Customs Duty Best Practices
When most people start out on eBay. the thought of buying or selling
internationally can be a bit daunting. However, trading internationally can literally open up a world of
If you're an eBay buyer, or looking to import items from foreign wholesalers, you might find that the products
you want are considerably cheaper in other countries.
If you're selling
on eBay, accepting international buyers means there are potentially millions more customers who could buy your
items. But whether you are bringing items into your country, or mailing them out, you need to be aware of the
impact Customs duty can have on your trading.
Customs duty is a tax charged on the import of goods from outside your country. How much is charged depends on
what is being imported, and how much it's worth - some items can even be exempt from customs duty.
To make sure you don't run into any problems, here's some information on customs duty best
practices and how to reduce your importing
If you're selling internationally, always include a note on your listing, highlighting that
buyers are responsible for any duty or taxes that are due when you ship the item to their country.
Many international buyers won't be aware that the price they pay for an item isn't just their winning bid and
the shipping. If the item they've bought is over a certain value, before they can collect it when it arrives in
their country, they will have to pay the customs duty on it.
In some cases they may also have to pay a Value Added or Sales Tax, so buying from abroad can become more
expensive than they realised.
If you do what you can to make your international customers aware of this, you shouldn't run into
any problems. You might even want to e-mail the winning bidder to make sure they are aware they will have to pay
any duty or taxes which are due.
Your international customers will have to pay duty based on the value of the goods they
Make sure the customs declarations you complete when you ship an item internationally, are filled out properly
with the correct details, and the value of the item is the price the buyer paid to win the item.
Don't be tempted, or persuaded, to put a lower price so your customer doesn't have to pay as
much duty - if anything goes wrong with your shipment and you need to make a claim, you will only get back the
amount you quoted, and not the real value.
Also, don't be tempted to put that the item is a gift (cheaper gifts are exempt from duty).
You are taking a big risk, and apart from it being illegal, it could lead to future problems with your
Look for the cheapest company for your international shipping, to make it as inexpensive
as possible for your customers to receive their items.
Some organisations, like UPS and FedEx, charge a much higher fee for handling international packages. The fee is
to cover their costs for acting as a customs broker and collecting the customs duty that needs to be paid to the
government in the receiving company.
However, many international buyers only find out how expensive these charges can be when their package arrives,
and unless they pay them, they shipping company won't release their package.
As a general rule, USPS or you national postal service will charge your customers a much lower fee to receive
international shipments. If you're buying, or importing from abroad, you also need to be aware of how customs duty
can affect your purchases.
Make sure you know what duties and taxes will be due when you receive the goods in your country and factor this
into your decision when you consider the price of any items.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, understanding how customs duty works will help make your international
trading profitable, and help you and your customers avoid any nasty surprises.
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