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Incoming shipping/Customs info needed

Hi All, I just made a 10K Euro purchase of medals (cast and struck) and three silver pattern coins from Germany and a company I have done lots of business with in the past. This time around they are treating everything differently from previous purchases including one from last year that was 50% more valuable but shipped in one package (no charges upon US arrival with exception of FedEx handling fees).

They want to ship this material in weekly packages of 1000E or less and charge me 50E per package shipping. They say they are doing this so as to avoid creating a customs declaration.

The only difference between the two mentioned packages is that this one contains material from 1920-1930 Germany, so, not one hundred years old.

Would this require me to pay an import tax? I am buying for my own collection and not for selling. I really don't like the idea of them shipping at weekly intervals all the way through the holidays.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Comments

  • 1984worldcoins1984worldcoins Posts: 595 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 22, 2023 12:15PM

    Well, for everything I buy from US I pay import taxes ( i live in EU) so I guess it is the same both ways, although that could be wrong.

    Coinsof1984@martinb6830 on twitter

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 22, 2023 12:22PM

    There is no Customs duty on numismatic material entering the US at all, even if for resale. But all international shipments arriving to the US should require a Customs declaration I think, even if it isn't actually inspected. And anything over $2500 requires formal entry (usually via a broker).

    By what means are these shipments being sent?

    I would think one declaration and one shipment would be safer from a loss-prevention standpoint.

    Edited to add: The HTS rules are here. Coins fall under Chapter 97. https://hts.usitc.gov

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, I've always used 'numismatic material' for medals in the past with the addition that it was 100 years or older, which they usually are.

    Perhaps they don't want to use a broker as in the past? When they did, it still just came through FedEx. Maybe they're trying to save me some money but I'd rather pay to get everything all at once.

    They are closed for the weekend and probably hanging at the Oktoberfest until Monday but I'll read up at the link provided.

    Thanks.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cacheman said:
    Thanks, I've always used 'numismatic material' for medals in the past with the addition that it was 100 years or older, which they usually are.

    Perhaps they don't want to use a broker as in the past? When they did, it still just came through FedEx. Maybe they're trying to save me some money but I'd rather pay to get everything all at once.

    They are closed for the weekend and probably hanging at the Oktoberfest until Monday but I'll read up at the link provided.

    Thanks.

    There is very little for the sender to do other than a Customs declaration describing the items, price, HTS codes, and names/addresses along with 3 copies of the commercial invoice. They don't need a broker. As the importer, you do since it's US Customs that needs to be cleared. (Though, maybe there is an inspection in some countries?)

    I would think even with ten 1000 Euro shipments, if US Customs even knows about a few of them, they will become suspicious and start inspecting. And from experience, they don't repack very well.

    Since they are less than 100 years old and non-gold, I would think they need to use HTS code 9705.39.0040.
    Metals and weights might also be needed (I usually just estimate).

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why not just fly to Germany, put them in your carryon, and carry them home?

    Last time I had such a shipment from Munich, that’s what I did. Had a nice vacation for free!

  • I would think even with ten 1000 Euro shipments, if US Customs even knows about a few of them, they will become suspicious and start inspecting.

    Agreed. It's been a while, but also in general, anything fairly bulky/heavy gets checked.

    @pruebas, if over $2500/requiring Formal Entry, will FedEx's brokerage service automatically offer/arrange to handle this for you?? I always stayed under the cutoff to avoid hassle, but still would often get a multi-page receipt from FedEx brokerage about it (and how there was zero charge... guess they wanted to make it seem like they were doing something for you).

    Also, I believe there is a nominal "Formal Entry" percentage fee... not actually a tariff, but just a processing fee. Is that correct?

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    Why not just fly to Germany, put them in your carryon, and carry them home?

    Last time I had such a shipment from Munich, that’s what I did. Had a nice vacation for free!

    I had thought about that but spent all disposable funds on this material. Such is the life of a poor, retired collector. Really not into the drunken crowds of Munich at this time either. :D

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    @realeswatcher said:

    I would think even with ten 1000 Euro shipments, if US Customs even knows about a few of them, they will become suspicious and start inspecting.

    Agreed. It's been a while, but also in general, anything fairly bulky/heavy gets checked.

    @pruebas, if over $2500/requiring Formal Entry, will FedEx's brokerage service automatically offer/arrange to handle this for you?? I always stayed under the cutoff to avoid hassle, but still would often get a multi-page receipt from FedEx brokerage about it (and how there was zero charge... guess they wanted to make it seem like they were doing something for you).

    Also, I believe there is a nominal "Formal Entry" percentage fee... not actually a tariff, but just a processing fee. Is that correct?

    Things are becoming clearer through my fog of age...that's exactly what FedEx does. The package, which weighs about 12lbs, will come into Memphis to the "Fedex Trade Networks Transport & Brokerage, warehouse. Since they have my tax ID, addy,and all it should only take a day or so to forward to me on the west coast.

    Once I hear from the dealer I will ask why they wanted to send 10 weekly packages. Surely it's not going to cost $450 to receive this box. Perhaps they were afraid that I would have excessive import fees. Thank God we don't pay, yet, what they do in the EU.

    I'll bump this with an update once I hear something. Maybe this info will help others in need! Thanks guys! S

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    After reminding the dealer what we did last time, using FedEx, they repackaged and it looks like it is finally in the air as of today.

    As an aside, I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with WISE for making payments to Europe. Their fees continue to go up and they are beginning to smell a lot like PP. For this transaction it took ELEVEN days to arrive in the dealers bank account after it was immediately sucked from my bank account. It used to be seconds/minutes. To make matters worse, their support sucks and they feign ignorance when it comes to the actual location of the funds...in this case, I think they speculate using customer money. They get one more chance, otherwise I'm looking for a new service.

    :)

  • Interesting comments on WISE. I have also noticed the fees going up and in the past I have had dealers tell me the money shows up almost instantly. In fact last September (2022) I was in the hotel room with my dealer and sent him the money for the coins I selected and within 3 mins his bank notified him the funds were there.

    Two weeks ago some coins I bought off MA Shops from a dealer, I have brought many, many coins from I again used a wire. WISE had blocked this seller from getting money and they would not tell me why. I used Xe to send the money. I stopped using Xe about two years ago since WISE fees were lower but they are about the same now. It does take longer for the money to get there with Xe.

  • YQQYQQ Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    Why not just fly to Germany, put them in your carryon, and carry them home?

    Last time I had such a shipment from Munich, that’s what I did. Had a nice vacation for free!

    so, in that case, you paid the VAT in Germany???? or did you re-claim it?
    H

    Today is the first day of the rest of my life
  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 13, 2023 12:11PM

    @YQQ said:

    @pruebas said:
    Why not just fly to Germany, put them in your carryon, and carry them home?

    Last time I had such a shipment from Munich, that’s what I did. Had a nice vacation for free!

    so, in that case, you paid the VAT in Germany???? or did you re-claim it?
    H

    In my case, I asked the auction company not to charge me because I was exporting from the EU, but they were required by law to charge VAT when picked up in person. So I wired payment including VAT. But they gave me the form to have completed (by German Customs, at the airport) and I mailed it back to them. Customs only did a very cursory inspection at the airport and signed/stamped the papers.

    Since the VAT refund money was already in Euros, I had the auction firm wire it to a German dealer who promptly spent it on my behalf! B) (I did get some good coins though.)

    Note that this requires a direct flight to my home country (USA in this case). Had I connected somewhere in Europe, it would have been very difficult to get Customs officials in that country to certify that the goods left the EU. I connected in Atlanta instead.

  • YQQYQQ Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You were lucky..
    I have done it many times and sometimes even claimed the cash on exit from Germany from a company who is authorized to refund the VAT. they usually took 30% of the refund plus a one-time fee..
    However, I have left the EU from other EU countries and obtained export from the EU confirmation and customs statements without problems.
    BUT whenever you do this, YOU must have the items inspected BEFORE you check in and have all receipts to hand to export customs. They might want to see some items to verify. it is well worth it as 19% refund could be a lot of money....

    Today is the first day of the rest of my life
  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @YQQ said:
    You were lucky..
    I have done it many times and sometimes even claimed the cash on exit from Germany from a company who is authorized to refund the VAT. they usually took 30% of the refund plus a one-time fee..
    However, I have left the EU from other EU countries and obtained export from the EU confirmation and customs statements without problems.
    BUT whenever you do this, YOU must have the items inspected BEFORE you check in and have all receipts to hand to export customs. They might want to see some items to verify. it is well worth it as 19% refund could be a lot of money....

    I’m thinking it was 8% at that time. Germany increased the VAT rate on numismatic items from a special reduced rate a few years back.

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    Just a quick update.

    Everything arrived safely about two weeks ago. It's the first time that every single internal packet was inspected. Seems odd since FedEx knows who I am and whom I deal with. Certainly glad they didn't manhandle the four patterns and larger 60mm silver pieces that were included with the cast material.

    Received my obligatory 'handling fee' letter from FedEx that added an additional 25% to the shipping costs but I guess it's worth it knowing that there is some semblance of security over DHL/USPS.

    Only a couple more small packages coming from Germany and Netherlands by the end of next week and then I button down any purchases until after the holidays are over.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    FedEx has no control over what US Customs chooses to inspect. It might have been X-Rayed and chosen for hand inspection based on a funny look in the X-Ray, much like at the airport. Or it could have been totally random.

    Did they at least repack it decently so the contents survived the rest of the trip?

    And believe it or not, Customs gets most of that fee you were charged. I think FedEx only takes a $15 fee for fronting the money to the government on your behalf.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 13, 2023 2:02PM

    Since I just got my FedEx Customs charges, I thought I would update this for posterity.

    My MDC invoice was 2380 Euros plus 20% commission and shipping (over the USD2500 amount for requiring formal entry).

    FedEx (incorrectly, I believe) also included the 20% buyer's premium as part of the price of the item. It seems hit or miss depending on the invoice. (The Noonans invoice Customs charges did not include the buyer's premium.)

    The HTC codes for my items were 9705.39.0040 and 9705.31.0065, both of which are correct and duty free.

    Then there was a Merchandise Processing Fee paid to US Customs of 0.003464 times the USD cost, so $10.48.
    This is not a duty, but a processing fee due to US Customs.

    BUT the minimum MPF is $31.67, so even if FedEx excluded my buyer's premium from the calculation, the minimum fee was still higher than the actual MPF.

    And FedEx charges $12.00 for advancing the funds to Customs (since there is probably some subset of people who don't pay and they are basically self-insuring for this). I guess this fee also goes toward the staff to process the formal entry.

    Recap:

    Customs Duty: $0.00
    MPF (minimum): $31.67 [overrides the $10.48 actual]
    FedEx Disbursement Fee: $12.00
    Total Due: $43.67

  • cachemancacheman Posts: 3,111 ✭✭✭

    I think it's for the first round of beers after their shift...

  • jt88jt88 Posts: 2,781 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just received my coins from sb hk auction. Sb used FedEx so I have to pay 8% customs fee.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jt88 said:
    I just received my coins from sb hk auction. Sb used FedEx so I have to pay 8% customs fee.

    Probably the China tariff. All coins imported into the US are duty-free.

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