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Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Customs

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Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Customs

Postby ladislav » May 28th, 2017, 8:49 am

Even if you have nothing to declare, the Customs Declaration requires that you list the value of all items purchased abroad on your trip.

If it's over $800, you've got to pay tax on them.

But the question is: how do you estimate it?

If you bought the item new, it is now used. Do you declare the original "new" purchase price or what it is worth now used?

How does it work?
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Re: Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Custom

Postby MrMan » May 28th, 2017, 1:26 pm

ladislav wrote:Even if you have nothing to declare, the Customs Declaration requires that you list the value of all items purchased abroad on your trip.

If it's over $800, you've got to pay tax on them.

But the question is: how do you estimate it?

If you bought the item new, it is now used. Do you declare the original "new" purchase price or what it is worth now used?

How does it work?


I got this from the findlaw site, using the old $200 figure. It has been raised to $800.

 admit articles free of duty and of any tax imposed on or by reason of importation, but the aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of articles imported by one person on one day and exempted from the payment of duty shall not exceed an amount specified by the Secretary by regulation, but not less than--
 $100 in the case of articles sent as bona fide gifts from persons in foreign countries to persons in the United States ($200 in the case of articles sent as bona fide gifts from persons in the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa), or
 $200 in the case of articles accompanying, and for the personal or household use of, persons arriving in the United States who are not entitled to any exemption from duty under subheading 9804.00.30, 9804.00.65, or 9804.00.70 of title I of this Act, or
 $200 in any other case.
- See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-19-customs-duties/19-usc-sect-1321.html#sthash.Txg0dKPC.dpuf


So, let's say you bought a pair of jeans in China. How much could you sell those used jeans for there in Tokyo? 10% of face value? I remember hearing on the news that Bill Clinton donated his used underpants and claimed half their value back on his tax returns. Maybe 50% of their purchase price could be a good number if they are a year old or so. I suppose you could argue $40 new jeans are worth about $5 used.

It sounds very subjective.

You could also argue that they depreciate so much a year until they have a salvage value of a dollar.
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Re: Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Custom

Postby Contrarian Expatriate » May 28th, 2017, 10:15 pm

In my experience, they will grant you a buffer much like a cop will give you a pass so long as you are not driving more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

But if you are importing a pricey item, it is best to keep the receipts to prove the price value. If it came down to it, they could permit you to log into the credit card site to prove the value.

They typically only go hard after contraband items, items imported for commercial sale, and undeclared cash coming and going into the states. If you purchased a $900 laptop, they would likely yawn so long as you remain polite and courteous. Those who are rude and pushy get full scrutiny in a place they call "Secondary." That behavior is highly correlated with smuggling and deception.

The big thing is TSA tips off US Customs to undeclared cash they detect so ensure you make your cash declarations (10k or more per group of people) when needed or they can seize it from you!
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Re: Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Custom

Postby MrMan » May 29th, 2017, 4:36 am

I haven't transported expensive very items across borders. I have gone back to the US after several years and tried to think through how many of my clothes were purchased overseas, though. But then realized they were worth basically nothing if I resold them.

My guess is they won't care about clothing and shoes back unless you are taking a large number of high end shoes. If you had 10 pairs of brand new high end Italian shoes, maybe they would say something. But for a regular Joe's clothes, they probably don't care. So as long as you are comfortable with the number you estimate and you are not taking anything expensive in, they probably won't care either.

I knew a man who took tens of thousands in before 9/11. I believe he said they didn't charge him anything when he told them he was a contractor and he was taking his earnings from his job back with him. They may just want you to report it to keep tabs on illegal activities.
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Re: Declaring Value of Items Purchased Overseas to US Custom

Postby xtravel » June 10th, 2017, 2:27 pm

ladislav wrote:Even if you have nothing to declare, the Customs Declaration requires that you list the value of all items purchased abroad on your trip.

If it's over $800, you've got to pay tax on them.

But the question is: how do you estimate it?

If you bought the item new, it is now used. Do you declare the original "new" purchase price or what it is worth now used?

How does it work?


Use the receipt.
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