Secret Santa Shipping and Duties/ Buying INFO
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Secret Santa is upon us. The BGG one is here. RPGG here, VGG and the rest should be up soon, and I will update ocordingly. One of the very few problems we have when sending a gift is to know what can be done or not when sending for a foreign country. Duties, taxes, prohibitions are all complicated. This geeklist aim to to help the Geeks know what they can andor should do when sending an item across the globe.
How does this list work
Add a game for any domain to the list, which represents the country. And preferable has the Country name on the title. Explain the rules, if possible follow the template I used for the Brazil's Entry. If you want to discuss, ask a question or make a correction to a given country info, just reply to that item. Try to make it as through as possible, and if possible add info not only pertinent for Board Games but also for RPGs and Video Games.
We had a similar geeklist on the previous years, the links follow below. They are a very good resource you should also check. If there is contradictory info between this one and those, assume that the laws change and what shows here is more updated.
2009 - Secret Santa International Shipping / Buying Info
2010 - Secret Santa International Shipping List - Duties and Taxes
Board Game: Québec
[Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:710]
27 World Series titles and counting!
Items under 20$ are exempt from duties/taxes, gift or not.
Items marked as Gifts are exempt from duties/taxes if under 60$ if they are sent by an individual, not a business. If the gift value exceeds 60$, the recipient will be forced to pay for duty/taxes of the amount exceeding 60$. (A gift of 75$ would be taxed on 15$)
The 60$ gift exemption on duties/taxes won't be valid for tobacco, alcoholic or advertising materials.
Sending via Ground Courier (UPS, FedEx) will result in large brokerage fee for the recipient. Please use standard postal services (USPS, Canada Post)
The absolute best way to send games to Canadians is via Canadian online gaming stores. Many of them provide a fixed shipping cost regardless of the order size/cost. There are so many stores that a local pickup may be possible for no shipping cost to you! This would require the sender to inquire with stores though.(Please help me fill in the location of these stores, and add some more folks!)
A few great online game stores in Canada:
www.espacejeux.tv (Montreal, QC, prices include taxes)
godboma.com (Rosemere, QC) Currently unavailable
www.boardgamebliss.com (Toronto, ON)
www.meeplemart.com (Toronto, ON)
www.greatboardgames.ca (Kitchener, ON - formerly germangames.com)
playtimegamesonline.com (Ottawa, ON)
levalet.com (Montreal, QC)
gamesforall.ca/shop (Ottawa, ON)
www.fungamescafe.com (Mississauga, ON)
www.boardgames.ca (St. Albert, AB)
well.ca (limited games, free shipping)
For those 1 or 2 people that have to send a package to Luxembourg:
As a European Union member, Luxembourg is like most other European countries regarding size and goods allowed. From within Europe, there shouldn't be any special taxes added for parcels. From outside Europe, the VAT may be added (15%), plus fees. Writing "Gift" on the customs form probably helps (I admit I'm not an expert).
It is probably easier to order online. Since most of us are quadrilingual, we can play German, French, or English games, though preferences for one language over the other may vary. Any online retailer in Germany, France, or the UK should be okay.
www.amazon.de ships free to Luxembourg, although they often use a 3rd-party-vendor, who may add a moderate shipping cost.
www.spiele-offensive.de has good prices and very low shipping costs.
www.philibertnet.com also delivers to Luxembourg and has a varied offer.
ETA (copied from MMM's post here):
Boardgameshop.eu participates in the Secret Santa program
If you add "BGG Secret Santa" as a remark we will:
1) Gift wrap the game(s) free of charge.
2) Add a discount coupon (10%) to the package.
You can also add a message for your target. If you do, we will add it to the package.
(Shipping to Luxembourg is 10€ for any size)
Taxes and Duties
Just like any EU country, if the package is sent from outside European Union, depending on the value of the package, the size of it and the mood of the Postal Office representatives, you could end up having to pay taxes and VAT for what you get.
If the package is marked as "gift", there is a higher chance that the receiving end won't have to pay any fees, but there is no guarantee whatsoever.
The easiest way to avoid the taxes:
1. Try and place an order with the Romanian gaming stores. Last year, they've been very helpful (I think all of them have very good English speakers staff that could assist guys overseas with their orders), by offering to personalize the gifts to fit the Christmas theme - Christmas packaging, post cards with custom messages from the buyer, etc. These small things that makes the experience more rewarding. Also, with an online shop in the biggest cities, you have a good option no matter where your target is.
The online shops on the Romanian market, with their owner name so you can contact them more easily (between brackets, the city where the store is located in) - listed alphabetically. Listed the free shipping threshold, where applicable:
[Bucharest] BoardGames.ro - Owner: Dan. Free shipping on orders over 400 RON.
[Bucharest] CreativeBoardGaming.ro - Owners: Ioana, Cosmin and Alex.
[Cluj] Cutia.ro - Owner: Andras. Free shipping on orders over 150 RON.
[Bucharest] GamesStop.ro - Owner: Cristian.
[Iasi] LexShop.ro - Owner: Alex. Free shipping on orders over 150 RON.
[Bucharest] LordsOfTheBoards.ro - Owner: Tudor. Free shipping on orders over 250 RON using the national postage company, courier free over 350 RON.
[Bucharest] RedGoblin.ro - Owner: Tudor.
[Bucharest] RegatulJocurilor.ro - Owners: Costi and Alex. Free shipping on orders over 300 RON.
[Bucharest] ReginasiNebunul.ro - Owner: Alex. Free shipping on orders over 400 RON.
[Timisoara] TabladeJoc.ro - Free shipping on orders over 400 RON.
[Bucharest] TarabadeJocuri.ro - Owner: Mihai. Free shipping on some games - listed in the game's description.
2. Order from an online shop within EU. Thankfully, there are lots of online shops in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, etc, so there is enough diversity for a Secret Santa when trying to get a Christmas present for someone in European Union. I wouldn't want to list them all in here, you could probably find them under each country's listing in this geeklist. But as a fallback method, if you are not able to find antyhing in the above Romanian shops (they don't stock Antiquity or Dune and you want to surprise your target that much), there are alternatives and shipping costs are not that prohibitive within EU (except if it's from UK and it exceeds 2Kg - that would be insanely expensive).
Any person can receive any amount of parcels up to 31kg and up to combined cost of 1000 euros per month without getting taxed.
That basically means that there is no import tax for board games here.
So you can buy games at any shop in the world and get them shipped here.
Shipping costs vary, but you might expect shipping to be at least 50% of the games you ship. This may very well be up to 100% of the costs. Minimum costs of shipping is around 40-50$ (varies per region) from USA.
If you ship few games per box, you will get a nice discount in shipping costs per game.
Almost all internet board games shops ship to Russian Federation.
Postal service here is very slow, for example when I ordered a game from USA, it went all the way from sender home in California to Moscow in 3 days, and it took Russian Post full two weeks to get it delivered to me.
If you can, use EMS postal service, as it is much faster.
So when thinking about dates of delivery, you should estimate it to be full month in optimistic case. If the target is not from Moscow, and from some other town, you may safely add another two weeks to that.
You may also try to order games from local game shops here, but those are very few. One of the most popular ones is:
Sadly they don't have English interface on their website, so you might want to contact them by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Big problem with local game shops is that they don't have many items. You can find mostly popular games, but they try to sell mostly localized versions of the games. English games are very few and often out of stock. For example, only 7 of the BGG top 20 list games are available now.
It would be very helpful if someone added more local game shops websites, as I know only this one.
EDIT1: If you need help with contacting anyone in Russia, feel free to pm me.
EDIT2: amazon.de has a flat ship rate to Russia of 7 or 8 euros. But the games are more expensive then in other game shops. So this might be a reasonable alternative.
Also note, Russian geeks prefer english games, as much more people know English than German.
EDIT3: Video games use PAL format here. NTSC versions will not be able to get played.
If your target is in Japan (like me!) then I would urge you to check prices carefully before ordering a game in Japan because of the current exchange rate. Goods in Japan are really expensive for those earning anything other than Yen (and I think one or two other currencies) so getting the game in your own country and sending it over will probably work out cheaper - or at least a similar price (especially from the US where games are cheap. In the UK games are a little more expensive so it might work out cheaper to buy in Japan and not in the UK + shipping).
There also aren't as many large online stores here for games so choice is lower, though you may see what your target wants. The danger is also that more and more companies like Hobby Japan are releasing games in Japanese. Good if your target speaks Japanese (or ARE Japanese), bad if they're stupid like me. When you hunt down an online store you may also find yourself up against an indecipherable wall of nonsense. That's a mix of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana and yes, it's indecipherable.
Anyway, up to 100,000 yen ($1,000 approx), tariff on toys and games is 3%. However I have never had to pay ANYTHING for packages or games I've received in the past (though I can't speak for others on here in Japan). Those have included Christmas packages from parents, video games with price info on the parcel, packages from Amazon, boardgames for two Secret Santas (both of which pretty large boxes!) and more.
Just clearly label as gift and downplay the value a little if in doubt (unless that's fraud. Is that fraud or something?) Personally I'd pay 3% anyway. People say that anything under around $100 will get through without problems anyway but I'd need to check on the certainty of that. Like I said though, I've never had any problems.
Just DON'T buy and send us leather shoes! Their duty is 30% or 4,500 yen, whichever is higher. That's crazy prices. So please, no shoes.
The GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 7% in Singapore only kick in if the total value of the package is above SG$400 (approx. US$316). The main barrier to getting games to Singapore would be the high shipping costs from the States. However, there are a couple of online game stores here, but they do not carry the latest and best:
We have one store with board games, but often enough it's cheaper to buy a game on amazon and have it sent over, than to buy it there.
The store's site is: http://www.crnaluknja.si/ and they offer free postage for orders above 50€. If you contact them, they'll surely be willing to help you with any questions and if you have any problems you can just contact me and I'll try to help. So this is one option.
Second and third are http://www.amazon.de/?tag=article-geekdo07-21 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/?tag=article-geekdo-21. Haven't ordered from UK one, but from Germany, I received stuff in as little as four days. Still, I recommend you send things a bit early, 'cause you know how post offices are around Christmas. To avoid any problems, it's still best to mark the package as a gift, so the customs don't look too much into it.
Shipping from outside the EU is something I don't recommend. For packages valued over 21€, your target here will have to pay a lot of taxes and it will take a long while before he/she can sort everything out at customs and probably won't receive his/her gift until next year. So if you want to send something personalised, do so by marking the package as a gift and set it's value under 20€. But even without all the customs problems, it will took almost a fortune to pay postage from outside EU, so I think it's better to buy something on an European site and rather spend money on an extra game than on postage. If you have any other problems with your Slovenian target, you can contact me and I'll try to help you out.
Anyhow, I just hope I didn't just write this for my own SS, and that there are some other Slovenian people joining SS If anyone has anything to add, feel free to do so.
This might come in handy too: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/71514/buying-board-gam...
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
In Finland, shipments from outside EU will get added customs (fortunately 0% for board games, but may be more for other products) and VAT (23%) on top of the whole value, including shipping.
However, customs and VAT are not charged, if they are less than 10 euros. This means that anything under 40 euros or so is safe.
Of course, not everything gets caught by customs, but if you want to play it safe, get the present from within EU. In that case it's all tax free.
Taxes & Import duties
Normally, everything from OUTSIDE EU is subject to import tax. The VAT is usually 25% (books 6%!) and in addition you probably have to pay a handling fee as well, usually around 100SEK (~15USD). This means that a $70 game could cost your target another $30 or more.
Stores & Suggestions
Stores in Sweden:
serieborsen.se is one of very few stores in Sweden that have a page in english. (This happens to be my local FLGS as well)
www.worldofboardgames.com (Best selection of boardgames in Sweden)
www.sfbok.se (Bookstore with good selection of games)
Also, ordering from England or Germany will work - assumiong it's ok with your target to get games in german.
In the past I have used and can recommend:
amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, magierspiele.de, Heron Games but I'm sure most stores in both countries will be able to help you with an order to Sweden.
Tokyo Game Market here I come!
Sorry if I'm slow in reading mails. I'm currently working hard on some Alley Thieves
I believe there are no taxes for shipping games to Japan. The ony time I've ever had to pay tax was something via fedex from kickstarter that was $200, but it wasn't a board game.
Board Game stores in Japan
If you have problems ordering you can email me, I've ordered from Sugorokuya & BGF. Sugorokuya provides wrapping. The problem is that most of the games at these stores are in Japanese, so they might not be suitable for the English gamer targets (like me hehe, as I cant read much Japanese at all hehe)
Amazon Japan's board game section
GAMEFIELD - A newer board game shop, I've ordered games successfully from them
Sugorokuya - I've linked it to show the games by price. So hopefully that'll make things easier
Board Game Freak (one of my favourite stores)
Yellow Submarine on Rakuten (English page)
Tendays - haven't shopped here before
Joy Games (Tokyo)
Drosselmeyers in Nakano
INTERNATIONAL STORES that ship to Japan
http://www.nobleknight.com/ - this place ships internationally. I've never used this site before.
Cardhaus Games - also ships to Japan within 20 days. But it's going through a change in management, so I hear that sometimes there's a bit of confusion with the shipping.
Amazon.com sometimes ships games to Japan
Buying board games at bookdepository.com - ooh free shipping to Japan. BUT, I tried a test run last month-this month, and ordered 3 books, 2 expansions, 1 netrunner. The books and expansions arrived (a little squished) within a week, netrunner didn't arrive and it's 1.5 months now. My friend's board game also didn't arrive. But other friends did. So it might be hit and miss.
Taxes and Duties
Article number 7 of the Law of Ukraine on the order of import and customs clearance of personal effects, goods and vehicles tells us that the duty is not imposed on a parcel whose value does not exceed 200 (300 if the goods are indivisible) euros, and the weight of 50 kg. Otherwise, when you need to pay customs duties, the recipient must pay 20% tax on the value of these goods, as well as 20% VAT on this amount. Some categories of goods subject to excise tax in addition. The cost of shipping and insurance costs when determining the posting is ignored (if the weight does not exceed 100 kg, and the cost of 1000 euros).
Shipping costs vary, but you might expect shipping to be at least 40-60% of the games you ship. This may very well be up to 100% of the costs.
If you ship few games per box, you will get a nice discount in shipping costs per game.
Almost all internet board games shops ship to Ukraine.
Postal service here is extremly slow, all the way from sender home to Kiev, took Ukrainian Post full two weeks to get it delivered.
And please indicate the true value of the goods. If the parcel is marked as gift, the Customs may detain the package for inspection and to open it. And then send to the recipient in the bag (which often means damage to the contents of the parcel).
Here's my list of Ukraine online retailers, there will be others:
P.S. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. And I can help you to contact with retailers.