Question about buying from Japan (tax, duty, import fees etc.)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Direct Box Rox, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    So say I bought a bass guitar on eBay but the buyer mentions this;

    "Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost."

    How exactly does this work? Say the bass is $1500 w/ shipping - do I pay that amount and then some time later, once the bass lands in the U.S. someone calls me and hits me with an additional fee? Or when exactly do you have to pay these additional charges?

    Been playing bass since 1990 and have bought my fair share via the mail - but never from out of the country so I'm not sure how it works. Thank you for your help :)
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I've bought from Japan several times now and have read similar warnings but have never actually had to pay an additional import fee.
    Direct Box Rox likes this.
  3. sleddogn


    Sep 8, 2013
    Love My Dogs
    i have purchased 2 basses on ebay from japan in last 3 months, no issues. Seller sent via ems, got here faster than most purchases here in the states, like 3 days and its there, no duties or taxes..
    Direct Box Rox likes this.
  4. Just bought a bass from Canada and the seller mentioned some sort of fees but I never had to pay anything to anybody. Not even sure who would be doing the charges.
    Direct Box Rox likes this.
  5. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Interesting. I'm surprised at what you said. Thanks for the info :)
  6. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Thank you :)
    68Goldfish likes this.
  7. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Thanks :)
  8. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Thank you :)
  9. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    I bought a shirt from a small company in Italy a long time ago. I paid them about $160 and when the shirt arrived in LA there was a US customs form attached to it that said I had to 10 or 20 bucks or something like that. If I recall correctly I had to give the money to Fedex before they would hand me the package.

    I've also had Canadians complain to me that if I sent them a package via USPS instead of Fedex they'd end up having to pay heavy customs fees. So I guess it depends on how they send it and if that particular package ends up being flag'd or not.
  10. MF-Winzlow


    Mar 1, 2019
    Cntrl FL
    I am no expert (as if there could be one?)...but hopefully, this is not something that is expected to be reported to the gubbermint at tax time?
    lancimouspitt likes this.
  11. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    If the seller uses ebay’s Global Shipping Program, any extra shipping or customs charges are spelled out for the buyer by clicking on the Shipping tab of the listing end entering the destination country.

    Otherwise it’s at the whim of the customs people at the point of entry to the US.
  12. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    No matter how it enters, a parcel to my place in BC always* has to pay the SALES TAX (12% in this province) on its declared value.

    But actually usps POSTAL MAIL from USA brings a very light fee (Canada Post Corp collects a flat rate 'brokerage fee' of CAD9.95).

    it is the evil empire of UPS that gouges us K'nay'juns a horrendously inflated brokerage fee ( "nevermore"...) :)

    * when it's tagged for it - probably half the parcels I get from all sources seem to slip through without any import paperwork attached
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  13. Pedullist


    Oct 31, 2016
    In the Netherlands it will be held at customs when it arrives at the border, and you have to pay 21% + handling costs to receive it, which can be quite high if you buy an expensive bass. In the US, it's different for every state (usually you don't have to pay import tax, unless, if I remember well, you're in California).
  14. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    The DECLARED value will determine the import tax. For a brand new instrument from a reputable dealer there should be a proper invoice so declared value = actual value. If you're buying used (or "new other") on ebay the declared value could be anything from actual value to nearly nothing (or even 0 as in "gift"). But then you would of course be smuggling the instrument. Also be aware that shipping insurance will only cover the declared value so insurance will be worthless if you falsify the declared value.

    If the instrument contains rosewood (or any other endangered species) there's CITES too of course. If you falsify documents and/or don't have a CITES export+import permit you are effectively smuggling an engangered species.
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Never shipped instruments outside the US but I've shipped other items to several countries and canada. As long as I filled out the proper customs forms and paid the postage (USPS) or shipping fee (FedEx, UPS) I never had any problem and never any complaints from buyers about additional fees.
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If the gubmint thinks I’ll voluntarily pay a tax on something they know nothing about they’re dreaming! ;)
    Direct Box Rox likes this.
  17. MF-Winzlow


    Mar 1, 2019
    Cntrl FL
    Again, I know little about it - but if you believe the borg does not know...they know what strings you use, how often you change them and they also know why you turn up to eleven.
    RustyAxe likes this.

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