Imports and Customs

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Imports and Customs


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Old 15th September 2011, 04:56 PM
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How are French Customs when it comes to importing personal belongings?

UK Customs I have found to be strict in this regard, and I've had problems with mishandled documents (from the US) which led to erroneous charges, which I then had difficulty removing, if at all. Personal belongings would be mistaken for commercial, and I was charged an arm and a leg. Then also, if you order clothing from the US you have huge charges. Is this the case in France?

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Old 15th September 2011, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cates View Post
How are French Customs when it comes to importing personal belongings?

UK Customs I have found to be strict in this regard, and I've had problems with mishandled documents (from the US) which led to erroneous charges, which I then had difficulty removing, if at all. Personal belongings would be mistaken for commercial, and I was charged an arm and a leg. Then also, if you order clothing from the US you have huge charges. Is this the case in France?
If you are moving to take up residence in France anything and everything in your personal possessions over six months old is duty & VAT free. Anything newer is subject to customs duties and VAT. You must retain possession for 1 year to avoid future charges.

If you buy anything from overseas and have it shipped to France it will be subject to duties etc.

Rule 1 - keep receipts

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Old 15th September 2011, 08:15 PM
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Personal belongings (i.e. household goods) being shipped into France within one year (I think it is) of your arrival from outside the EU on a long-stay visa is supposed to be admitted duty free and free of VAT. It's the VAT you need to be careful about. As rynd2it mentions, anything you've purchased within 6 months of moving to France will be subjected to VAT unless you can show your receipts proving you've owned it longer.

If you order stuff from the US, it's automatically subject to VAT - but packages with declared value of under a certain amount (I think it's around 20 or 30 ) is usually allowed in with no attempt to collect VAT. Over that amount, the Douane is supposed to send an invoice for the VAT, usually within a week or two of your receiving it. The VAT is assessed based on the declared value PLUS the shipping cost.

In practice, they seem to let higher value parcels pass without VAT, especially those shipped by regular post. Commercial shippers (FedEx, UPS, etc.) are far more likely to be charged VAT on all parcels over whatever the current threshold is.

Some vendors (like Amazon) include the VAT in their shipping charges or in their pricing so you won't see a separate VAT bill.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 15th September 2011, 09:59 PM
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Is VAT the same as Customs Duty Tax? In the UK they charge a fairly high amount for Customs Duty.

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Old 16th September 2011, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
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Is VAT the same as Customs Duty Tax? In the UK they charge a fairly high amount for Customs Duty.
VAT is basically a sort of national sales tax. Customs Duty is normally a sort of tax imposed on certain categories of goods - usually to discourage their import. Though the use of the term "Customs Duty Tax" may include VAT in the UK - I'm not sure.

In these days of globalisation, there isn't all that much in the way of customs charges anymore. But VAT (at 20% or thereabouts) is pretty much always charged on incoming goods unless you qualify for a specific exemption from it.
Cheers,
Bev

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