(Picking up from part 3) So I read some more. I took notes. Those notes are posted as Part 4 in this series. I also made phone calls to the US Customs Office and the Customs Office within the US Postal Service (1-800-ask-usps). The key points learned from those phone calls are detailed here.

I’ll edit this and these other posts for formatting so that they are easier to read later, FYI.

I figured out the following:
• There is a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (referred to as HS outside of the US). It is international (essentially) and I would need to find out what this qualified as and what the duties were. (see part 4 in this series for details, keep reading if you just want to know the right code and thats it)
• Fees included in the purchase and shipping seemed to consist of:
a) VAT – generally paid as a sort of sales tax at the time of purchase to the buyer (unless his price already includes VAT)
b) The price of shipping that the seller will pay. This basically covers the cost of shipping from Austria to the US point of Entry, no matter where it is ultimately going.
c) There is a handling fee levied by the customs office
d) There are duty costs (you may or may not be able to get those back)
e) Once it is turned over to the US Postal Service, US Customs give the US postal service an invoice for all these fees
f) The cost of shipping from the US point of Entry to your doorstep
g) Any applicable sales taxes

So far I’ve been able to figure out:

a) Austrian VAT for goods leaving the country seem to be 20%, so that’s potentially going to be 126 Euros. HOWEVER, VAT is technically supposed to be the VALUE ADDED tax, therefore it the taxable amount should not be on the full selling price, but rather the selling price minus the costs of the materials. So if the mask costs 630 Eu, and the materials cos 130 Euros, then the taxable amount would be 500 Euros, so the VAT should actually be 100 Euros.
b) The seller gave me an approximation of 40 Euros for shipping
c) This is a bit confusing. One document said that the fee is 0.34% of the total value, with a minimum of $25 and a maximum of $450. Another document said a minimum of $2 and a maximum of $9. So right now IDK how much this fee is going to be.
d) Because this is ART and it is under $2500 in value, it qualifies under 9703.00.00 of the US Tariff Schedule (which equates to 970300 on the International HS/Harmonized Schedule). It is all original and not some reproduction, or derived from something else (like an artistic tie on a street sign, for example). This means that this item should be duty free.
e) no fees at this stage
f) This I cannot find out. The person from the post office said it will come into the country either from NYC or Miami, so the cost would be shipping from there to your for step.
g) In Georgia this is 4% of the sales price

When the postal service delivers the package, they will collect from you all of the associated fees. They will collect the US Customs duties (if any) the US Customs handling fees, the USPS own shipping fees, and the state sales tax if applicable. Then you will be able to take delivery of your package.

I was not able to figure out from anyone what customs paperwork would need to accompany the package. I knew that there HAD to be something declaring this as a 970300 package that did not have duty associated with it.

For packages coming into the US, they must be accompanied by the proper customs forms (duty, invoices, etc. I would imagine). They also must be in English. As it turns out, the post office in austria or anywhere else doesn’t use the official US Customs forms. They have their own versions of these forms. So my task is to figure out which forms those are and find them online. Then I can fill them out for the seller and get them to the seller, which he can either print out or use as a reference when he fills them out at the post office when he ships them.

At this point I am trying to find out if those customs forms are available online from the Austrian Postal service, and I am trying to figure out if the selling price of 630 Euros includes VAT. If not, I figure the upper end of the VAT would be 126 Eurs, but in reality it SHOULD be less (126 Euros reflects 20% of the selling price, however, the tax should be 20% if the selling price minus materials – it is possible that Austria may not charge VAT, but I think they will).

Once I find this out I’m almost done. More to come soon.

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