Issue #109  9/6/2006
Customs Crackdown On U.S. Dealers

On August 20, eBay posted the following item on its general announcements page:

"Postal administrations in several international countries have contacted the United States Postal Service about the declaration of value placed on customs forms. They have noted that in many cases, the declared value is understated when compared to the actual invoice or known value of the item, especially for sales conducted over the internet. While this applies to sellers both on and off eBay, the USPS has asked us to remind our sellers to declare the proper value on all customs forms.

"The correct value of each item is required on customs forms as it helps determine the proper duties and taxes, and whether they should be applied. Some countries will soon begin taking steps to address this issue, such as levying fines on the addressee when the declared value is determined to be lower than the invoice.

"To make sure you're complying with international regulations, please make sure the stated value on your customs declaration is supported by your invoices or other documentation."

It bears noting, because, reportedly, many U.S. dealers still do not follow proper customs procedures on their international shipping. International buyers must understand that they should pay the appropriate customs duties, which are usually only about 5.6-7% for most photographs, which is usually lower than sales tax in the U.S.