Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past, my context for understanding customs charges was solely in the context of shipping goodies from the U.S. to friends in France, but now that I live here, I want to buy something for myself from the U.S. and have it shipped here to me.

If I order something (a used bicycle component with a declared value of $250) from the U.S. and have the seller ship the item to me... would I pay customs charges at La Poste? Thanks.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
It's not a customs charge as such. It's more likely to be VAT (at 20% of the declared value - or the invoice value - plus the transport charges).

Some US vendors who ship to Europe will handle any VAT along with the shipping charges. (Amazon.com tends to do this.) You can usually see the "customs" and VAT listed when you order, either separately or included in the "shipping" charges.

Where the vendor doesn't handle the charges, it depends a bit on what shipper they use. The large international shippers like FedEx and DHL will usually notify you when they have received your shipment in France and include a message to please have a check for €X ready to give to the delivery guy. Other shippers may send you a separate invoice for the VAT (and their "handling charges") either before they will deliver or immediately after delivery.

But do check to see if the vendor will ship outside the US and if so, see how they are going to ship it. If they won't ship outside the US, there are packaging forward services (such as MyUS.com or reship.com ) that will set you up with an address in the US where your stuff can be shipped, and then they will box it up and forward it (for a fee, obviously). The package forwarders are usually more practical if you are ordering from a couple different US vendors and want to have your purchases consolidated into a single shipment to France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Bev.

The item would be shipped USPS Global Express Mail, using the standard USPS Customs Declaration Form.

French postal service would handle things by holding the package, notifying me, and then collecting any taxes when the package is picked up?

The seller is a one-person, specialty shop, not through eBay, Amazon, or other internet retailer.

Are there any considerations with French VAT for an item that is used versus new?

Finally, if I bought an item from an EU member country and had the item shipped here, do VAT charges still take place?

Thanks.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
Thanks, Bev.

The item would be shipped USPS Global Express Mail, using the standard USPS Customs Declaration Form.

French postal service would handle things by holding the package, notifying me, and then collecting any taxes when the package is picked up?
Maybe. It's also possible they will simply send you a bill for the VAT/charges and after they have received your payment, they'll deliver your package. (This may be another of those things where the exact procedure can vary by local office.)

Are there any considerations with French VAT for an item that is used versus new?
Not as far as I know. I know of someone who had left a pair of shoes at a friend's house while visiting in the US. The friend mailed them back to him here in Europe, and declared a nominal value for the shoes. The guy had to pay VAT on the declared value plus the postage before they would be delivered.
Finally, if I bought an item from an EU member country and had the item shipped here, do VAT charges still take place?
Within the EU, no, you won't be charged VAT on top of the price you were quoted for the item. The VAT is already included in the posted price of the item and for a merchandise purchase, you're already paying the VAT for the country in which you made the purchase.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
If they won't ship outside the US, there are packaging forward services (such as MyUS.com or reship.com ) that will set you up with an address in the US where your stuff can be shipped, and then they will box it up and forward it (for a fee, obviously). The package forwarders are usually more practical if you are ordering from a couple different US vendors and want to have your purchases consolidated into a single shipment to France.
Cheers,
Bev
No, no, no! Puleeeze do not use this company. One of the biggest rogues on the internet. They WILL totally rip you off. I had absolutely horrible experiences with them. Short story: they give you an initial fake low price estimated shipping cost. You accept. Then they pile on extra charges of double or triple the original fake estimate. The way they work it, by this stage, there isn't an option to agree/cancel the transaction. You're screwed!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
As they say, "your mileage may vary" - I've dealt with them a number of times and they seem to be more reliable than some of the other forwarding services. But I suppose it depends on a number of different factors.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
If your item is sent trough a postal service,it will be delivered by La Poste or one of their subsidiary. Your item being second hand,I would think it is in your interest to have it declared as such especially if it obviously looks second-hand (old,no retail pack),in case a customs officer looks at it. As far as I know there is no vat on imports from the us,value added tax applies where value is added,so what you will be charged is import duty that may vary according to the type of item. if customs suspect anything,their new tactics are,to just sit on the item until you contact them. if they don't,sometimes your item will fly under radar (especially untracked mail) or you will be charged and have to pay the person delivering it. You are entitled to a receipt of course; The parcel will have a sticker on it saying it's being taxed,and this person can only take payment on behalf of customs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Complicated and uncertain... just what I feared. Thanks.
I don't know if it's complicated ,but uncertain you are right because with some experience you get to figure how much you'll have to pay for the type of things you usually buy; Then cross fingers: If you pay less,or if it went through with no tax,then it may be time to indulge in a euromillion lottery ticket ...
If you buy electronics,if you buy items that are new and sent by large retailers using high-speed shipping,you are 100% sure you will be taxed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Macy's

In the past, my context for understanding customs charges was solely in the context of shipping goodies from the U.S. to friends in France, but now that I live here, I want to buy something for myself from the U.S. and have it shipped here to me.

If I order something (a used bicycle component with a declared value of $250) from the U.S. and have the seller ship the item to me... would I pay customs charges at La Poste? Thanks.
Hi, I bought a cashmere sweater from Macy's.com last Christmas and chose not to pay import duty. The postage was a bit high but I got a deal on the sweater. It was delivered to my mail box here in France without asking for payment. The email confirmation came from "Borderfree", but the package said "Macy's".
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top