International bass shipment. Need help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vene-nemesis, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    I was thinking about buying a bass in the US and send it here to Spain (mostly because I dont feel like paying 930€ for a geddy lee sig or 1500€ for a lakland skyline D55-02).

    So i was looking for ppl with experience with this, need info specialy on how to wrap the package and the bass so it wont get damaged.
  2. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I cant help with packaging suggestions, but remember as you live in the EU you'll have import duty to pay, and also your countries Value Added Tax.
  3. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    and if it is sent to me by someone in the USA like if it was a normal package, I mean i have an aunt there she can send me the package if i do it this way i have to pay taxes? if so, why? its not any kind of mech its a personal package
  4. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    You have to pay taxes on anything above the value of 40 Euro.

    Why? - It's the law.
  5. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    From personal experience, this^ man has spoken the truth and nothing but tha cruel truth :meh:
    a good thing is that the dolar is falling faster than a guy with a broke parachute, good time to buy there, but for example in Portugal the tax is 19% :rolleyes: :scowl: so if the material is buyable around here its probably not worth the stress.
  6. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    The UK example:

    The best price i can find on a Warwick ThumbBO 5 is £1109 at, which is $2098USD

    I can buy a Warwick ThumbBO 5 for $1759USD which is £929GBP from

    It appears that i could buy from the USA and make a £180 saving.

    However, we must take the price from; and add shipping, which is typically $150USD.

    1759 + 150 = $1909USD or £1009GBP

    At this price it still looks like I'm making a £100GBP saving.

    Yet, when the bass arrives in England, English H.M.Customs add on 3% Import duty, and 17.5% Value Added Tax.

    (1909 + 3%) + 17.5% = $2310USD which is £1221GBP

    So, I could have bought from soundslive for £1109, or imported and spent £1221.

    Importing would have made the bass £112GBP more expensive.
  7. How is the VAT policed? I mean, if a U.S. vendor sends him a Geddy Jazz Bass, is the package intercepted and opened? Are there exceptions or allowances (i.e. loopholes) to legally comply but minimize the exposure to the full 18%?

    What if I went to Europe this X-mas, like I usually do, and happend to take a bass. But, to lighten the load I sell it for a reasonable price. What are the tax obligations and at what point?
  8. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    When you take it through customs at the airport; as you are a visitor bringing items into the UK for sale, you have to go through the "Non E.U visitors, items to declare" lane in the airport. Where you meet Mr.Customs Man who tells you what you have to pay.

    Alternatively when shipping:

    The sender pays the shipping price, and the reciever will not have the item released to them by the shipping company until they have lpaid customs.

    Typically, the carrier pays customs on your behalf, and then charges you the money when you go to collect your item.
  9. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    ok i get that but how do they manage to know how much does the bass costs if its send to me by someone thats not the store were i bought the bass?

    Maybe its not worth the problem for a geddy but it is worth for a musicman that cost almost twice as much here in europe
    but i can get a new geddy from basscentral for 490€ + case cost (i need a case for shipping) vs the local price thats over 900€ the example you gave us with warwick is ot a good one because warwicks are made here in EU but its not the same with american made basses.
  10. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    They get the value because whenever you send somethign internationally you have to put a sticker on the case saying

    - wether the item is a gift/documents/commercail sample/other
    - quantity and detailed description of item
    - weight of item
    - value of item
    - its commerciality
    - the senders signature

    Its called a CN22 form. Its ILLEGAL to lie on it; and customs know what things are worth, ie: no brand new fender is worth 40€.


    Fender Geddy Lee - £799GBP from

    Fender Geddy Lee - $629 from
    + Fender Jazz Bass Case = $139USD

    $629 + $139 (case) + $150USD (Shipping) = $918USD

    $918USD + 3% = 17.5% = $1111USD = £588GBP

    So you're saving £100, but you're going to have to organise for two counts of shipping, and run the risk of your bass being damaged by less than careful carriers, and you wont have a valid Fender Europe warrenty.

    That doesnt sound like a good deal to me.
  11. Hey Toasted,

    My other post about Fodera's couldn't have been better timed in terms of this kind of import issue - i.e. money! But I am aware of that and as long as I can get the bass delivered safely I'll be happy - besides I haven't committed myself to actually ordering one yet... ;)
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Items are opened by customs - but when they do that, they add on an extra charge for this and another charge for actually keeping the item!! :eek:

    They tend to open anything that is large - although I really got burned on a double CD box set from the US. Not only did I end up paying more with VAT,customs etc. - but they added on £12 - just for opening it!! :(
  13. I ordered a hipshot D-tuner for about $90 direct from Hipshot and although it wasn't opened, I did get charged something like 15 GBP for the pleasure of receiving it...bad luck Bruce on that boxed set...bastards.
  14. Toasted speaks the truth...

    The bass might get though customs uninspected, in which case you pay VAT based on the value stated on the declaration.

    Unfortunately, there's a high chance they'll want to open it up and have a look. And when they do, they know exactly what to look for.

    So... by all means understate the value, but don't go crazy. They'll find you out..!

    Don't send it as a gift or a sample, either. That doesn't work any more.

    I've saves a fortune buying US-built instruments directly from the US, even when paying full tax. :smug:
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You still have to put customs forms on parcels that contain personal presents and many of them are opened and impounded - there was a News item recently about how much food is sent as personal presents and destroyed by customs!! :meh:
  16. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    are customs applied to packages sent with UPS by airplane anb with insurance?
  17. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Can you tell me how satisfactory was your experience with this? anything wrong with the things you bought?
  18. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Take a couple of things into account:

    - If the declared value is very low and something goes wrong with the shipment (lost, damaged,...) you are not going to get much money from the insurance.

    - If the declared value is very low the cxustoms officer can think that you are cheating and then you are going to have a lot of delays and problems.

    - It's almost 100% sure that your bass is going through customs and you'll have to pay custom duties(3-4 %) + 16% IVA. on the value of the bass+shipping!.

    keep groooovin'
  19. No... everything has been fine. I've bought quite a few vintage and nearly-new fenders, and had no problems so far.

    The only 'problem' I had was the first time, as I didn't know how much duty I would be expected to pay. That took me by suprise, but now I juts bear it in mind when I buy stuff.

    Just make sure you ask the seller all the right questions..!