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  1. Redwheelbarrow

    Redwheelbarrow Mar 2, 2014

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    What should a buyer expect for customs tax when importing a vintage Omega from the UK to US? Web search reveals a range of opinion. Are customs duties for vintage watches modest, or are all rates based on features like precious metals and/or watch movement? Thank you!
     
  2. cicindela

    cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 2, 2014

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    If sent by express or registered mail , nothing. I have never been charged anything.
     
  3. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Mar 2, 2014

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    If you do get charged, it would be the same system as for a modern watch, so case material, type of movement, number of jewels, chronograph or not, etc.
     
  4. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Mar 2, 2014

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    FedEx, to my knowledge, is the only company that imports watches to the U.S. "by the book". They require a watch "breakout" sheet, which essentially breaks the value of the watch into three parts: case, dial and strap. The taxes are calculated using those figures, and are, relative to almost all other countries, extremely low.
     
  5. Hijak

    Hijak Mar 2, 2014

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    I've only been charged twice, both times by FedEx. Watch values approximately $2K US and around $70 US each time I believe. Each time I had received the watch then a week or two later received a bill from FedEx for the taxes. But as others have said this is easily avoided by not using FedEx.
     
  6. Redwheelbarrow

    Redwheelbarrow Mar 2, 2014

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    Thank you for the quick response. Making a wise purchase decision is challenging enough without additional concern associated with importation. Your comments are helpful and assuring!
     
  7. Habitant

    Habitant Mar 3, 2014

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    As previous forum chat on this... FedEx are both handling and clearing parcels, which is why they pay any customs and tax charges and then invoice you later. Other carriers are (usually) not handling the clearing process, and so any taxes due are collected by local customs offices. If they manage to do so, etc. Royal Mail (UK) can handle international deliveries, insured up to GBP 2000 (USD3300 or so), so FedEx isn't the only way to go for most purchases, in my experience.
     
  8. Kringkily

    Kringkily Omega Collector Mar 3, 2014

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    That is not always the case as DHL and UPS have given me a bill for importations are times. FedEx has held my package until I provided detail watch breakdown as to the value of movement, case, material etc. My favorite is still the post office as they rarely tag me for fees but it is not always the case.
     
  9. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    This represents my experience as well. USPS is the kindest.
     
  10. Habitant

    Habitant Mar 3, 2014

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    On the subject, I would never use DHL again, as they are the only carrier to have managed to have a watch stolen (not lost, stolen) in transit. They then proved unable to provide proof of delivery, a process that in itself took a couple of months. I'd like to reward their incompetence by acknowledging their hopelessness here. They handle a lot of parcels for Deutsche Post....

    My point was that carriers such as Royal Mail and USPS are first and foremost carriers who do not customs clear goods - although you can see eBay trying to integrate tax collection with their Pitney Bowes run Global Postage Programme.

    USPS is the kindest, I agree. Just don't try and understand their tariff structures, which are the scribblings of mad men, made worse by the fact that their own staff seem to have no idea as to what is and isn't permissible within their service definitions. There are a whole bunch of watches in transit that are flying on a wing and a prayer...mine, too.
     
  11. MSNWatch

    MSNWatch Vintage Omega Aficionado Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    USPS best and wanted to comment we have similar avatars!
     
  12. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    Oooh, that could get confusing. Have to remember Mike is "Waterproof":cool:
     
  13. MSNWatch

    MSNWatch Vintage Omega Aficionado Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    There is one other difference ;)
     
  14. Alpha

    Alpha Kilt Owner, Beagle Parent, Omega Collector Mar 3, 2014

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    A wee look at the front end ;)
     
  15. gatorcpa

    gatorcpa ΩF InvestiGator Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    DHL is Deutsche Post. Same company. Germany privatized their post office in the 1980's.

    Don't be too hard on USPS, FedEx, DHL or any of the others regarding computation of customs duties. If you could make any sense of this, I could put you to work interpreting the US tax code.

    http://www.usitc.gov/publications/docs/tata/hts/bychapter/1202c91.pdf

    Mind you, that's only one chapter of the customs schedule, the part that applies to watches and clocks.
    gatorcpa
     
  16. Habitant

    Habitant Mar 3, 2014

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    My comments were not about the tax code, but more about the convoluted USPS scale of tariffs for services offered. They contradict themselves in places a situation made worse by the the fact that many USPS employees themselves can't make sense of them, either.

    And then there are those cotton pickin' tax codes...still, going by your moniker, I reckon those tax codes are your bread and butter; glad to know someone profits from such madness. ;)
     
  17. gatorcpa

    gatorcpa ΩF InvestiGator Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    I wasn't commenting on the tax code. The harmonized tariff schedule is actually a product of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It's the same people who stop you at the border when you're in Niagara Falls or Detroit and also the same people who makes you take off your shoes at any US airport.

    I have a friend who used to work in the international acceptance area of USPS. His job was to go into the secure areas to take delivery of sacks of mail or parcels at he airport after clearance by Customs. He said that while Customs has the right to open any of the seals placed by other country's post offices, they almost never did.

    Eh, it's a living! ;)
    gatorcpa
     
  18. Redwheelbarrow

    Redwheelbarrow Mar 3, 2014

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    MSNWatch -- Apologies for macking your style! Some say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and others, great minds think alike. But with over 3,600 posts to your credit, nobody will confuse this noob with you. (But just in case I've got a red wheel barrow avatar standing by...)
     
  19. MSNWatch

    MSNWatch Vintage Omega Aficionado Staff Member Mar 3, 2014

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    I happen to think your avatar is pretty cool - similar but not identical!
     
  20. Habitant

    Habitant Mar 4, 2014

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    Actually (and apologies for going on about it), but for the sake of clarity: I was actually talking about the services USPS offer and their own regulations governing these same services, ie, whether you can send a watch using First Class, that sort of thing. It makes the tax code look straightforward.
    So, sorry I used the word 'tariff,' it was incorrect. But the same is true in the UK, some bags are checked, some not, so there is a chance that you won't have to pay any VAT (sales tax) if your item is travelling USPS>Royal Mail. Unless, of course, your eBay vendor is participating in GPP and then you are definitely going to get hit. Ditto using FedEx, DHL, Purolator and similar, who, as I said, both carry and clear their shipments and collect the taxes.
    Royal Mail do collect taxes from time to time when they surcharge inbound items, adding on a fairly heavy service charge to do so. Which is a pain if you're just getting in some parts; I reckon I pay around half the time, depending on how it's labelled. Like John R Smith, someone sent me a nice watch a while back labelled, 'Broke Watch for Repair,' which was a nice surprise, as I didn't pay what would have been a big 'un.
    Duty is a whole other area. There is no duty charged on lower cost items, such as most watches, inbound into the UK, but sales tax is collected. Not sure about duty going into the US, your previous replies have suggested that there isn't, presumably harmonised with the UK, et al. But no Federal sales taxes due? If so, lucky you guys. Another advantage (lower item cost, too) for US residents, although I guess we over here have an easier time buying from European dealers.