull stupidity that only government bureaucracy is capable of. Did they really think the guy was going to order a metal sword from the US so he could commit some crime with it in Italy? Or are they trying to protect Italian sword manufacturers?




Well, albeit a bit offensive (just a bit  :wink: ) this is a good question. I suppose this should be put in prospective. Historically, the Italian state has frown upon to people owning weapons of any kind, with partial exceptions for hunting. You may be a high risk person (for example, a jewelry retailer or salesman) but you still have to apply for a permit to own one weapon and you must do regular checks and interviews with the police. More, you are 'encouraged' not to use it, even in self defense. A retailer went under trial because he shoot two criminals robbing his jewels store. He was acquitted (rightly so!), but he went under trial anyway. This is, in my eyes, idiotic, but the far bigger part of my people thinks that the best gun policy is not having any guns around. I agree with this.



You must understand that Italy (perhaps this reasoning should apply to Germany too) had a brutal dictatorship with a private army used to reach power and eliminate opponents (not to mention World War II). After the war, one of the first priority was to stop anybody to ever attempting to do this again - no weapons around, no private armies. More, perhaps being on the losing side if WW II and being transformed in a battlefield from Sicily to the Alps didn't endear weapons to Italians. History textbooks tell pupils about the long periods of time when Italy was divided in city states or worse and people took law in their hands or were terrorized by bandits, barbarians, invading hordes and so on - all of them having dangerous weapons to their disposal. The message is: weapons are very dangerous for you and the others, better leave them to professionals (police, military and such); good citizens don't own weapons. So, having and showing weapons is highly, very highly frown upon. I suppose that too much violence resulted in ultra rigid regulations. Sword, bows, crossbows and such are considered as weapons by law so they are subject to regulations. They can be sold, but they have to be blunted. More, you must have a license as a weapons retailer to carry them. Miniature replicas are exempt  I suppose (they are too small), but police has discretionary powers to seize anything considered dangerous (it must defend such decisions with judges, so they do this carefully - Italy is not China!  :D ).



There is an Italian maker of LotR replicas (weapons and jewels) under license, but I dont think he is so powerful to have the state protecting him. He has booths during major game conventions showing all his products and, as far as I know, he never had any clashes with police authorities. Well, almost... During Lucca Games, by far the greatest game and comic event in Italy, in 2005 with over 70,000 visitors in three days, police briefly seized replica weapons (swords in metal) from a booth so the seller, of course enraged, said he was going to ask for a seizure of all weapon replicas in the entire convention (there weren't so many and most of them were latex, so exempt). After long discussions between police, a couple of lawyers and convention organizers, the replicas were returned.



I suppose this must seem madness to many Americans, but I hope you consider that Italy is one of the safest countries in the world, with a very low percentage of violent crimes. One of the biggest fears of Italians is seeing a rise of armed crimes, with unfavourable comparisons with the US (regularly blasted for its 'gun happy' policies from politicians of all stripes) being made very regularly.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:10 pm 
 

Sotterraneo wrote:
dave wrote:That response in Italy sounds like the kind of numbskull stupidity that only government bureaucracy is capable of. Did they really think the guy was going to order a metal sword from the US so he could commit some crime with it in Italy? Or are they trying to protect Italian sword manufacturers?








I have to note that Del Tin of Italy is one of the premier mass sword producers.  Re-enactment groups all through Germany and the U.S. use his swords.  In the movie Braveheart, the actual sword used by Mel Gibson is a Del Tin.



Del Tin sets the standard in that area and has for over a generation.



Just an FYI.  The major Italian sword maker doesn't need protection from anyone ;)



Now the Windlass knock-offs from India/Pakistan got their start as inferior copies of Del Tin designs.  These days they are just considered inferior.



And Paul Chen in China mass produces stuff that is cheaper and of proportionately lower quality, but still ok for re-enactment (not counting his ever improving Japanese style swords).


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:32 pm 
 

Sotterraneo wrote:Well, albeit a bit offensive (just a bit :wink: ) this is a good question. I suppose this should be put in prospective. Historically, the Italian state has frown upon to people owning weapons of any kind, with partial exceptions for hunting. You may be a high risk person (for example, a jewelry retailer or salesman) but you still have to apply for a permit to own one weapon and you must do regular checks and interviews with the police. More, you are 'encouraged' not to use it, even in self defense. A retailer went under trial because he shoot two criminals robbing his jewels store. He was acquitted (rightly so!), but he went under trial anyway. This is, in my eyes, idiotic, but the far bigger part of my people thinks that the best gun policy is not having any guns around. I agree with this.



.




"In Italy, 80.7 percent of all crimes go unpunished and the culprit is not found — 96.8 percent of the thefts, 58.2 percent of the homicides, 84.6 percent of the robberies, and 64.3 percent of the kidnappings. Moreover, Mr. De Masi might have addressed the fact that the Swiss are much more heavily armed than Italians are, yet are also less violent. The 1994 Swiss homicide rate was of 1.32 per 100,000 people (among which only 0.58 were perpetrated with a firearm), while the Italian rate was 2.25 (of which 1.66 were perpetrated with a firearm)." (From National Reveiw, 5/7/2002)



"Italy -- There are limits on the number of firearms and the quantity of ammunition a person may own. To be issued a permit to carry a firearm, a person must prove an established need, such as a dangerous occupation. Firearms which use the same ammunition as firearms used by the military -- which in America would include countless millions of rifles, shotguns, and handguns -- and ammunition for them are prohibited. Yet, "Italy`s gun law, `the most restrictive in Europe,` had left her southern provinces alone with a thousand firearm murders a year, thirty times Switzerland`s total." (Richard A. I. Munday, Most Armed & Most Free?, Brightlingsea, Essex: Piedmont Publishing, 1996.)



Maybe someone forgot to tell the Mafia to turn in their firearms.....



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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:52 am 
 

Badmike wrote:


"In Italy, 80.7 percent of all crimes go unpunished and the culprit is not found — 96.8 percent of the thefts, 58.2 percent of the homicides, 84.6 percent of the robberies, and 64.3 percent of the kidnappings. Moreover, Mr. De Masi might have addressed the fact that the Swiss are much more heavily armed than Italians are, yet are also less violent. The 1994 Swiss homicide rate was of 1.32 per 100,000 people (among which only 0.58 were perpetrated with a firearm), while the Italian rate was 2.25 (of which 1.66 were perpetrated with a firearm)." (From National Reveiw, 5/7/2002)



"Italy -- There are limits on the number of firearms and the quantity of ammunition a person may own. To be issued a permit to carry a firearm, a person must prove an established need, such as a dangerous occupation. Firearms which use the same ammunition as firearms used by the military -- which in America would include countless millions of rifles, shotguns, and handguns -- and ammunition for them are prohibited. Yet, "Italy`s gun law, `the most restrictive in Europe,` had left her southern provinces alone with a thousand firearm murders a year, thirty times Switzerland`s total." (Richard A. I. Munday, Most Armed & Most Free?, Brightlingsea, Essex: Piedmont Publishing, 1996.)



Maybe someone forgot to tell the Mafia to turn in their firearms.....



Mike B.




Mike, I am Italian too. And the problem is not about firearms - the problem is about law and its application. The italian law is very restrictive, but also administered by judges who tend to use a "softer" hand against criminals than Usa judges do, and actively discourage owning and use of firearms in the "legal" society.



A very different situation from Usa, where the owning of firearms is seen as an heritage of freedom - but where the punishments for breaching the laws are harsher and swiftly administered (I still have to read about the total number of homicides in the Us, though...)



Comparing us to Switzerland, a neutral nation since the medieval times and one of the best administered of the world, seems a bit unfair to me.



Stereotypes of the gunslinging, pizza-eating, striped-suit Mafia boys do not render Italians justice - as it would be picturing all the Americans as naive, hamburger-eating, Stetson-wearing gung-ho dumbwits



:lol:

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:53 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
"In Italy, 80.7 percent of all crimes go unpunished and the culprit is not found — 96.8 percent of the thefts, 58.2 percent of the homicides, 84.6 percent of the robberies, and 64.3 percent of the kidnappings. Moreover, Mr. De Masi might have addressed the fact that the Swiss are much more heavily armed than Italians are, yet are also less violent. The 1994 Swiss homicide rate was of 1.32 per 100,000 people (among which only 0.58 were perpetrated with a firearm), while the Italian rate was 2.25 (of which 1.66 were perpetrated with a firearm)." (From National Reveiw, 5/7/2002)



"Italy -- There are limits on the number of firearms and the quantity of ammunition a person may own. To be issued a permit to carry a firearm, a person must prove an established need, such as a dangerous occupation. Firearms which use the same ammunition as firearms used by the military -- which in America would include countless millions of rifles, shotguns, and handguns -- and ammunition for them are prohibited. Yet, "Italy`s gun law, `the most restrictive in Europe,` had left her southern provinces alone with a thousand firearm murders a year, thirty times Switzerland`s total." (Richard A. I. Munday, Most Armed & Most Free?, Brightlingsea, Essex: Piedmont Publishing, 1996.)





If we judge a country's safety upon the number of crimes being successfully prosecuted then no country is safe. The numbers quoted from The National Review are impressing, but it could be very interesting to quote the ACTUAL NUMBER of crimes being committed and the chance one citizen has to be victim of a crime. With such factors considered, Italy is still one of the safest countries in the world. There are exceptions (Naples is a basket case about this), but if we used the areas worst affected by crimes as being the average, then we could use the statistics from every major US city (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, etc.) and so we could conclude that the US is a war zone.  Did relaxed gun control laws make such cities safer?  



The comment about the law leaving helpless southern Italians victims of organized crime, implying that with a more relaxed approach they could better defend themselves and so the crime rate would go down, is in my eyes pure idiocy. Going along this way of reasoning, then Somalia - where virtually everybody owns or can buy a weapon - should be one of the safest places on the planet. It's not, of course. Canada - with stringent gun control laws - should be more unsafe than the US, which is not.



Organized crime will never uphold laws of course. If Mafia wants guns, it will get guns. If laws were more relaxed, perhaps it could buy them here and not 'importing' them from the Balkans... The key to safety is not, in my eyes, giving everybody a gun, the key to safety is a strong state with a good police force and a tough policy against crime and criminals (something sadly lacking here, I'm afraid, and not for lack of effort by the police). New York shows that.



Hmmm... perhaps we have a bit strayed from the subject... We could discuss more in private e mails I suppose...

  


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:56 am 
 

rosenkav wrote:Comparing us to Switzerland, a neutral nation since the medieval times and one of the best administered of the world, seems a bit unfair to me.


Don't worry; Swiss history is rather selective in the manner it's presented to the rest of the world. :o

Has only been neutral from 1815 (or rather, had neutrality declared upon the country). Ditto in 1648. The Swiss cantons were still involved in expansionist ambitions until defeat at Marignano (1515) partly because they couldn't agree with themselves (it wasn't a single country, back then).

None of this goes back to mediaeval times...



Anyhow; they changed their gun laws in 1999 rendering previous comparisons invalid.



===



Customs... yeah, depending on what's on the label any imports to the UK can also be hit for various duties in addition to VAT (value added tax). My record to date is over 40%.

And VAT is often applied to the postage paid, too (since that's a "service"). Is possible to get taxed about half-a-dozen times on the same item, depending of where it has been sent from.



Always mark as "books"/"printed matter"/"magazines", whatever.

If there are dice in a high-value package, get them sent separately. ;)

  
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