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Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Old Apr 2nd 2009, 1:13 pm
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Default Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Hi All,

First off, this is not another thread about whether or not my Region 2 discs will work in the US (I'm all over that one...)

I'm moving to the US at the end of May (from Ireland) and I am determined to bring my beloved DVD collection - about 300 discs in original boxes - with me. I have tried and tried to get some sense and helpful info from the shippers I have talked to about the potential duty costs on shipping my collection, but no cigar.

Can anyone please advise if I am looking at some sort of hefty duty charge (on top of the standard shipping)? I have had it suggested to me by one big-name shipper that it "might" incur an additional 30% duty fee (that is, 30% of the estimated cost of the dvds I guess - he couldn't say) or, from the same company, "no fee at all". ???

The DVD's are all over 6 months old and are just your standard film-nerd fare (art-house, indie, world cinema etc).

Any and all advice on what sort of costs I might be facing - if any - would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Tempelton

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Old Apr 2nd 2009, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

300 different movies are okay as long as they don't appear to be for resale.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/va...uced_rates.xml

Household Effects

Household effects are duty-free. These include such items as furniture, carpets, paintings, tableware, stereos, linens, and similar household furnishings; tools of the trade, professional books, implements, and instruments.

You may import household effects you acquired abroad duty-free if:

You used them for at least one year while you were abroad.
They are not intended for anyone else or for sale.

Clothing, jewelry, photography equipment, portable radios, and vehicles are considered personal effects and cannot be brought in duty-free as household effects. However, duty is usually waived on personal effects over 1 year of age.

All vehicles are dutiable.
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Old Apr 2nd 2009, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Buy a couple of DVD wallets, stick in the discs and carry them in or stick them in your luggage. If you really need the case inserts, stick them in an box and mail them, it will be cheap. Then if you really need cases, buy them here. The only cases I bought over were limited/special edition ones that were non-standard. Akira tin, Band of Brothers, etc. I still had the disks in the wallets but posted the packaging over with a bunch of misc stuff. Regardless of how you do it, you wont get charged duty.
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Old Apr 2nd 2009, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Our DVD collection was declared and shipped over as personal effects with our other household goods. They were almost all over a year old. Customs did not charge us any duty at all.

I have a friend in British customs (and has friends in US Customs, since there are many based at points of departure across the world), who has said that in most cases where it is fairly evident by what is being shipped, that they are part of a relocation consignment, they won't charge you at all. But it really depends on what kind of day the customs inspector is having! Helpful huh!
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Old Apr 3rd 2009, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Many thanks to y'all for some handy comments. I guess I am going to send them all and see what happens. (Although I am tempted by the practical and clever idea to simply put them in wallets and then send the inserts by mail).

I have however found the following stated rule in regards to dvd's:

"You may bring back genuine trademarked and copyrighted
articles (subject to duties). Products subject
to copyright protection most commonly imported
include software on CD-ROMs, sound recordings, toys,
stuffed animals, clothing with cartoon characters,
videotapes, DVDs, music CDs, and books. Products
subject to trademark protection most commonly
imported include handbags and accessories, and clothing."

That's from page 57 of this doc: http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...eforeyougo.pdf

Obviously it is the "subject to duties" bit that scares me. Hmmm... What's a movie lover to do?!
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Old Apr 3rd 2009, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Originally Posted by Chrissywissy100 View Post
Our DVD collection was declared and shipped over as personal effects with our other household goods. They were almost all over a year old. Customs did not charge us any duty at all.

I have a friend in British customs (and has friends in US Customs, since there are many based at points of departure across the world), who has said that in most cases where it is fairly evident by what is being shipped, that they are part of a relocation consignment, they won't charge you at all. But it really depends on what kind of day the customs inspector is having! Helpful huh!
This is hopeful... May I ask, how many dvd's did you bring and where did you ship them from?

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Old Apr 3rd 2009, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Originally Posted by Tempelton View Post
Obviously it is the "subject to duties" bit that scares me. Hmmm... What's a movie lover to do?!
If you're that worried, call them up. They have a division at the US embassy and I spoke to a very helpful guy there before I moved. If it's a personal collection of DVDs that you are not selling, you will not get charged. I had way more DVDs than you did when I came over and I declared the total number, it was close to 500, and they didn't even question it. I just put "Personal DVD collection" and gave it a $1 per DVD valuation.

Last edited by Duncan Roberts; Apr 3rd 2009 at 2:05 pm.
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Old Apr 3rd 2009, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Originally Posted by Duncan Roberts View Post
If you're that worried, call them up. They have a division at the US embassy and I spoke to a very helpful guy there before I moved. If it's a personnel collection of DVDs that you are not selling, you will not get charged. I had way more DVDs than you did when I came over and I declared the total number, it was close to 500, and they didn't even question it. I just put "Personal DVD collection" and gave it a $1 per DVD valuation.
You're right, I should call them. I guess I don't have any faith in civil servants to relay accurate information. However, perhaps not all civil servants are as indifferent as they are in Ireland!

Thanks for the sound advice.
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Old Apr 4th 2009, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Originally Posted by Tempelton View Post
You're right, I should call them. I guess I don't have any faith in civil servants to relay accurate information. However, perhaps not all civil servants are as indifferent as they are in Ireland!

Thanks for the sound advice.
Calling them is a waste of time. Telling them that "Bob at the embassy said I can" is rarely helpful.
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Old Apr 4th 2009, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

Originally Posted by crg14624 View Post
Calling them is a waste of time. Telling them that "Bob at the embassy said I can" is rarely helpful.
Obviously so. But I hadn't meant to merely quote one official to another. More I was hoping to accrue some accurate info that would set my mind at ease prior to shipping (info which, if significantly different from what I currently possess, could also change the action that I take).

Thanks for your input anyway.

T
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Old Apr 4th 2009, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Duty on Shipping DVD Collection to USA

I looked into this when someone asked about a computer a few months ago. There are kind of two points here:

1. Are they dutiable?
As crg14624 says, as "Household Effects" they should be exempt.

2. What's the procedure for getting them in?
Here there are three possibilities:
A. In person, with you when you travel over. You might have to explain things to the customs officers, but there should be no duty to pay.
B. Through the postal system. Here there's a white customs form in the post office that's the same in every country. Writing "Household Effects" in the relevant spot should do the trick. Technically, a US customs officer reads the form, then acts as your "agent" for the purposes of formally "entering" the goods into the country. The process is simple because of international postal agreements. If for whatever reason the customs officer isn't convinced, they send a letter to the addressee.
C. Through a moving company, courier, etc. etc.
Here I believe the company has to act as your "agent" when the goods enter the country "unaccompanied". This requires a US customs form, together with details of who you are, what visa you're moving on etc. etc. and a form granting the "agent" the authority to act in your place to "enter" the goods into the country. The process is complicated, because it can be!
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