Jump to content

irish customs help!


Recommended Posts

so i just shipped my jeffries over to a buyer in ireland, and naturally insured it for $6000USD, the purchase price. i indicated that it was a gift on the customs form, and went to sleep that night $250 lighter, but with every assurance that no customs fees would be charged to the buyer. the buyer e-mails me the next day saying that customs wants $1300 in taxes paid, so she says no way and I coordinate with ups to have it shipped back, another $250.

 

now just today i get a call from ups saying that irish customs has informed her that they will not release my beloved jeffries without collecting $1300 in VAT taxes. if i refuse to pay the taxes, the instrument is considered abandoned.

 

anyone know if i have any recourse? $1300 is absurd!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 53
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

so i just shipped my jeffries over to a buyer in ireland, and naturally insured it for $6000USD, the purchase price. i indicated that it was a gift on the customs form, and went to sleep that night $250 lighter, but with every assurance that no customs fees would be charged to the buyer. the buyer e-mails me the next day saying that customs wants $1300 in taxes paid, so she says no way and I coordinate with ups to have it shipped back, another $250.

 

now just today i get a call from ups saying that irish customs has informed her that they will not release my beloved jeffries without collecting $1300 in VAT taxes. if i refuse to pay the taxes, the instrument is considered abandoned.

 

anyone know if i have any recourse? $1300 is absurd!

Personally Chris, I would say that the onus was 100% on the buyer, to find out how much Irish Customs were liable to charge them?

Let's face it, even a ball park figure would have prepared them for the worst.

I think it is absolutely outrageous that you be lumbered with this Bill! :angry:

 

I hope you can sort this mess out without losing any more money.

 

Good Luck

 

Cheers

Dick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris

 

It would seem to me there are a couple of problems, and more questions than answers.

 

One, and it's a biggie, would be the "gift on the customs form". I suspect the agents in their eyes saw through that as a tax avoidance ploy. If that's what they see, it's not a good position to bargain from. If the suggestion to put that on the form came from the shipper, then I would ask them for further information. Sounds suspicious to me.

 

Second: In the sales agreement, I would hope there is defined, who pays what fees incurred. If she didn't know about the tax liability, I hope you got your money before shipping.

 

Third: In the normal course of business who is really liable for the fees; the shipper or the recipient? I really don't know.

 

I don't know if there is an ability to "return to sender". If there is, then do that. In any event, your poor concertina is a few thousand miles away, and if abandoned as they threaten, just might be auctioned off at some future date to recoup their fees.

 

Thanks :( :(

Leo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it's really bad, but a bit of research on the internet would have showed you that labeling a package as "gift" doesn't work with customs. It used to, but now they don't care, they check the insured price.

 

This being said, did she pay the 6000$ already? If she did, well, first thing is not to giver her money back. She should have known this was meant to happen, it was her responsability. So please tell me she paid in advance, as it should be with such transaction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was not aware that an American paid VAT.In fact there are area at Gatwick where the VAT on goods purchased in the UK can claimed back.

The VAT is probably being claimed on the purchaser who is making the transaction and surely if the goods are returned with no purchase being made either the VAT can be claimed back, or no VAT to the seller can be claimed.

This is just me thinking aloud so it may be completely wrong.A check with the VAT office may be worth considering,they are not ogres and will explain exactly your position.Sadly where TAX is involved it is no use pleading ignorance,so a plain detail of your rights need to be clarified.

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the past on thinking of buying an instrument in America and importing (into Ireland) I was led to believe that labelling it as a gift would do the trick in avoiding import duty. However on checking the Irish customs web page, I discovered that not only is there import duty but vat as well, regardless of the status of the package. Over a certain value, pay the price in other words. The only way is to name the contents with a very low value. But I suspect that this has been copped as well. Did one of the concertina makers who are shipping a demo model around the world not have to list it as a sample to avoid import duty? Although this is a awkward situation for all, I feel that it is surely the responsibility of the purchaser to have checked out our import laws- especially when everything including the dead are taxed in this country.What is especially galling in this country and in the instance of concertinas, it is not like the import law is protecting home based concertina makers as we don't have any unlike say in the instance of guitar makers etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I discovered that not only is there import duty but vat as well,

Same story up here in da North Larry.

 

We brought a Harp in from the States last year & were clobbered for VAT & Import Duty.

I don't remember exactly how much it was, but it was a fair % of the value.

 

Of course I checked first, before ordering the Harp, to see just how much it was liable to add to the overall cost.

 

Same thing happened to a couple of American Fifes we brought in & CDs too.

Although sometimes a couple of CDs will sneak through, under the wire. ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys are aware that if you travel abroad, you're going to have to declare the value of your purchases at customs... The reason is, they're going to tax you on it. They want you to buy IN your country (or in the EU if you're part of the EU), and if you don't, they still want your taxes. This is a basic principle that makes it easier to understand why you'd be taxed when you received an item, marked as gift or sample... it doesn't matter.

 

The trick is *not* to insure it and take a risk, or go get it yourself and don't declare it...

Edited by Azalin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Third: In the normal course of business who is really liable for the fees; the shipper or the recipient? I really don't know.

 

We've imported multiple instruments (and will be importing another shortly). In all cases, taxes were owed by the recipient.

 

--Dave

Hi Dave

 

Now I know. I hope I remember.

 

Thanks

Leo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last few years i have bought quite a few items from the US & Canada all have come through ok with no further charges but i think that the UK Customs are now tightening up due to the economic climate .

 

However Chris if you have been paid in full for the purchase of your Tina then it should no longer be your problem as I would suggest that the onus is on the purchaser for any tax /import duty payable in the country of the purchaser before final delivery to them.

 

Plus if they dont pay whats due it would be their loss .

 

Ignorance is no excuse for them either.

 

At this moment i am awaiting for a Tina fom Canada to arrive, but i am fully aware i may well have to pay some duty but will have to wait and see this time.

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for the input fellas - i should note, the last "her" in my story was the lady at ups, not the purchaser :)

 

the purchaser is not trying to get me to pay the tax, it's just going to be very difficult for her to pay it. but, you're right - it's out of my hands now, not my problem i suppose. at least she got the jeffries for a fair price. i guess the next step is to put her in touch with an irish customs agent, maybe they will be reasonable.

 

funny enough, i recently shipped a melodeon to ireland via USPS, decided to take a chance on not insuring it. it arrived safely, and only set me back $40. d'oh!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i guess the next step is to put her in touch with an irish customs agent, maybe they will be reasonable.

 

funny enough, i recently shipped a melodeon to ireland via USPS, decided to take a chance on not insuring it. it arrived safely, and only set me back $40. d'oh!

 

I'm afraid it's not a matter of being reasonable, in the sense of allowing oneself to be reasoned with. The idea of VAT is not as a protective tariff for home produce vs. foreign goods - it's just that the State wants money every time a purchase takes place. The VAT is always a percentage of the purchase price, varying from time to time and from country to country in the EU.

 

They are reasonable in a way, because if you give your old concertina to a neighbour, and he gives you 6000 Euros, that's fine. You get what he pays. I did this just the other day with my old autoharp, except I did it by post. Being within Germany, there was no paperwork, so no value had to be specified, and I didn't write an invoice, because the buyer wasn't going to deduct the price from her taxes as expenses.

I have received autoharps from the US and Canada, and had to collect them from the Customs Office - and pay VAT on them. They opened it in my presence, wondered what it was, and looked up their tables. The nearest thing they had was a "zither", so I got charged on that basis. Apparently different things are subject to different VAT rates.

 

In my case, I could reclaim the VAT, because I'm self-employed, and obliged to levy VAT on my customers. For that, I have the privilege of deducting the VAT that I pay to my suppliers or service providers. If your buyer were self-employed and liable for VAT, she'd have no problem. (Assuming that the system is uniform EU-wide.)

 

The only real way round VAT on foreign articles entering the EU is to use a personal courier, who travels with the article as his or her personal luggage. I know of cases where this has worked well. (Just hope that the unmusical friend who happens to be travelling to the country in question carrying "his" concertina isn't asked to play a piece for the customs officers. If he's quick-witted, he'll say he's just bought it and is on his way to Ireland for his very first concertina workshop :P )

 

As soon as an international parcel has a value on it (and even a gift has a value), the EU countries will charge a percentage of that value in VAT.

 

Cheers,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As soon as an international parcel has a value on it (and even a gift has a value), the EU countries will charge a percentage of that value in VAT.

How do you find out how much you will be charged...coz I've googled it and came up with nothing but garbled jargon that makes no sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm wiling to help but if you have the money in your pocket then it's not really your problem to sort out any longer. I hadn't realized you'd already been paid.

 

When I ship an instrument I seldom declare true value. True, if the plane went down I'd lose the instrument- but I believe in the math. Much better is to send registered for about $300. Nobody would steal it and jeopardize a job for that amount and registered is the safest (though perhaps longest) way to ship internationally. If you ship registered then it's behind lock and key every step of the way and there's accountability for every step of its journey. I've never had a problem shipping this way though it does take a strong constitution.

 

Sending an instrument with a value of $6,000 as a gift is a stretch, even if you're shipping it to one of your kids. But $300 is believable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This raises an awkward situation where a concertina that has a certain valuation is sent to a prospective customer on a sale or return basis.That the sale is on the condition that the purchaser is happy with the instrument before money changes hands.There is no financial contract ,no money has changed hands ,so no VAT is payable.If the purchase is made then the purchaser then pays the VAT on the goods.The word "Gift" covers this type of transaction.

My one and only trip to America was to take an Antique from the UK to a purchaser in New York for my Sister who deals in Oriental Antiques.I spent four hours sitting in the import office section of Kennedy Airport waiting for clearance as the description on the paperwork did not exactly match up with the item I was carrying.It was hot sweaty and so bad I remembered it recently as if I had spent a spell in prison.

When we went to Paris with Rosbif we did it properly all the instruments in the van were listed numbered and all the paperwork was in order.

When we arrived at Calais, because of the hour difference in time, the import checkers had it worked out that they went on a two hour lunch at exactly the time of arrival of the Ferry.We were held up for three hours before we got clearance.

You cannot win.

Al :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I swopped some instruments with a chap in the States a few years back, no money changed hands. I wrote down a lowish value on the flute and he received no problem with taxes - he wrote down a 'full value' of his instrument and I got hit for a couple of hundred Euro 'Duty' & VAT here in Ireland. I paid and then argued the case fully, sent pictures of the instrument to show it was clearly used in to the Revenue and got about half back. There is a claims procedure in Ireland if you think you've been unfairly treated.

 

Whatever about Duty tax (slap some old fee on), VAT (Sales Tax) is a funny one since as far as I know, VAT is normally charged by registered businesses on new goods and services etc. When I invoice someone abroad, I can invoice as VAT free for export and the customer pays their local VAT authority when they receive in their country. Two questions arise here: the instrument was Used, any VAT originally due when it was first made has long since been collected - how can the Revenue justify charging VAT twice? Chrisstevens more than likely is not a registered for VAT and therefore does not have to collect it or account for it and goods s/he sells shouldn't be liable for it. Look at it this way - even suppose Chrisstevens had made the Jeffries!! and was selling it new to someone in Ireland and s/he was not registered for VAT - she would not charge VAT on it to customers and they would not be liable to it.

 

VAT is a very simple tax in theory but the tax authorities make up very complicated rules to administer it. As far as I can see in the case of old instruments from unregistered sellers, they are simply chancing their arms and making it up as they go along!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I buy a lot of stuff from the US both on individual web sites and through Ebay. I've never quite figured out what the crossover point is but it seems to vary randomly between 125 and 200 USD before you get hit for taxes. Anything over that value declared and I know I'll get hit (in Euros) for around 20% of the dollar price as import taxes. That matches pretty well with the 1300 Euro you mention. I know it's going to happen and allow for that in my total price calculations. Things still work out cheaper than buying here in Ireland, so it's worth it. The onus for payment is always on the importer. The only time the exporter should get in trouble is if they lie about the value when exporting, which is illegal in the US.

 

<edit>When my Rochelle arrived the other day I noticed that the post office has started adding a 6 Euro "Post office clearing charge" that I have never noticed before. Wonder how long it will be before that starts escalating as well?</edit>

Edited by Mayofiddler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


Make a Donation


×
×
  • Create New...