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132 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 42552 6-Oct-2009 20:26
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So I bought some headphones from USA. Grado HF2's if anyone's into that. For a few days the tracking status said 'Into Foreign Customs' in Auckland, which worried me a little since I am in Christchurch and they were sent to Chrischurch.

Today, I got a letter from Customs telling me that I need to pay a $82.50 GST fee on them. What I want to know is, why? I have bought numerous other items from various places (USA, Hong Kong, Europe, etc) and never had this issue before. Also, I don't see why it had to go to Auckland. Do all international packages go through Auckland first?

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  Reply # 261839 6-Oct-2009 20:31
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Here's a link outlining what is and isn't charged GST/duty:


http://www.customs.govt.nz/importers/Private+Importers/Customs+Charges.htm#paraTitle03


Headphones are listed there as being charged at 12.5%.



Most freight arrives into Auckland first so yes it will go through customs there. The same way that people don't go through customs at their final destination, they do it when they first land.

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  Reply # 261842 6-Oct-2009 20:37
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  Reply # 261850 6-Oct-2009 21:07
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People get around paying GST by writing bogus values, and descritions. Eg, writing gift will less likely attract their eyes, than just 'headphones'. It may also depend on packaging, whether it looks like a home job, or a proffessional job with a companies logo/packing tape all over it.



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  Reply # 261852 6-Oct-2009 21:13
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freitasm: Everything pays GST - the IRD waives the fee it's less than $50 to pay.


Well this explains why I've never payed GST before.

I didn't know all packages went through Auckland first... Hmm so I guess these sorts of charges are unavoidable.

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  Reply # 261854 6-Oct-2009 21:19
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Hmm so I guess these sorts of charges are unavoidable.



Yes, unavoidable from your end - if you want your package you have to pay the duty on it! As stated above the only way around it is if the value of the duty to be collected is less than $50, the sender marks it as a gift on the customs form or they decrease its value to next to nothing - both of which you're not supposed to do.

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  Reply # 261872 6-Oct-2009 22:26
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corksta: they decrease its value to next to nothing - both of which you're not supposed to do.


You also run the risk of should the package get lost in transit, insurance will only pay out the value of what you declared.

I've seen many packages originating from China that have the value put down low, and marked as a gift.

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  Reply # 261884 6-Oct-2009 22:50
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I've imported at least 20 items over the past 5 years or so that should have attracted GST but have only been charged 3 times. On each occasion the item was carried with DHL or Fedex. Both of these companies "pre-clear" customs to make the transit faster. Unfortunately this means that they contact customs and tell them the item attracts GST as opposed to customs bothering to stop it and send you a letter.

I always ship with USPS if possible, cheaper and I haven't had a parcel stopped yet.



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  Reply # 261886 6-Oct-2009 22:52
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This was shipped via USPS. I would much prefer it if they did just ring me or send me a bill AFTER the package had arrived. At least then it wouldn't be delayed.

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  Reply # 261888 6-Oct-2009 22:56
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You must have lucked out then. There must be hundreds if not thousands of parcels coming in everyday that could possibly attract GST, I can't see customs stopping more then half of them?

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  Reply # 261911 7-Oct-2009 01:36
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Yeah, that sucks with a single high value item. At least with deal extreme and ebay from asia you dont see a penelty in breaking orders up because of their subsidized post service. From the states however its always been a problem.

With USPS I have not had an issue at all, but I am to broke to be ordering a nice pair of grados yet.




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  Reply # 261912 7-Oct-2009 01:37
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Oh god that happened to me once!!!!!
Yeah the main customs is in Auckland, so it must go through Auckland....
I asked them and I think they said that they charge GST on anything that costs over NZ$400... so next time, get the person to lie about how much your thing costs...

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  Reply # 261925 7-Oct-2009 07:42
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dadilala: Oh god that happened to me once!!!!!
Yeah the main customs is in Auckland, so it must go through Auckland....
I asked them and I think they said that they charge GST on anything that costs over NZ$400... so next time, get the person to lie about how much your thing costs...


Fraudulently declaring the cost on the green customs form is no guarantee you won't pay.




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  Reply # 261954 7-Oct-2009 09:22
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Or if it was just marked as a gift? I've been asked to do that when shipping things overseas. Maybe I should ask it in future.

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  Reply # 261969 7-Oct-2009 10:04
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fraseyboy: Or if it was just marked as a gift? I've been asked to do that when shipping things overseas. Maybe I should ask it in future.


nahhh... that was when i was charged with GST.... it was written as a "gift" and i got a camera and an mp3 player, and they were packaged together - and they charged me GST, but if it was sent separately i wouldn't have been charged, it was real stupid....

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  Reply # 262010 7-Oct-2009 12:29
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simply put the cost of collecting duty and GST of less that $50 is not worth the effort for customs, so as they have said $400 NZD value i.e $50 of GST passes thru without inteception. Marmel virtually all packages that come into the country are screened for value and held for payment of the GST/Duty that is customs job so if it is declared truthfully and should attract tax the likelihood is that it will be stopped and held until the owing is paid, as far as not holding it up and billing later....yeah right, how many people would simply not bother paying the cost to chase up the owing would be prohibitive.

If you decide to import an item yourself that is valued over $400 (or $350ish and attracts duty) then you need to factor these in, soon your cracking good deal turns out to be only an OK deal.

Also warning to all as an importer, I have had a lot more items stopped and opened by customs recently, we don't lie or cheat but it is happening more and more and customs are not stupid, if they see, for example an Ipod come thru with a declared value of $10 they know it is unlikely to be correct the item will be stopped. They are also wise to everything being sent as gifts and if they open a package that has an invoice inside.....




I know a little more than nothing but not much...

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