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DanielD

Taxation of Housings entering Germany / EU

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Hey,

 

I've been searching for a similar topic, but so far could not find anything. If this question was already answered, feel free to point me towards the thread :-). I'm currently in the market of buying a housing for my Nikon D750. I've laid my eyes on the beautiful nauticam housing and been watching the classifieds very carefully. However there is one topic that makes me pretty nervous and leaves me confused and that is the taxes I'd have to pay if the housing were to be coming from outside the EU. Does anyone have any experience buying UW camera housings outside the EU and declaring them with customs? If my research into the topic so far is correct, I think I'd have to pay:

 

  • Shipping
  • PayPal fees
  • Import turnover tax
  • Taxes depending on the type of good

 

Especially the last point seems to evade me. I'm absolutely unsure in what group an UW camera housing would fall and accordingly what amount of taxes would be necessary here. Any experiences?

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Hey Daniel

 

Sadly I fear you are right. I've never imported high cost items from outside the EU. But I did order a replacement port ring from Canada and had it shipped to the Netherlands. Yep, cost of goods, shipping... and an import tax. I don't know how it was calculated - whether an EU import duty or Netherlands VAT - or both. But it was about 20% of the cost of the goods. So likely VAT.

 

I don't know what the "import duty" might be on a housing - but I'm pretty sure that, at least, you'll get hit for VAT at the German rate.

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Hi again Daniel

 

I was a bit intrigued by the import duty issue myself and found this:

 

https://meijburg.com/news/ita-eu-import-duties-on-a-wide-range-of-electronic-products-eliminated-as-of-july-1-2016

 

Television cameras, and video cameras, and their component parts, are excluded from import duty but there is no mention of still cameras. Maybe you could get a potential seller to describe the goods as video camera accessories? (assuming this 0% tariff is now in force). I think VAT would still apply though.

 

Tim

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Hi Daniel,

 

Last year I purchased a used Nauticam housing from a private seller in US (NA-EM5II found on the Wetpixel site). I do not remember the carrier (probably Fedex or DHL, the sender arranged for the cheapest solution). The package entered EU somewhere in East Europe, I received it two days later.

 

Tax was accounted automatically and I had to pay 83,64 Euro upon arrival (I was more than satisfied).

 

I do not know what the tax is in percent and whether the customers take the value that is declared by the sender or estimate the value of a second hand housing by themselves.

 

 

 

Wolfgang

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Hey Tim & Wolfgang,

 

Thanks for your answers. The biggest issue is that the possibilities range from no "taxes" to "so much taxes that buying it abroad is senseless". The D750 Nauticam housing has a pretty steep price, so depending on the taxes, this could range from nothing to 1000€. Thats a hefty range. Since its also quite bulky, I don't think declaring it as a gift is a good idea.. the customs here in germany are getting smarter every day with all the shippings from China. And I heard that especially the bigger shippings get x-rayed regularly :-( . There are quite some good offers for the housing here at wetpixel. But most of them are from the US.. and including Shipping and Taxes this quickly becomes useless. Maybe I should find someone travelling to / from the US and would be willing bringing it back in. After all, those are all second hand items.. seems a bit unfair to tax them :-/ .

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Yeah, I agree, Daniel. I think there is a general WP view that importing from the US is rarely worthwhile - sadly.

 

I do wonder though whether a housing could now be excluded from import duties (not VAT) based on that WTO agreement. I suspect though you'd need to track someone down in German customs who can give you an authoritative view - and even then I wonder what would actually happen when the handling company get it, DHL etc.

 

It might be worth you taking a look on the UWP sales website (if you've not already) to see if they have the type of housing you want. A lot more of the gear there - ?most of it - are from EU sellers. http://www.uwpmag.com/?p=underwater-photography-equipment-for-sale

 

Tim

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Thanks Tim! didn't know that site yet. I'll keep an eye out there and here :-). I think another issue it to get a seller to put up with all the trouble of declaring a possible sale correctly.. I looked through that formular and it sure as hell didn't look easy.. guess its way easier to sell you stuff in the country you're living in. A sad fact in a time where modern communication and vibrant exchange over continents gives you the feeling that the world is a town.

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Totally agree. I always think it a bit sad when some of the WP sellers in the US label their items "for sale in the US only".

 

Buying/selling in the EU is, of course, no problem at all. Although, as a Brit, God knows how long that is going to last!

 

Hey ho - Global village, eh? Argh.

 

UWP is good - definitely worth subscribing to the monthly online magazine - which is free. The only thing I have found with UWP relates to advertising on their website. It reaches a good audience in the EU but I have had a lot of scammers trying to "buy" things I have advertised. You do need to be careful. One or two of them have been quite clever.

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I have sent items to a friend in Asia from the US labeled, "used bicycle parts" that have successfully avoided import taxes!

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Well I guess it all depends on the customs of the country.. I know that by now german customs is on high alert on everything that comes from China. I'm not sure how suspicious they'd be about parcels from the US. But in the end it of course would be a big gamble. In a worst case I get a used housing for a price eqal or higher to a new one. And I'd need to find a buyer who is actually willing to try something like this. All in all most likely not worth the trouble.

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I got a housing from switzeland and hat to pay tax and custom fee. There for you have include that Money to that Price which you want to pay.

 

The process at the customer Office was simple, they need only a so called proforma invoice or a e-mail where the paied price is written. With your price plus the shipping cost they will calculate the tax and customer fee. After you have paid you can take your staff.

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I am wondering what is the point of the original question? Are you trying to avoid German value added taxes and EU import duties? If not, wouldn't it be easier to purchase directly from any of the many Nauticam dealers in Europe? The dealers pay the same taxes and duties. Since they typically order more than one item from the factory, there is some leverage on the international delivery costs.

 

From what I have compared prices, many of the Nauticam dealers offer same/similar pricing as Nauticam themselves. Some offer even lower prices. Plus the European prices already include all the import duties in their prices whilst if you import yourself, you'll have to add them.

 

Disclaimer: I represent Cerella Oy, a Nauticam dealer in Finland. Thus, my point might seem a bit subjective.

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I am wondering what is the point of the original question? Are you trying to avoid German value added taxes and EU import duties? If not, wouldn't it be easier to purchase directly from any of the many Nauticam dealers in Europe? The dealers pay the same taxes and duties. Since they typically order more than one item from the factory, there is some leverage on the international delivery costs.

 

From what I have compared prices, many of the Nauticam dealers offer same/similar pricing as Nauticam themselves. Some offer even lower prices. Plus the European prices already include all the import duties in their prices whilst if you import yourself, you'll have to add them.

 

Disclaimer: I represent Cerella Oy, a Nauticam dealer in Finland. Thus, my point might seem a bit subjective.

 

I think the point was originally in relation to buying second-hand from WP members - rather than new.

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Hey r4e,

 

If I were to buy a new housing, I would of course just look for a European dealer and buy it there. Especially since I'd get the warranty which might be hard to get abroad. However the NA-D750 is anything but cheap. I'm not poor (otherwise this would be the wrong hobby) but this is just a hobby and I'm not selling my pictures / making money with them. So I wouldn't mind buying a used one if it is in good condition. But even if I were to consider buying from someone outside the EU, I so far can't really tell what amount if taxes I would fall under (There is no goods category for UW camera housings). My best guess atm is 19% mport turnover tax + 4,7% import taxes. But the uncertainty and the possibility of ending up paying more for a used one then a new one makes it basically a big gambling game. So if I don't find any used one in the EU I'll propably buy a new one at some point.. just have to build up the curage :-P.

 

Daniel

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You will be looking at about 25-30% extra in total...should you declare full value that is ;)

Basically - import duty is usually a few % minimum, though this indeed could have changed as per TimG's link...so could be finally 0. Based on UK - provided item is declared as a gift you will pay 2.5% above 36 and under 630 pounds (~650 Euro). If not gifted, normal duty applies, whatever that is...

VAT - full 20% (or whatever your country has) on anything above 36 pounds (~40 Euro)

To add to the joy, all of the above is calculated on the item cost + shipping + insurance....and Post Office or whatever shipping agent handles this, tends to also adds their "processing fee".

 

As for PayPal fees - if you trust the seller, avoid PP at all costs. Bastards are greedy beyond measure...if you pay in different currency there is a plethora of charges, both for you and the seller, plus they offer a really shitty exchange rate. Much better to do a direct bank transfer with services like TransferWise - real exchange rate and a small 5-10 Euro commission...but this of course provided you trust the seller.

Edited by makar0n

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I have an update on the import issue:

 

When using the online shop @ www.nauticam.com (presumably located in the US), upon checkout the VAT and import taxes are calculated and one can see immediately how much will be the cost, before actually ordering (I came to this, because the european dealers to not have a certain extension in stock that I plan to acquire - I wrote to the dealer and the procedere was confirmed). The shop does all the formalities for the buyer and the package is send within 2-3 working days to Europe (Austria in my case)...

 

Possible that also other online shops offer this service, one needs to check in case required...

(=> this does of course not affect the private second hand deals.)

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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Still pretty interesting thank you. At least it shows me that the housing would cost more only VAT according to the Nauticam website. So they are probably choosing a goods category for their housings that is tax free. Still the VAT alone would mean almost 700€ extra. So I'd get it cheaper in a german store.

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I just received my 35mm extension. I could not resist and ordered the N120 140mm fisheye dome (with removable shade) along with the extension. All taxation was done by the Nauticam store and UPS, the carrier. It took 5 days for final delivery (ordered on July 30th, received on August 3rd), but it was longer since UPS sent it first, due to a mechanical sorting error, to Canada and then back to US and only then Europe (normally they say it takes 3 days to deliver). For a 34.7mm extension ordered in Spring here in Austria (but the dealer is not an official Nauticam representative) it took almost three monthes. I later ordered another extension from a Nauticam shop in UK and it was also quickly delivered within few days..

 

On the bill I see it is 20% VAT (the Austrain VAT rate), but no special import tax/fee. Seems there is no import tax/fee for such products (the parts are presumably manufactured in China).

 

To give a benchmark: the price for the dome was 1036 Euro, including everything (VAT plus shipping). This is a little bit cheaper as I saw in the European internet stores.

 

Maybe one could get a better price when physically entering a store and negotiating with the dealer personally, but the closest Nauticam stores to the south of Austria are located in Swizerland, north Germany and Netherlands...

 

 

Wolfgang

 

PS.: still this does not resolve completely the question when bought second hand from private. My personal experience with the housing as written above, was, however, also very good

 

PPS.: I cannot await to try the new 140m dome out tomorrow in a nearby gravel pond - If I only could decide what to test out first: the Canon 8-15mm fisheye or the Sigma 4.5mm circular fisheye... :banana:

Edited by Architeuthis

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Hey Wolfgang,

 

Thanks for your report. Since I'm in contact with someone selling the housing from Canada, I've contacted the german customs and asked them what the group of goods is that this housing would fall under and what kind of taxes I'd have to expect if I'm buying from some private person outside the EU. I'm still waiting for the answer. The way I guess it at the moment I'll have to pay:

 

  • ~70€ shipping costs
  • ~100€ Paypal fees
  • ~130€ of import tax
  • ~500€ of VAT

 

It would still be cheaper than buying a new one here in germany. However I'd also get a 2 year guarantee here when buying new and have a "local" dealer in berlin who I could contact in case something is amiss. In any case It'll be a tight calculation I'll have to do.

Edited by DanielD

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Just in case this is of interest for anyone trying to buy a housing and getting it shipped to germany, I've just received a reply from customs here in germany. According to them the following costs would apply:

 

  • 19% VAT
  • 3,2% Import tax

Those percentages are applied to the price plus the shipping costs. On top of that there is of course the costs for insured shipping, paypal fees (quite high when sending money abroad) and last but not least the germany postal service wants some money for them to handle the customs stuff. In my case this would add up to about 700€ more then compared to buying inside the EU. Not to mention all the hassle this causes (The sender has to fill out some forms and attach a plausible receipt to the parcel. If anything is out of order, the parcel gets stuck and you need to pick it up at your local customs office).

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Daniel,

 

I did buy my Nauticam GH5 housing at Backscatter in the US back then, as it was not becoming available in Europe in time for an upcoming dive trip. I searched for the customs bill but could not trace it. However, what I do recall is that all-in-all I ended up paying around 10% more than what I would have payed buying in Europe.

 

Therefore, unless there is a special situation (item not (yet) avail in Europe or super deal for a used housing etc...) I would advise you to buy in the EU. Also these custom rates are sometimes unpredictable depending into which category the officer places it. Also, unless your sender uses a high quality carrier (UPS the best for US-shipments), sometimes stuff gets stuck for a week or two in customs. Not always the best experience!

 

onderwaterhuis.nl in Holland is my preferred and highly trusted supplier in Europe for UW camera stuff these days.

 

Burkhard

Edited by bubffm
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Interesting, Daniel. The basic taxes and VAT don’t sound too bad. But, as you say, add up all the other bits and pieces and it’s barely worth while. Or the opposite!

I got a relatively low-cost replacement part for a wet lens mount from Canada some months ago and the add on charges were quite a shocker.

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Just adding my experiences with Camera gear and UW housings. I have been working as a photographer for the last 20 years (last 5 years here in Germany) and without fail customs will always charge you if importing anything. I have lived in 5 different countries including China and can say that German customs always checks the value and opens the package, so I would think you are pretty much guaranteed to be charged the 20% and then an extra customs handling fee. This has to be one of my greatest frustrations with living in Germany, otherwise an absolutely awesome place to live and work!!!

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The B&H Photo website in the US has a tax, delivery, charges calculator when you put an item in the shopping basket. It does not make for happy reading for exports to Europe.

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