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What are customs duties and import taxes?
What are customs duties and import taxes?

What do I do about customs duties?

Updated this week

Customs duties and import taxes vary from country to country, and kick in at different values for different types of products.

If the package you've shipped contains products that qualify for that country's import taxes, your recipients will be responsible for paying these to their country's customs or tax department to receive the package*.

Typically the process is the package is held by the country's customs department, and notification is given to the recipient by mail or phone, telling them how much they need to pay and how. Once the recipient pays whatever is due, the package is delivered. If the recipient doesn't pay the taxes due, the package should be returned to you, but it may depend on the country's policies.

Customs fees might get charged to you after you ship your package

Customs duties on international shipments can be charged to the sender in certain situations, even though the responsibility typically lies with the recipient in a foreign country. If this happens, you'll see it as a Carrier Adjustment on your Reports page.

The only way to avoid potential customs charges is to ship with a "Delivery Duty Paid" international service, which includes customs duties and fees in the price of postage. All international services on Pirate Ship are "Delivery Duty Unpaid," which means labels do not include any duties and taxes paid.

Marketplaces may have prepaid some sales or Valued-Added Taxes (VAT)

If you made the sale on a marketplace like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon then some or all of the taxes your customer owes may have been collected and prepaid by the marketplace. If that's the case, the marketplace will give you a Tax ID number that you'll need to enter into the Exporter International Tax ID field at the bottom of the customs form when creating the label in Pirate Ship.

Your customers shouldn't be surprised by their country's taxes

In general, customs duties and import taxes should be expected by your customers if they've ever shopped internationally before. As long as you make sure to put some sort of notice in your checkout for international customers that they're responsible for any import taxes their country charges them, then the expectation should be set correctly and everything should be smooth 👍

Any questions? Hit the chat button on the bottom right and let us know.

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