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Import fees

Hello,

I often see nice gypsy guitars available overseas. I am wondering about import fees to the US . I heard it matters where the guitar was originally built as well to determine the import fees.


Anyone have experience with these additional fees or added complications when buying a DuPont guitar from Europe or Japan and shipping it into the US ?


thanks

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Comments

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,306

    I did some research on this when I bought an old guitar from the UK last summer. US Customs info can be found here under Chapter 92. https://hts.usitc.gov/reststop/file?release=currentRelease&filename=Chapter%2092

    Guitars are 8.7% of the value minus the value of the case. (9202.90.40) There are a list of countries from which you won't have to pay duty (the country codes are decoded in General Note 3 https://hts.usitc.gov/. Mostly free trade agreements with Middle East and South American countries). I didn't end up having to pay any duty and I've heard anecdotes that it is hit or miss on their application. Then again, because mine was old they might have classified it as an antique (and thus duty-free).

    Keep in mind, if you are buying from a European dealer, you shouldn't have to pay the 20% VAT they charge to a European customer, so even if you have to pay the 8.7% duty, it is probably still going to be less money than a European consumer would pay. I also note Korea and Israel on the list of duty-free countries. Might be good news for someone interested in JWC or Polak guitars.

    BucoBillDaCostaWilliams
  • tonkadubtonkadub New
    Posts: 11

    Thanks . I have heard it’s hot or miss as well. Do you know if that VAT tax applies when buying from Japan? Are you also saying that the VAT fee will not apply if I purchase from an individual seller in Europe (not guitar store or dealer).


    thanks

  • tonkadubtonkadub New
    Posts: 11

    I am reading there is currently no VAT fees when importing items into the US. Does that sound right ?

  • ethanwmethanwm Burlington, VermontNew
    Posts: 4

    • VAT is levied by Europe, not Japan.

    • As Billy wrote, you shouldn't have to pay VAT if the item is leaving Europe. (If visiting Europe and buying, you pay VAT at the store, keep receipt, and get reimbursed at the airport. If online and importing, you shouldn't have to pay at all.)

    • Assume you have to pay US duty

    billyshakes
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 461

    On top of import duties, don't forget about an individual state's "use tax" -- like sales tax. Federal customs notified California that I had imported a guitar, and even told them the price. I got a letter from the state saying I owed the tax -- here almost 9%.

    Buco
  • tonkadubtonkadub New
    Posts: 11

    Thanks, so sounds like I don’t have to pay a VAT tax from Europe or Japan. If I go to the checkout online I see it adds tax. I’m guessing that’s tax for the country that I am purchasing it from.


    the guitar I’m looking at is about $3500 from a dealer in Japan. Upon checkout an additional $230 is added for tax.


    Roughly what additional fees and taxes might I be looking at? Im shipping in to New Jersey so it sounds like I’ll have to pay the 8% sales tax that we have here .


    thanks for all the help

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 461

    Not sure what that $230 is, but I'm not sure it's the U.S. customs duty -- that usually comes later (along with CITES paperwork, etc.). But maybe the seller has a streamlined process. You should clarify what the $230 represents.

    billyshakes
  • tonkadubtonkadub New
    Posts: 11

    on the checkout page in eBay it shows the price of guitar, has free shipping and says $229 for tax. I’m thinking this is probably sales tax here in the states and not anything to do with Japan.


    does that sound right ?

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,306

    I'm with @pdg above. You should clarify with the seller what the various items are for. Many time, websites are created to account for the most of their business being done in the country. So, Japan does have a form of VAT, which is comparable to a sales tax. But, since you aren't in the jurisdiction, you don't have to pay it. Instead, you'll pay some form of import duty here in the US to account for that purchase. It might mean you don't click on an item and add it to a shopping cart but instead have a separate transaction with the seller (assuming this is a luthier or shop that regularly deals internationally).

    They'll know the ins-and-outs of this process and are the best people to ask if they do this transaction regularly. Sometimes, that might involve setting an invoice price for the guitar that seems low, but is just the inate value of the instrument. The total sale price would then include the price of the case, the price of shipping, the price of handling, the price of any prep work they may have done on the instrument to make it saleable, etc. If they just put the total purchase price as the price of the guitar, you'd end up paying your 8% on those other items too, when that isn't the intent of the statute. Good luck!

    Buco
  • JasonSJasonS New
    Posts: 46

    I've bought several guitars from Japan and have never had to pay any taxes or import duties.

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