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Ever Been Hammered For Customs Tax Buying A Watch?I've no idea how it's supposed to work.


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#1 OFFLINE   YouCantHaveTooManyWatches

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:23 PM

A new Tissot Visodate watch I'm coveting on the bay at the moment is in the States and I'm concerned that I might get hit for 17.5 or 19 or 20 or whatever the prevailing "customs tax" rate is. If I were to get clobbered it would make it definitely not worthwhile me buying it from this guy.
Has anyone out there in old blighty or elsewhere in Europe ever suffered at the hands of the customs man?
The statement "Applicable Customs tax imposed in the Buyer’s country is the sole responsibility of the buyer" does make me a tad nervous!

#2 OFFLINE   Zimmer

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:45 PM

 YouCantHaveTooManyWatches, on 19 January 2011 - 11:23 PM, said:

A new Tissot Visodate watch I'm coveting on the bay at the moment is in the States and I'm concerned that I might get hit for 17.5 or 19 or 20 or whatever the prevailing "customs tax" rate is. If I were to get clobbered it would make it definitely not worthwhile me buying it from this guy.
Has anyone out there in old blighty or elsewhere in Europe ever suffered at the hands of the customs man?
The statement "Applicable Customs tax imposed in the Buyer’s country is the sole responsibility of the buyer" does make me a tad nervous!

Yep here in Ireland, in recent times I usually get nabbed on on everything from the U.S, unless the seller undervalues it on the packet, in which case you are snookered if the package gets lost.

#3 OFFLINE   feenix

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:59 PM

I'm sure that we've all been clobbered at one time or another. I normally get about 8 or 9 through, out of 10, without getting clobbered. The other one or two get hammered :thumbsdown:

#4 OFFLINE   langtoftlad

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:06 AM

Sadly, if the item is over £18 - you are liable for tax & duty on the value of the watch and postage.
The rate is 4.5% Duty and 20% VAT
You will also have to pay a Royal Mail handling charge of £8 regardless of the watch value.

These are the charges you should expect to pay, thus factor into your purchasing choices. If your parcel gets through unpenalised, it should be considered as a 'result'

Unfortunately anecdotally it seems a higher percentage of packages (nearly all) from the USA get caught & these charges levied, than some other parts of the world.
I've never yet been caught by packages originating from either Hong Kong nor Australia (so far, touch wood).

Edited by langtoftlad, 20 January 2011 - 12:07 AM.


#5 OFFLINE   Kutusov

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:54 AM

Well, my experience is with customs from Portugal but from what I've read seems to be pretty much the same over there at the UK... I've never payed taxes for anything coming from China/HK/Taiwan and I've never got away with anything coming from the US/Canada. Regarding non-EU eastern European countries (Russia, Ukraine, etc) I got caught once on a package with 3 watches inside. They probably didn't let that got through because of the eventual accumulated value of the watches.

Edited by Kutusov, 20 January 2011 - 12:54 AM.


#6 OFFLINE   normdiaz

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:44 AM

eBay sellers have to include that disclaimer about customs duties/taxes. Even so, they still get negative ratings from buyers that end up having to pay duties on the watch they import, even though the seller has no control over that aspect. With the disclaimer, they can at least respond defensively to a negative based soley on the buyer having to pay duties.

Here in U.S. I've never had to pay duties on watches coming in from Singapore, Japan, or Canada. No experience with incomings from other countries. :cheers:

Edited by normdiaz, 20 January 2011 - 01:49 AM.


#7 OFFLINE   Silver Hawk

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:24 AM

 feenix, on 19 January 2011 - 11:59 PM, said:

I'm sure that we've all been clobbered at one time or another. I normally get about 8 or 9 through, out of 10, without getting clobbered. The other one or two get hammered :thumbsdown:
I'm buying watches and parts all the time from the US; I also repair electric watches for many people outside the EU....so Customs Duty is always an issue but I think my success rate is a little better than Feenix....I'd say 95% of my stuff gets through without attracting attention (with the "correct" wording on the packet etc :wink: :wink:)

#8 OFFLINE   Barryboy

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:09 AM

This topic crops up regularly.

As far as the Govt. is concerned you have imported the goods (a watch in this case) so you have to pay your dues. It's exactly the same as if you bought a load of ciggies or booze then came home on the plane - you have to pay the duty. It doesn't matter if you're a registered trader or not, you are the 'importer of record' because you are the party who has been a part of the commercial transaction - the goods come into the country and the Government (represented by the Customs) wants it's duty and VAT which, as Langtoftlad says is in the order of 5% duty plus a further 20% VAT.

As an example, let's say you buy a watch from outside the EEC for £950 and pay £50 postage. Duty is assessed at 5% of £1000 which comes to £50. That's bad enough but you additonally have to pay VAT on the value plus carriage plus duty, so that's VAT at 20% of £1050, which comes to £210. So your total duty & VAT on a £1000 watch would be in the order of £260 plus fees...

I really can't understand people who don't get this.... The reason you are getting the watch cheaper is because you are by-passing the commercial dealer network and importing the item yourself. The dealer would have to pay duty and VAT to the Govt. and you have to also. Now to speed up and simplify the whole process the carrier (Royal Mail, Fedex, DHL, UPS or whoever) pays this money to the Govt. on your behalf at the time of importation and they not only want it back, they also want a fee for doing it. My experience of nearly 40 years in the international freight industry would indicate that eight quid as a fee is very cheap indeed - my Company, for example, would want £50 for doing this for you...

So there you have it... Duty, VAT and charges.... not good news it's true, but take it on the chin, chaps and factor this into your buying price...... and as an aside, perhaps you should realise that under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (and subsequent amendments) any person who knowingly avoids paying proper duties and charges is committing a criminal offence....


Rob

#9 OFFLINE   Silver Hawk

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:49 AM

 Barryboy, on 20 January 2011 - 10:09 AM, said:

I really can't understand people who don't get this....
I get it for new items...

but in the past, it has proved extremely difficult for a customer to send a broken, vintage, electric watch for me to repair. There is paperwork for "temporary imports" to avoid import duty but no one seems to understand what is required at each end. A couple of years ago, someone on this forum send me a bunch of watches for repair via FedEx. On arrival, customs at Stanstead wanted £450 duty...the watches sat there while myself, owner and FedEx discussed what to do...in the end, after sitting at Stanstead Airport for 2 weeks, they got shipped back to the owner...unopened. :taz:

Edited by Silver Hawk, 20 January 2011 - 10:49 AM.


#10 ONLINE   pauluspaolo

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:57 AM

I got stung to the tune of £68 when I got my Benarus Moray 2 from the USA - £55 of it was VAT & the other £13 was a handling charge from Parcelforce :(

#11 OFFLINE   kc104

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:59 AM

I just got a new pen holder for 13 pens. Lovely leather product and thought I would be stung, but what do you know, the company themselves put the item as 'GIFT'. So i paid nothing. This is the best way to get round these charges, and as it was a gift to myself, that is what I will stand by.

Take my philosophy, it's either a gift for someone else of a gift to ones self. If you run a business just tell customs you are father xmas.

Edited by kc104, 20 January 2011 - 11:00 AM.


#12 OFFLINE   gaz64

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:06 AM

IF you get caught avoiding duty you will get into a world of sh1te,

My view is that if you "import" a new watch just factor it into your price expect to pay it and take it as a bonus if you dont.

It`s the subject of second hand watches that gets me how many times to you have to pay bloody duty on the same item :)


example
RLT12 bought new (vat payed)
RLT12 sold to stateside buyer (duty paid)
RLT12 bought from stateside buyer (Duty vat and handling charge Paid)

How many times over the life of this watch will one govenment or another be collecting taxes :)

Edited by gaz64, 20 January 2011 - 11:06 AM.


#13 OFFLINE   aesmith

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:20 AM

 YouCantHaveTooManyWatches, on 19 January 2011 - 11:23 PM, said:

A new Tissot Visodate watch I'm coveting on the bay at the moment is in the States and I'm concerned that I might get hit for 17.5 or 19 or 20 or whatever the prevailing "customs tax" rate is. If I were to get clobbered it would make it definitely not worthwhile me buying it from this guy.
Has anyone out there in old blighty or elsewhere in Europe ever suffered at the hands of the customs man?
The statement "Applicable Customs tax imposed in the Buyer’s country is the sole responsibility of the buyer" does make me a tad nervous!

The rules and limits are set out clearly enough here, note that the limits differ for "Gifts" and the threshold for import duty is higher than for VAT, so you may be charged VAT but not duty.

HMRC Web Page

It all depends on the value declared by the seller. If the seller happens to put too low a value then I can't see how they could really blame the buyer, unless the buyer had instructed him to do so of course. Legally I think you are liable for that declaration.

#14 ONLINE   martinus_scriblerus

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:56 PM

I need to weigh in on this one. When an American buys a watch from outside the country only VERY VERY RARELY does that item attract duty. In a large number of examples, I have only paid once. So for all intents and purposes, Americans don't pay duty.

If I am shipping a watch to the UK (for instance) to have it repaired I ship it cheapest shipping method possible and take the chance that it will not get there (they always do). I write up the watch with a value of $20 or so and mark it as a gift. When they return them to me in the USA it comes in duty free.

Now I happen to actually live in Canada. Like you in the UK, we are subject to duty on used articles. The rate varies by province and where the watch was made: 13% for an American made watch for instance, and up to 18% depending on how alert Customs is on a Swiss watch.

What you really need is an American friend to give you the watch and send it to you.

#15 OFFLINE   Barryboy

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:23 PM

 Silver Hawk, on 20 January 2011 - 10:49 AM, said:

 Barryboy, on 20 January 2011 - 10:09 AM, said:

I really can't understand people who don't get this....
I get it for new items...

but in the past, it has proved extremely difficult for a customer to send a broken, vintage, electric watch for me to repair. There is paperwork for "temporary imports" to avoid import duty but no one seems to understand what is required at each end. A couple of years ago, someone on this forum send me a bunch of watches for repair via FedEx. On arrival, customs at Stanstead wanted £450 duty...the watches sat there while myself, owner and FedEx discussed what to do...in the end, after sitting at Stanstead Airport for 2 weeks, they got shipped back to the owner...unopened. :taz:


Paul - PM sent.

Rob





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