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Pim

Paying import duties on Ebay?

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Wanted to buy a box set on eBay today for 100 euros incl. shipping. The box was new and I bought it from a US seller. Now, while making the purchase I already noticed a 30 euro import fee. I thought this was only an estimation made by Ebay to inform me as a seller about possible import duties. 
 

When I wanted to pay for the item trough PayPal, I noticed that the 30 euro import duty was really included in the price so I had to pay 130 euros! What the hell?

Never seen another company work this way. How does this work? How could Ebay collect import duties while this money should be collected by the import states government? I cancelled my order....

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I have seen this (a few years ago, though) with various eBay items I bought (only antique printed matter, though) and it seemed to me that this only occurred when the shipping and customs processing side was handled upfront by a third-party agency (forgot the name - some international shipper) on behalf of the seller and eBay. In all of the cases I have experienced the fee (including customs and shipping) they charged on top of the item price was rather accurate as far as customs went and actually shipping was not all that expensive (even less expensive than with some USPS prices seen and paid for elsewhere) so I proceeded accordingly.
I don't know if there would have been a different and significantly cheaper shipping option anywhere that I would have been able to get through at all with the seller (remember some US eBay sellers are exceedingly stubborn when it comes to overseas shipments and they really couldn't be bothered any less than with a pre-set routine, no matter how cost-ineffective to the buyer, so not much point arguing at all) but one advantage with this shipping option was that the items (with bulletproof repackaging of the actual parcel by the shipping agency) always arrived almost lightning-fast here.
Your case may have been one of these but if you find that the customs rate they charged for the Netherlands was above what you would normally have to pay even in the worst case then of course this a valid reason to cancel the order IMO.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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When searching on eBay, I often see a remark, in lighter print, saying that they will handle the customs charges. Yeah, I bet they will. I avoid any item like that. Obviously, a seller has an option of requesting this "service".

When eBay first started, the buyer and seller dealt directly with each other, without any "help" from eBay. You could pay with cash or check, too. And, ... the fees were very low. And, ... there was NO Paypal fee. I sold lots of things on eBay back then.

Today, with stiff eBay fees and stiff Paypal fees on top of that ... No way am I going to sell there. It is still handy for buying consumer goods, which is all I use it for.

Edited by Shrdlu

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Since a US Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago (the Waystar decision, requiring taxes to be collected on internet transactions), eBay has been collecting taxes from buyers on sales, which they pay to the taxing authorities. 

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6 minutes ago, Shrdlu said:

Scum.

Meaning?

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2 hours ago, Brad said:

Since a US Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago (the Waystar decision, requiring taxes to be collected on internet transactions), eBay has been collecting taxes from buyers on sales, which they pay to the taxing authorities. 

Good that you comment on this, because I've also seen additional customs duties with some things from the US. Including two Mosaics I had ordered directly from them or two T-shirts I recently got from Gibson, or a boxset from Chuck Nessa. So I thought it was based on the height of the price.

Edited by Bluesnik

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1 hour ago, Bluesnik said:

Good that you comment on this, because I've also seen additional customs duties with some things from the US. Including two Mosaics I had ordered directly from them or two T-shirts I recently got from Gibson, or a boxset from Chuck Nessa. So I thought it was based on the height of the price.

To be honest, I’m not sure why you or Pim would be charged since you live outside the US and the tax is supposed to be paid by the buyer but I’m guessing that eBay would say that since the sale is made in the US, tax is due. However, I’ve paid tax on CDs I’ve purchased from eBay sellers in Japan. I’m guessing that eBay thinks it’s just easier to apply the tax to everybody. 

Here’s the eBay position on paying taxes, in case anyone is interested.

https://www.ebay.com/help/buying/paying-items/paying-tax-ebay-purchases?id=4771&st=2&pos=2&query=Paying%20tax%20on%20eBay%20purchases&intent=tax

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Ok thanks all for answering. Makes it a bit clearer to me. I remember a time when a seller declared the value 20 dollars (which would not have been unrealistic with this mosaic select I orderded) and you recieved the package without having to pay import duties at all. And even with a higher valued you sometimes were lucky....

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17 hours ago, Pim said:

Wanted to buy a box set on eBay today for 100 euros incl. shipping. The box was new and I bought it from a US seller. Now, while making the purchase I already noticed a 30 euro import fee. I thought this was only an estimation made by Ebay to inform me as a seller about possible import duties. 
 

When I wanted to pay for the item trough PayPal, I noticed that the 30 euro import duty was really included in the price so I had to pay 130 euros! What the hell?

Never seen another company work this way. How does this work? How could Ebay collect import duties while this money should be collected by the import states government? I cancelled my order....

 

15 hours ago, Brad said:

Since a US Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago (the Waystar decision, requiring taxes to be collected on internet transactions), eBay has been collecting taxes from buyers on sales, which they pay to the taxing authorities. 

 

11 hours ago, Brad said:

To be honest, I’m not sure why you or Pim would be charged since you live outside the US and the tax is supposed to be paid by the buyer but I’m guessing that eBay would say that since the sale is made in the US, tax is due. However, I’ve paid tax on CDs I’ve purchased from eBay sellers in Japan. I’m guessing that eBay thinks it’s just easier to apply the tax to everybody. 

Here’s the eBay position on paying taxes, in case anyone is interested.

https://www.ebay.com/help/buying/paying-items/paying-tax-ebay-purchases?id=4771&st=2&pos=2&query=Paying%20tax%20on%20eBay%20purchases&intent=tax

Some stores and carriers collect import duty/VAT beforehand on behalf of the EU for all goods imported into the EU whose total value exceeds 22 euros. It makes things easier for EU customers, who don't have to pay at the door anymore. This is the case with all non-EU Amazon stores (except most private sellers) and some others. It has nothing to do with any US Supreme Court decision.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Discogs collects tax directly for Nevada State since 1th of october, it happens to one of my customer from Las Vegas. I guess all other states did the same.

Edited by porcy62

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I can’t speak for any non eBay stores but I don’t believe, based on personal experience as a seller (and I could be wrong), that eBay was collecting tax for products shipped into the EU or other jurisdictions. 

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But my taxed purchases were not through Ebay. And sometimes I have to pay taxes and sometimes not. :huh: So it's getting more confusing as time passes. And I really don't know what the situation is. And I remember the time too when no taxes were charged at all.

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5 minutes ago, Brad said:

I can’t speak for any non eBay stores but I don’t believe, based on personal experience as a seller (and I could be wrong), that eBay was collecting tax for products shipped into the EU or other jurisdictions. 

eBay itself is not a seller while Amazon is; for goods sold directly (i.e. not by private sellers on their sites) to EU citizens by non-EU Amazon sites tax is collected if the total value exceeds 22 euros.

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They are not a seller but they collect the tax for taxing jurisdictions as if they were. 

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1 hour ago, Brad said:

They are not a seller but they collect the tax for taxing jurisdictions as if they were. 

I assume you are referring to eBay.

As a buyer I find it very convenient to pay any tax that is due upfront, otherwise I'd have to go to the local postal agency (there are no Post Offices in my neighbourhood anymore) to collect the item and pay tax.

Edited by J.A.W.

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On 20.11.2019 at 9:01 PM, J.A.W. said:

I assume you are referring to eBay.

As a buyer I find it very convenient to pay any tax that is due upfront, otherwise I'd have to go to the local postal agency (there are no Post Offices in my neighbourhood anymore) to collect the item and pay tax.

Yes this is convenient, particularly since shipping seems to be very fast (at least that's what happend in my cases). However, it all depends IMO on whether the shipping fees plus "tax" they charge are not higher than these two individual rates. FWIW, to get the terminology straight, the "tax" we Europeans are talking about here is no "sales tax" or whatever but the actual customs duties charged at the national VAT rate (i.e. 19% in Germany, and I suppose the principle is the same with you in the Netherlands, isnt it?) on top of the price of the goods. I.e. if I find in an auction that the upfront "shipping plus customs duties" total to be paid is not more (and preferably less) than what the combined total of the individual shipping cost to be expected plus the customs duties at the VAT rate works out (for an item that is not likely to slip under the customs radar and get delivered here free of those duties), then I am fine with that. This was the case with most of the cases I mentioned in my earlier post.
I have also noticed auctions, however, where this total seemed outrageously above that sum of the probable (and plausible) shipping costs plus customs duties. But luckily there is hardly anything out there anymore on eBay that I want badly enough to be forced to accept this.

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5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

the national VAT rate (i.e. 19% in Germany, and I suppose the principle is the same with you in the Netherlands, isnt it?)

It is. Actually, we have to pay a bit more, VAT is now 21% here.

Edited by J.A.W.

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10 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

But luckily there is hardly anything out there anymore on eBay that I want badly enough to be forced to accept this.

The fun of reeling stuff in from around the world disappeared some years ago. IIRC, the VAT is applied to the shipping charge as well as the goods, and there is also a service charge. There’s always streaming and thrift stores. 

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I’m still finding lots of stuff on eBay; the tax is a minor deterrent.  It’s something you’d have to pay anyway if you were purchasing the item in a physical store. 

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