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Generally, goods under $800 are not subject to duties.

That’s the general threshold (~$800). Not saying that you will have to pay duties at that amount, but that you may have to after that point.

The duty amount may also vary based upon the item. I.e. Duty calculations for wrist watches are calculated at the component/part level.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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For saxophones and most other woodwinds imported from EU countries, the duty is 4.9% (see here).

However, if it's shipped such that USPS handles the stateside portion of the delivery, then the duty isn't typically assessed, at least not for single items delivered to a private buyer.
 

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The situation that MOST people have is that they don't pay anything for private people, only business pay duty

I've sold many saxophones to the US and only once they paid duty and was because it was a business

We have spoken about this a number of times
 

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For saxophones and most other woodwinds imported from EU countries, the duty is 4.9% (see here).

However, if it's shipped such that USPS handles the stateside portion of the delivery, then the duty isn't typically assessed, at least not for single items delivered to a private buyer.
This is the actual law and the non-anecdotal answer. Plan on 4.9%, not on being lucky. But it may not be charged.

I recently bought a used sax from Japan and was charged that rate.
 

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Well, lately, things may have changed, because of the politics, the last few years, imposed all manner of tariffs to all manner of countries and all manner of products.

I am certain that until a few years ago, paying any duty would be the exception rather than the norm but things may be changed.

Just for comparison , if we, Europeans , get ANYTHING from outside Europe ( so also the UK now) before we weren't charged anything until €25 value (including shipping) , NOW we are charged VAT upon entry and the shipping is part of the " value" too (VAT is variable in each country but generally between 19% to 25%) + we pay a " handling through customs " fee charged by postal service or courier ( it varies but it is always a minimum of €30 even for small value items)

Which makes buying from outside Europe very expensive, remember all those parcels from China? They are now practically gone (unless you buy from Amazon or other such things) , I used to by all kinds of things but this is now just too expensive .

Even under that light, as often happens , seen from Europe, a 4,9% import duty seems to be a bargain.
 

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At 4.9 if you happen to pay just consider it low sales tax.

Yes, the handling fee for cheap packages from china makes it not worth it.

In France that created a vacuum where French merchants import cheap junk and gouge prices.

One has to ahop very defensively here. Amazon France is half ali express crap.

Getting back to the topic, I have never had customers or shops in the US pay on large or small mouthpiece orders.
 

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Yep..you used to be able to buy some cheapo items that were useful for five to ten bucks. Now you will pay ten for customs. Its the handling not the tax that is the problem.

Now…I did buy some things I needed from ali express recently. They added tva/vat to the fee and I was not charged anything at the door. Perhaps they have made a deal with the EU to manage customs fees. Inwill try it again on items I really need and see if I just got lucky. The tva was just 20 percent…no 10 euro processing fee.

I use ali express for the velvet drawstring pouches I ship mpcs in. My wife also paid no fee on some jewelry wire.

It’s difficult to know what is a screw up and what is policy.
 

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I have had mixed luck on expensive horn purchases from Europe. Expensive being more than 5k. Some I get hit and some not. It’s been about even for me. But I may have bad luck. Gotten to the point that I will buy a ticket and fly over. It’s usually about the same and I get a nice few days in Berlin or Copenhagen or somewhere.
 

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For what it's worth, I've never been charged customs duties on saxophones purchased from the Netherlands, including in the past 5 years.
It is not so that one is certain that one won't have to pay anything upon returning with an expensive object

they can always ask to provide proof of ownership before you left the country to return there and in case you can't do that they would ask you to prove how much you paid

"...Moving any valuable items – like musical instruments – across borders can be difficult and time-consuming. Customs officers abroad want to be sure that you will take your equipment with you when you leave their country, and customs officials on your return will want to be sure that you have not acquired your equipment while overseas. If, in either case, they are not convinced, you may have to pay import duty on your instruments, or worse, the equipment may be impounded. Inevitably, it will cause considerable disruption and inconvenience for your whole group....."

 

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Dunno about importing into the US, but when I bought a vintage Buescher from the US a few years ago, Fedex charged US$55.00 for shipping. Before releasing the horn, they charged me another 15% of its total value for "handling" and "import fees," even though American-made items are supposedly duty-free under NAFTA. Such a racket.
 

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It is not so that one is certain that one won't have to pay anything upon returning with an expensive object

they can always ask to provide proof of ownership before you left the country to return there and in case you can't do that they would ask you to prove how much you paid

"...Moving any valuable items – like musical instruments – across borders can be difficult and time-consuming. Customs officers abroad want to be sure that you will take your equipment with you when you leave their country, and customs officials on your return will want to be sure that you have not acquired your equipment while overseas. If, in either case, they are not convinced, you may have to pay import duty on your instruments, or worse, the equipment may be impounded. Inevitably, it will cause considerable disruption and inconvenience for your whole group....."

While this may be true in theory, I fly a lot and I've never been stopped at customs in the USA. Or Europe I think. In the Middle East a few times. But yes, it could happen I guess. Of course this could always happen when you're travelling with your own saxophone you've owned for years, right? How are musicians supposed to tour? I've never heard of anyone carrying around proof of purchase for their horns while touring.

Ha, once I flew to the USA and for some reason I was wearing a suit, which I don't normally do...
Just after passport control someone came up to me and pulled me aside and asked "Sir, are you carrying more than $10,000 on you at the moment?" This was weird as it wasn't at customs it was just in the hallway after passport control.. Anyway I just laughed in the guys face. At the moment I was living in a van, probably had $50 to my name. He could tell from my laugh that I was not a person he needed to worry about and he just said I could go.
 

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it certainly doesn't happen very often but it does happen.


I have been, once, stopped upon arrival from the US at Schiphol (NL where I am a citizen) with my wife, they opened our luggage and saw my wife had a new leather jacket.

They would have e" determined" its price ( probably in excess of value) BUT we had proof of purchase and it was under the threshold to declare anything .... If it would have been more we would have had to pay duty, same thing happened to my brother going back to Italy after a US trip , he had bought a camera and had to pay ( actually it is , most of the times, only VAT, not an import duty, really)


I remember Pete Thomas talking about this, also when sending mouthpiece samples, by the way

this thing features in some ways in some threads ( couldn't find the exact threads because of lack of a specific search term)




this is, for example, about a British custom officer checking upon someone upon returning from a US trip



Many customs officers are on the ball. One of them noticed my buddy bringing through a (Getzen?) trumpet (he had bought in New York) and asked how much he paid for it. He said it cost $75. Wait here a minute, the officer said, and came back with the latest Getzen catalogue and offered him the option of a £1000 fine or confiscation of the instrument
Because it wouldn't have been documented on the carnet. And because when questioned about an obviously brand new instrument he was wise enough not to lie so told the customs officer he bought it in New York then suddenly lost that wisdom and lied about the cost.
 

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It is not so that one is certain that one won't have to pay anything upon returning with an expensive object

they can always ask to provide proof of ownership before you left the country to return there and in case you can't do that they would ask you to prove how much you paid

"...Moving any valuable items – like musical instruments – across borders can be difficult and time-consuming. Customs officers abroad want to be sure that you will take your equipment with you when you leave their country, and customs officials on your return will want to be sure that you have not acquired your equipment while overseas. If, in either case, they are not convinced, you may have to pay import duty on your instruments, or worse, the equipment may be impounded. Inevitably, it will cause considerable disruption and inconvenience for your whole group....."

For clarity, this is in reference to online purchases made from a vendor in the Netherlands, shipped to the U.S. Others' experiences may be different, but I am sharing mine. A potential buyer is probably best off assuming they'll be assessed a duty, and should budget for it. If in the end no customs duty is assessed in the shipment process, then no harm, no foul.
 

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as said before, in the past the paying of duty in the US was hardly ever occurring (as also many have concurred) for private sales, it may happen now due to the new policy with tariffs.

However, specifically, that post that you are quoting refers to a comment made by other members that bringing the items back, in person, won't cause the paying of duty and, although this , is generally true it is NOT always true.

Hence the quoting from that specific site where they advise , by the way, to have your instruments registered before exiting your country in a so called customs carnet
 
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