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ElRooster
9-Apr-2011, 11:46
Hi,

I was looking at some lenses on ebay and I was wondering how much is the US duty tax if I buy a lens from Japan? I tried to google it but I can't find a straight answer. I read that it is either 0% if less than $400 or 2%. Anyone have experience on this? The lens I was looking at is $180 + $20 for shipping.

Thanks

Gabriel

Brian Ellis
9-Apr-2011, 12:23
I don't know the answer but in addition to the duty you should also check on the shipper's handling or similar charges for international sales. I just had a lens I sold to someone in Japan returned to me. Because it was a return I didn't have to pay any duties but UPS charged $30 IIRC for what they claimed was their "service" in getting it through customs. There's been a lot of complaints about this practice which you can find on line but they still do it. I believe it's a flat charge not based on the value of the item. I'm not sure whether Fed Ex, USPS, et al do the same thing or not. So even if the duty on a $180 item is small as it probably is, you still could hit with this kind of charge at least if the seller uses UPS.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
9-Apr-2011, 12:31
There is Customs, which is duty. Then there is brokerage. Then there is shipping and handling. The first is done by US Customs, the second is done by a private company and the last by the seller.

Which are you concerned with? You could end up paying all three on an international shipment to the USA.

ElRooster
9-Apr-2011, 13:01
There is Customs, which is duty. Then there is brokerage. Then there is shipping and handling. The first is done by US Customs, the second is done by a private company and the last by the seller.

Which are you concerned with? You could end up paying all three on an international shipment to the USA.

I think you just convinced me not to do it and buy american! ha It's not worth it.

Thanks

JimL
9-Apr-2011, 13:20
If you ship via mail, i.e. EMS, the post office will charge a nominal fee for brokerage. In Canada its something like $8. I have never payed any "duty" on camera equipment coming into Canada, but am sometimes charged sales tax on the value. Often I just receive the package with no charges at all, even on things worth hundreds of dollars. On UPS express services brokerage is included in the shipping fee, so usually only tax is charged. Fedex express services charge $10 for brokerage. The only real kicker is UPS and Fedex ground services, which charge about $50 for brokerage, so I avoid those. Really nothing to be afraid of, but check with your local services to find out the details.

Blumine
9-Apr-2011, 14:31
I order from Japan. The USA does not charge any duties or taxes on photo gear from Japan. I have bought from companies and off eBay many times. Never had to pay a cent in taxes at all.

Good luck.

Blumine

Dan Fromm
9-Apr-2011, 15:03
I'm with Blumine. If the lens is shipped by mail USPS will not add brokerage fees or duties. They'll just deliver it.

If, however, the lens is shipped by a courier service, e.g., UPS or FedEx, they will usually charge brokerage fees. I say usually because I've bought books from sellers in Mexico who shipped UPS and UPS didn't charge brokerage fees.

DHL is a special case of courier. Its the German post office. Goods shipped from Germany by DLH will be delivered by USPS without fees or duties.

B.S.Kumar
9-Apr-2011, 17:30
I've shipped many items from Japan to the US using the mail system, and no one has ever complained of being gouged by USPS. UPS and Fedex do charge brokerage, and I've been hit with it when importing into Japan. But these are usually very high value items sent by companies who have contracts with the couriers. They get very low shipping charges, but importers end up paying brokerage, which can be significant. For occasional customers in Japan, Fedex and UPS are much more expensive, and far slower, than Japan Post.

Kumar

Nathan Potter
9-Apr-2011, 17:57
Ahh. This is fairly confusing, seems many have their hands in the til. Recently I've been charged by UPS to get packages through customs. I guess I see this is what is called "brokerage". I've paid $20 to $50 recently and had to pay it at delivery to my house.

I thought Texas was the master of interstate, intercountry shipping restrictions. When I moved here in 1984 I discovered that any carrier who shipped into Texas needed the blessing (license) from the Texas Railroad Commission and that did not include UPS (they were prohibited from operating in Texas). Fortunately that has changed.

But photogear is easier than wine. When I want to buy wine from out of state I have to have my wine shipped to a Texas distributor who must then sell it to a retailer who then sells it back to me for a total of half again the original price. A great deal for everyone but me. But the TABC and my congressman says they are guarding my interests.

Ah well, thank goodness photogear doesn't have to go through a Texas distributor.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
9-Apr-2011, 19:54
See:
http://www.usitc.gov/publications/docs/tata/hts/bychapter/1100c90.pdf

John Koehrer
10-Apr-2011, 09:47
I'm with Blumine. If the lens is shipped by mail USPS will not add brokerage fees or duties. They'll just deliver it.

If, however, the lens is shipped by a courier service, e.g., UPS or FedEx, they will usually charge brokerage fees. I say usually because I've bought books from sellers in Mexico who shipped UPS and UPS didn't charge brokerage fees.

DHL is a special case of courier. Its the German post office. Goods shipped from Germany by DLH will be delivered by USPS without fees or duties.

++
Same situation for the lenses I've bought from Japan. No import fees/duties at all.
The items were over $200 & under $300.

Ari
10-Apr-2011, 20:05
A good general rule is avoid buying something from another country that will be shipped to you via UPS, FedEx, or any of the other private couriers.
They have in-house brokers, hence they can charge whatever brokerage fees they wish.
USPS, EMS et al. are just fine for most of the shipments you're likely to do.

Marc B.
10-Apr-2011, 22:00
I've recently received lenses from Japan and Australia, (long before earthquake), for delivery to USA. About 8-9 days transit time for both, $20.-$25.USD shipping, with no further charges. Carriers were Japan Post and Aussie EMS(?) Post. Lenses were priced under $200.USD. No worries!

eddie
11-Apr-2011, 03:02
The USA usually does not collect import tax. Brokerage fees from private shippers may charge u. Not so if u use a PO. as said above.

The only time I had to pay anything was a $4000 lens, shipped from Europe by UPS. I had to pay $100 total "extra" charge.

ElRooster
12-Apr-2011, 16:14
Thanks a lot for the answers. I figured out what I need to do now.

gevalia
5-Sep-2011, 14:45
Bought $600 in parts from a guy in the UK for a 76 Lancia Scorpion I restored. 2 years later!!! I got a bill for the duty. And they tracked me down somehow to where I worked to collect.

Nathan Potter
5-Sep-2011, 18:19
Bob, any idea what the high percentage in the right hand column (2) refers to? Is that an import duty?

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

msk2193
5-Sep-2011, 18:30
Gabriel,

The only consideration you need to worry about is the value of the purchase. There are limits to the insurance limit through Japan and US mail; none through UPS or FedEx.

From here to Japan the limit is $3,600 give or take a few $$.

There are indeed 0 duties on camera lenses from Japan. Thanks Bob for PDFing the tariff schedule showing a whopping 1.1% duty from other countries - unless it is an unusual lens. Antique lenses will not be charged any duty either!

Daniel Moore
5-Sep-2011, 20:37
The last two lenses I've purchased from Japan via auction were shipped via EMS and had no fees of any kind associated, even though it was stated there may be and the buyer is responsible for them.

domaz
6-Sep-2011, 11:56
I wonder if the duties Bob is referring to are for new items? My understanding is used items have different import duties (maybe none) but I could be wrong.

gevalia
6-Sep-2011, 15:17
I wonder if the duties Bob is referring to are for new items? My understanding is used items have different import duties (maybe none) but I could be wrong.

I know there is something about marking them as a "gift" which eliminates duty.

domaz
7-Sep-2011, 07:13
I know there is something about marking them as a "gift" which eliminates duty.

Yes but that's clearly illegal (non-US buyers seem to want to gloss over that fact when they ask you to do it). Marking an item as used when it is used isn't lying and might decrease custom duties.