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Subject: Why no U.S. import duties? rss

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Jonathan Harrison
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When I buy from the EU, at least from a retailer in the EU, the VAT always drops off—so prices are, not infrequently, pretty good. If it’s a small package, shipping usually cancels out savings from the dropped VAT, so I come out even.

But every time I place an order of this kind, the seller’s listing always alerts me in this wise:

“VAT included for EU buyers. Non-EU buyers will have their price reduced by the VAT. Be aware that you will be responsible for any import duties you may occur in your own country.”

Over the years I’ve purchased thousands of dollars of games and game-related materials from overseas: some from Europe, some from Asia. Several single orders have totaled over $500 apiece: I ran a two-shipment group import of Neue Heimat that came in two ~$750 packages.

But I’ve never once been asked to pay a duty or import fee. Why?

Is this not something the United States does? It seems as if this would be an opportunity the government wouldn’t readily miss. I see non-U.S. buyers complain all the time about their countries’ import fees: I understand the expense can be crippling for a buyer in Europe (not alone among other continents) to receive even a single game.

Or are U.S. duties levied hit and miss, and I’ve just been lucky all this time?
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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I have it on very good authority that (in the UK at least) they do not check every single package but only check a random selection.

Assuming it's the same in the US you were most likely just very lucky and have never had a parcel checked.
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Chris Johnson
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We're lucky. The US doesn't impose duties on games (or books, or movies, or music...I think all entertainment is exempt).

I've also imported many thousands of dollars of such items over the years (including more than a couple of $1,000+ orders of games that were physically huge), and have never had even the whisper of duties. They rarely even get opened for inspection.

That text from sellers is to cover their ass, and to make sure you are informed; as I said, we're an exception to the way these things usually work; even Canada usually ends up paying duties and fees.
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Darrell Hanning
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I suspect it may have to do with personal mailings, where you (and not a company) are identified as a recipient, and the size of the package does not merit the overhead and staffing involved in assessing such duties, much less collecting them. The collectible amount for a single mailing (if I read the material correctly) ranges from two to nine dollars. I think in that case, the federal government, in trying to enforce collection of that, would operate at a loss. (Not that they don't in other cases.)

Ah! - it looks as if Chris is correct:

Personal vs. Commercial Use: Many import regulations only apply to goods imported for commercial - business or resale - purposes. For instance, most goods imported for personal use are not subject to quota. - http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/basic_trade/internet_purcha...
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Jonathan Harrison
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DarrellKH wrote:
I think in that case, the federal government, in trying to enforce collection of that, would operate at a loss.
The deterrent value of this is a foreign concept to me, coming from Illinois, where we save time by printing the state budget in red ink. laugh
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slatersteven wrote:
I have it on very good authority that (in the UK at least) they do not check every single package but only check a random selection.


That is true but, more importantly, shipments under a certain value (think it is around £18) are exempt from VAT and those under a larger value (somewhere around £70?) are exempt from import duties.

Combine this with the habit of most of the Hong Kong and China suppliers of blatantly lying about the value of the goods and you rarely have to pay anything on imports from the far East.
 
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monchi
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galad2003 wrote:
The US doesn't do many tarrifs and duties. It is to promote free trade and encourages importing of goods.

Well it seems to have worked as Americans have a lot more success and pay lower costs to ship board games in country.

I also see a lot of people moaning about buying kickstarters who are in Europe. Again, Americans have less issues b/c we don't have the extra cost of VAT.

Europe decided they wanted more taxes, tarrifs and fees in exchange for more government services.

America chose less taxes etc. but less services.

We can leave which system is best for the RSP forum.


Sorry to burst your bubble but the US is no different that other countries when it comes to tariffs and duties. I am in importer/exporter of goods for the interior design sector. We pay more duties and tariffs sending stuff to the US than bringing them into Canada. Just the other day we had an order of leather that we brought in from a tannery we use that has a US warehouse. The leather comes from Italy. Importing the leather into Canada we paid NO duty. Our client then wanted to send some of the hides back down to the US. Since the "origin" of the leather was Italian we were dinged with a 2.8% duty on those hides.

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