What kind of duties, taxes, and brokerage fees will my customer have to pay?
When shipping internationally, we recommend including verbiage on your e-commerce site that warns customers about the potential for duties, taxes, and brokerage fees if the retail value of the package exceeds the destination country's de minimis threshold for that commodity, particularly if your products are manufactured outside of the United States. If a package is valued at under the de minimis threshold, the country doesn't bother assessing duties or taxes.
For example, as of this writing, the Canada tax de minimis threshold is about USD 15.00 and the Great Britain tax de minimis threshold is about USD 18.00, so packages valued at over these amounts will get hit with taxes and brokerage fees.
The taxes are usually the equivalent sales or VAT taxes that the customer would have paid had they bought the item in their own country.
The duties are a separate charge to discourage imports, vary based on the item being imported, and typically have higher thresholds (in Great Britain, as an example at the time of this writing, it's about USD 165.00). For example, a country might want to protect its own industry and charge high duties on imports to encourage people to buy products within their own country. Brazil is a good example of a country with high import duties.
The brokerage fee is paid by the importer to the carrier to offset the cost of payment collection and customs clearance; FedEx and Canada Post fees are typically around USD 10.00, though Canada Post is known to be hit or mess as to whether or not they actually bother charging it.
The duties and taxes vary from country to country, and may vary based on the harmonized code of the product and well as its country of origin.
Shipvine will generate any necessary customs forms and commercial invoices based on the information you enter on a fulfillment request. The value of the package is declared as the prices entered on the fulfillment request, and this value should reflect the true total that your customer actually paid to you. If you transmit incorrect values, then the customer will get hit with an incorrect amount of duties, taxes, and brokerage fees.
Can I prepay the duties and taxes for my customer?
If you're shipping to a foreign country and you're worried about the customer getting hit with a separate bill for duties, taxes, and brokerage fees, then in some cases you can prepay them and have the charges billed to your Shipvine account. There ...
Can I lower the declared customs value to avoid duties and taxes?
Short answer: No! Long answer: When Shipvine ships an order to a foreign country, we have to generate a customs declaration or commercial invoice containing information about the products, such as the declared customs value, the country of origin, ...
Sample Shipping Rates
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Can I ship via FedEx or UPS to a PO box?
Short answer: Yes, if you use a "hybrid service" like FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost. Otherwise, no, if the address has the words "PO BOX" in it. If you want to use FedEx or UPS, ask the customer for a physical street address, like "123 Main St" ...