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Contemporary Customs and Import Issues

Incroyable

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Is German customs really that bad with packages?
 

Bernhard J.

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Is German customs really that bad with packages?
Yes, it is a real pain. The goods are held for weeks, all kinds of written evidence with respect to the value has to be presented, and even then they might elect to "estimate" the "true vlaue" and charge you accordingly. Actually antiques older than 100 years should benefit of a (small) reduction in duties, but then you have to provide a written experts opinion (by a third person, neither seller nor buyer) confirming the age. Hall marks are not accepted as evididence. As a result, I only once attempted to get that reduction and took along the Barrauds book for showing the year of make related to the serial number. It did not "convince" and I gave up.

Last year I had ordered a booklet from David Penney. It was returned to him by German customs twice with the grounds: rejected because of "defective declaration" (no details provided). After he sent me the customs slip for inspection and taking a very close look, I found out. David had indicated the total weight in gramm, and not in kilogram, as requested, i.e. instead of "0,150" as "150 g". He probably spent more postage for sending it three times, than what the actual price was.
 

Incroyable

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Yes, it is a real pain. The goods are held for weeks, all kinds of written evidence with respect to the value has to be presented, and even then they might elect to "estimate" the "true vlaue" and charge you accordingly. Actually antiques older than 100 years should benefit of a (small) reduction in duties, but then you have to provide a written experts opinion (by a third person, neither seller nor buyer) confirming the age. Hall marks are not accepted as evididence. As a result, I only once attempted to get that reduction and took along the Barrauds book for showing the year of make related to the serial number. It did not "convince" and I gave up.

Last year I had ordered a booklet from David Penney. It was returned to him by German customs twice with the grounds: rejected because of "defective declaration" (no details provided). After he sent me the customs slip for inspection and taking a very close look, I found out. David had indicated the total weight in gramm, and not in kilogram, as requested, i.e. instead of "0,150" as "150 g". He probably spent more postage for sending it three times, than what the actual price was.
That's really absurd.

Do they open up all packages or is this based on documentation?

In the US, antiques are all considered duty free and Customs never bothers checking. If you use one of the private couriers like FedEx customs is further expedited by their in house custom brokers.
 
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remo87

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Yes, it is a real pain. The goods are held for weeks, all kinds of written evidence with respect to the value has to be presented, and even then they might elect to "estimate" the "true vlaue" and charge you accordingly. Actually antiques older than 100 years should benefit of a (small) reduction in duties, but then you have to provide a written experts opinion (by a third person, neither seller nor buyer) confirming the age. Hall marks are not accepted as evididence. As a result, I only once attempted to get that reduction and took along the Barrauds book for showing the year of make related to the serial number. It did not "convince" and I gave up.

Last year I had ordered a booklet from David Penney. It was returned to him by German customs twice with the grounds: rejected because of "defective declaration" (no details provided). After he sent me the customs slip for inspection and taking a very close look, I found out. David had indicated the total weight in gramm, and not in kilogram, as requested, i.e. instead of "0,150" as "150 g". He probably spent more postage for sending it three times, than what the actual price was.
It is so interesting what you said, I was sure that in Poland customs clearance looks terrible. For example, by importing cars from USA, Canada etc. everyone in Poland makes customs clearance in Germany, because German customs officials are not so meticulous ;) I wonder if they don't make problems for German buyers also or foreigners only.
BTW Beautiful watch!
 
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Bernhard J.

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Funny, at least in the classic car field Germans import cars from non-EU states not directly to Germany, by via the Netherlands. Because they are comparatively easy going AND the duties are significantly less than those charged by German customs :D

Incroyable : I do not suppose that all parcels are opened. But quite likely all are X-rayed and a watch will in any case be considered "potentially valuable". And perhaps senders and recipients of such "potentially valuable" goods are generally deemed potentially fraudulent (with respect to the customs declaration). On bad days I wonder whether I should continue being honest, or rather just cheat as well (like presumably many others).

When I received a 24h wheel for my Knox clock from the UK (properly declared as 50 GBP, including shipping), they held lenghthy correspondence discussions with me, including requesting evidence by comparable means for the value of such a wheel. My Paypal payment receipt sent upon request was apparently not deemed as enough evidence. I then presented various eBay offers of loose English clock wheel train components and calculated a break down to one single wheel. This resulted in about 5,-- € as a high estimate. Only then it passed the customs (charged on the 50 GBP basis, of course). I might mention that I always respond politely.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Do they open up all packages or is this based on the documentation?
Very few of these parcels get through German customs, especially in Frankfurt. The extra import duties are for all counties not in the EU. All that Bernard said is true, and more. Those who use this NAWCC Board will have bought their watches outside the country they live in and will know about these import duties. If you have, for instance, had a pocket in Germany, and you found it needed repair, if you were to send it to London, they will want import duties, and then you would get import duties when it is returned. I had a long chat with the custom house in Münster about this, I told them the watch had no value as far as VAT rules, they went into another room for about twenty minutes, and then said I owed them €60. ("It came from the UK duties must be paid"). The longest time for a watch from Australia was two months, it got sent back to Australia, and I got it on the second run :excited:
 

Incroyable

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Very few of these parcels get through German customs, especially in Frankfurt. The extra import duties are for all counties not in the EU. All that Bernard said is true, and more. Those who use this NAWCC Board will have bought their watches outside the country they live in and will know about these import duties. If you have, for instance, had a pocket in Germany, and you found it needed repair, if you were to send it to London, they will want import duties, and then you would get import duties when it is returned. I had a long chat with the custom house in Münster about this, I told them the watch had no value as far as VAT rules, they went into another room for about twenty minutes, and then said I owed them €60. ("It came from the UK duties must be paid"). The longest time for a watch from Australia was two months, it got sent back to Australia, and I got it on the second run :excited:
This sounds worse than Italy.:emoji_laughing:
 

eri231

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In fact it is worse in Italy. Customs management is entrusted to the Italian Post Office. A parcel from Israel arrived at the Post Office in a week but was delivered after two months. Tracking out of date so a search wasn't even possible.
Regards enrico
 

Incroyable

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If you used private couriers like FedEx or UPS their in house customs brokers wouldn't be able to expedite the customs process in countries like Germany or Italy?

The way it works in the US is that the companies will send the customs documentation for pre-approval digitally when the package is still on the airplane so that it ideally clears before the plane lands. If it's a particularly valuable item with a duty or more paperwork is required they will expedite the process and the company prepays any duties. Of course they do charge a brokerage fee for all this.
 

miguel angel cladera

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In Spain it is not much better...besides always having to pay 25% of the total cost of the purchase. I would understand that if it were a new product that is currently manufactured ... but a watch with more than 100 years old and between individuals:???: in my opinion there is no more motivation than the collection of money.
 
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Bernhard J.

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If you used private couriers like FedEx or UPS their in house customs brokers wouldn't be able to expedite the customs process in countries like Germany
Their in house customs brokers simply forward the custom´s requests for additional documentation to the recipient, so no real difference in the efforts.

But may add trouble on top. In one case last year, Fedex did not charge me for the German duties and taxes, but the UK sender. And instantly took the amount from his UK bank account. He was rather upset *lol*.
 

John Matthews

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Despite all the adverse comments which are often made concerning French bureaucracy, I have to admit that although still reeling over the duty implications regarding BREXIT, the system of collecting import duty, is painless and often very efficient. As an example I purchased a watch on Sunday from UK ebay seller, I received an email late last night from La Poste, requesting payment of tax. I paid online. Receipt this morning. Delivery scheduled for tomorrow.

John
 

Bernhard J.

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Despite all the adverse comments which are often made concerning French bureaucracy, I have to admit that although still reeling over the duty implications regarding BREXIT, the system of collecting import duty, is painless and often very efficient. As an example I purchased a watch on Sunday from UK ebay seller, I received an email late last night from La Poste, requesting payment of tax. I paid online. Receipt this morning. Delivery scheduled for tomorrow.

John

I will have all my purchases from non-EU states delivered to you in the future and you kindly forward them to me. Give me your postal address, please. Duties and postal costs for forwarding are reimbursed, of course.

clown.gif

P.S.: I cited your above post in case that you now elect to delete it. clown.gif
 
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remo87

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I recently bought a watch from Japan and I'm during the customs clearance made by Fedex and I also have problem with proving the age of the bought watch. Theoretically in Poland for items over 100 years old is preferential 8% VAT (no standard 23%), but customs agents reluctantly use lower tax.
 

Incroyable

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It might be worth looking into having things sent to a package forwarder with warehouses in VAT free states like Guernsey or Jersey.
 

Bernhard J.

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It might be worth looking into having things sent to a package forwarder with warehouses in VAT free states like Guernsey or Jersey.
Interesting idea. But what advantage would that have? The goods still need to be imported to the EU via the customs and resulting custom fees and VAT taxes must be paid.
 

eri231

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You could ship them here VAT at 7.7%

Büsingen am Hochrhein (enclave in Switzerland; low-rate Swiss VAT, as part of the Switzerland – Liechtenstein customs area)
Regards enrico
 

Bernhard J.

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But that would have a benefit only, if you then smuggle the item across the border into the EU? Or do I get something wrong?
 

eri231

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I do not know the economic regulations of Germany. But if the recipient resides in the enclave and pays the reduced VAT after he can sell it to another German citizen. In Italy there is an enclave, Campione d'Italia, in Switzerland and a town Livigno not subject to the European VAT regime.
Regards enrico
 
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Bernhard J.

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I looked it up, Büsingen is considered German politically, but as a "third country" under customs law. Therefore, goods shipped from Büsingen to Germany are subject to the normal import VAT and custom fees. :(
 
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Dr. Jon

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I have had few problems importing into teh US but two were interesting, at least to me.

I rarely have high value items delivered to my home. When possible I use my Post Office box which works well. This Fed Ex and others I have the stuff held for pick up.

For some reason, the US Homeland Security clowns thought the package was a threat to US security despite a customs form showing it to be sevefrl antique watches from a very reputable German auction house and my name and home address on the invoices as the payer. In addition I have held security clearances during my career so they had access to my private information. (And if the US lost this, they could get it from the Chinese who hacked the US system and now have my cleaance information) I did finally get the stuff and the cost was time.

On another devliery also of antique items, as in over 100 year old watches, the delivery service passed through a US Customs charge of about $30 US for their decision not to charge a duty.

Compared to the UK and EU these were very minor.
 

Incroyable

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Some watch dealers--notably Italian and Hong Kong ones--will ship 5 figure watches with a declared value of $200 but they're able to purchase separate insurance policies for the true value.

In the US there are certain states that don't charge sales tax which naturally leads to a rather brisk business of package forwarders. Oregon and Delaware are the most notable ones.
 

John Matthews

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Some watch dealers--notably Italian and Hong Kong ones--will ship 5 figure watches with a declared value of $200 but they're able to purchase separate insurance policies for the true value.
Really! Who do you think benefits from that? The rest of us suffer!

This practice is known by customs and as a result they open more packages to catch the perpetrators . While if caught they get what they deserve, the rest of us suffer delay and hassle with packages that have the true value of contents declared.

John
 
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Incroyable

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Really! Who do you think benefits from that? The rest of us suffer!

This practice is known by customs and as a result they open more packages to catch the perpetrators . While if caught they get what they deserve, the rest of us suffer delay and hassle with packages that have the true value of contents declared.

John
They seem to exploit loopholes like saying a watch is returned for repair, etc.

US Customs seems less strict about such things than the EU.

My experience with US customs invariably stem from paperwork. They are very anal about crossing T's and dotting I's.
 

Incroyable

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How easy is it to import antique watches into the UK from the EU?

Is it simply a matter of paying VAT online or is there a lot of bureaucracy involved like Germany?
 

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