Is It Possible to Avoid Customs Fees?

Spreading packages by a delivery man in and near Blaine, WA

Importers purchase goods from other countries and have them shipped to their countries. Depending on the item you buy, you might have to pay customs fees, a type of tax determined by the federal government on specific items. No legal way can help you avoid these charges, and when the duty is owed, you need to pay it. But there are legal ways to avoid delays and extra charges. Cross-border sellers can cover the import duties to provide a hassle-free purchase process for their customers. Keep reading to figure out legal ways to avoid additional fees and delays.

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Tell the Seller That the Item Is Personal

When you buy an item for personal use, tell the seller explicitly. Customs fees are charged on goods imported for commercial use, not personal use. You don’t have to pay customs charges if you import an item for personal use or as a gift. This point is crucial when you buy things from a wholesaler that primarily caters to business clients. Unless you explicitly explain, they automatically think you purchase goods for business use.

Courier Service Can Be Helpful

If you have bought something precious or unique, don’t forget to request a courier service. When you purchase something valuable and costly, even the best shipping insurance can bring peace of mind. Courier delivery is helpful here and ensures that your package will reach your door as soon as possible without extra import duties.

Tracking Number Is Important

A tracking number is essential for following a shipment. Ensure that you have trackable shipping in the case of cross-border orders because you don’t know where your package is and when it will arrive. If your tracking number is not helpful, let the seller know immediately.

The Notice of Owing Customs Duty

Contact the seller immediately if you receive a notice saying you owe customs duty. When your package passes through the port, additional duties will be determined by customs agents. If the sellers have already paid the duties, or if they assure you that you do not need to pay anything, contact them and clarify the situation. The post office won’t inform you about the amount owed fees and the package place until the duty is paid. You need to talk to the seller if you don’t want to pay those additional charges. So, you can resolve the issue by contacting the sellers in these cases.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Charged Incorrectly?

Suppose you are charged customs fees incorrectly; file a protest. You should write a letter explaining your reasons regarding the issue and send it to the address on the customs form. You can refuse the package delivery and give the letter to the post office. Your message will be forwarded to customs by the post office. File the protest within five days after delivering the package to your local post office. If you pay the fees and customs later determine the fees are not correct, a refund will be issued for you.

Using Customs Brokers

A customs broker is a good help if you are a commercial buyer. It can handle the shipment of your goods in the best possible way. Your seller might not work with a customs broker. In this case, you can search for a reputable one online. They will assist you in classifying your items and arranging the shipment. It keeps you away from paying more import fees.

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A Detailed Invoice Is Necessary

As a commercial buyer, you need to acknowledge that the consignment contains a detailed invoice. Despite the fact that import duties are unavoidable, the invoice details can help avoid extra charges. Ask your seller for a copy of the invoice and ensure detailed information about the items is included in the invoice. Each item’s number and total value must be included in the invoice.

Emphasize Direct Shipping

Make sure the freight company has your address and emphasizes direct shipping to you. In most cases, freight companies leave shipments at the point of entry; they don’t offer direct shipping to their customers. So, you need to explain it explicitly to your freight company. If you are near the delivery port, it is more budget-saving to go and pick up your shipment. But in most situations, you might prefer to arrange delivery. If you don’t pick up your items within 15 days after arrival, they’ll be sent to the warehouse, and you must pay extra fees for storage.

Include Fees in the Price

If you are a retail seller, include customs charges in the price. So customers won’t pay anything later. Using an automated shipping service can be a great help for you. It’ll help your customers know how much they have to pay. It is always a good idea to lump customs duties and other charges. It’ll allow passing these costs on to the customers because retail buyers usually don’t like surprises.

Ship Goods “Deliver Duty Paid”

Shipped products arrive duty-paid, so additional fees are not claimed. The fees charged by automated shipping services are usually calculated according to the item and its final destination. Taking care of these duties will help your customer receive the item quickly without worrying about customs fees. Local post offices can also estimate duties.

Applying Correct Customs Labels

In the case that you are a retail seller, correct customs labels can reduce or eliminate extra fees. Customs may charge additional fees if the labels are incorrect. Your local post office can help you be sure about accurate labeling to avoid delays and other charges. Automated shipping services usually handle the labeling for you. The customs authority’s website can help you a lot regarding the issue. There must be a section for labels on the website that you can check to ensure everything is correct.

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