What should I do if I encounter customs problems?

In general, customs inspect is randomly. Not all parcels will be charged duties, but all parcels have possibility to be held and charged duties when arriving at destination customs. Usually we will take reasonable action such as declare a low value to help avoid taxes. But we can’t guarantee anything to you. We are not responsible for customs problems, because we have no way to get in touch with each local customs. Please make sure you can handle customs problems by yourself.

According to our experience, there are some general questions about customs tax for reference:

§ Will you be responsible for the customs fee I was charged?

Sorry, we will not be responsible for the customs fee. However, we can help to declare the items value less to help you avoid customs fee or reduce it. Customs policy is different from country to country, and you can have a check before you place the order.

§ How much do you declare for a package usually? Do you declare real value?

We usually declare a low value to help avoid customs tax. For example, usually 5-40 USD for a 1-5kg package, and 30-90 USD for a 5-30kg package.

When the order is in Shipping status, you can see the specific information we declared on the order details page. This information will help you file and pay customs duties.

§ Can I require an exact or lower declared value?

Sure. You can email us before you pay for shipping if you have any requirements on declared value of description.

§ How to avoid duties or taxes?

  1. Control the parcel weight. Generally, the bigger the parcel is, the bigger chance to be held by customs. So we suggest to split parcels if total weight is more than 20kg or 30KG. But some customers don’t want to split parcels because of it costs a little more than shipping all in one parcel. Anyway, it depends on your own decision.
  2. Mark as Gift. Most customers told us that marking as gift can reduce possibility of being charged taxes. There are also a few customers who would not like to mark as gift, it may because their customs is more sensitive for such parcels. You can select to mark as gift or not before pay for shipping. We provide options for you to choose and mark the parcel based on your final choice.
  3. Remove tags. We usually do Not remove items tags unless customers request. So if you want to remove tags, please let us know in advance.

§ Which currency will you declare?

We can only declare in US dollars on the shippig label. So please tell us the matched USD if you have request on declared value.

§ How much is the taxes/duties?

We have no exact idea, because it varies from country to country, and also have something to do with parcel weight/size. Please visit your local customs authority or related website for more information.

§ Can I require an invoice outside package when shipping?

Sure. Please email us before you pay for shipping if an invoice is required. Otherwise we will not put any invoice or document on packages.

§ How do we deal with EU VAT?

The EU will implement a new VAT scheme on July 1, 2021. This scheme requires that all sales of goods from outside the EU to 27 countries in the EU will be subject to VAT, regardless of the price.

1. Since 42agent only helps customers to buy Chinese goods on behalf of their customers, and does not sell goods directly, it is not possible to pre-register goods and pay VAT on the EU website. Therefore, the recipient has to cooperate with the local customs to clear the customs and pay VAT.

Unlike sellers on B2C platforms such as Amazon, we cannot pay VAT for you in advance. We recommend that customers from 27 EU countries call their local customs office in advance to understand the customs clearance process and VAT payment rates before placing an order with 42agent.

2. When the parcel arrives at the local customs, the staff will notify the recipient of the customs clearance and VAT payment by email or phone. Therefore, please make sure that the email and phone information in your 42agent order address is correct and you can be contacted.

Note that if you fail to pay the VAT in time, it may result in the parcel being returned or destroyed. You will need to bear all losses yourself.

3. Special note for Netherlands customers. If the Netherlands customs cannot reach the recipient by email, a surcharge of 3 EUR/parcel will be added.

4. Special note for Dropshipping customers. If your customer is located in one of the 27 EU countries, you will also need to inform them in advance that the recipient should clear customs and pay VAT in person.

The 27 EU countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

You can find out more details at https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/vat-e-commerce_en.

§ Why can’t 42agent pay EU VAT?

There are several important elements for the payment of EU VAT. First, the SKU is limited; second, the sales volume of the SKU can be predicted. At least these two basic conditions have to be met in order to pay VAT to the EU in advance.

For example, a company sells 30 SKUs of goods to the EU, the average price of each product is 60 CNY, and the average sales of each product is 120 units a month. Assuming that the VAT rate for these products is 15%, then the VAT should be paid in advance for 216,000 / 1.15 x 15% = 28,174 CNY / 3,687 EUR.

Looking back at 42agent’s business, first of all, our customers can buy almost unlimited SKUs – as long as they do not violate the restrictions on the types of goods we send. Secondly, we can’t predict how much each SKU will sell – the number of SKUs depends on the demand of the customer who buys the item, not on our own sales plan.

If you know 42agent’s business model, you know that in fact 42agent doesn’t sell anything to its customers at all. In the Shop For Me model, you pay us the price of the item you want to buy and we buy and ship it on your behalf; in the Ship For Me model, you buy the item directly. Neither the type of SKU nor the volume of the SKU is under our control. Therefore, you can understand why we cannot prepay EU VAT.

§ How can I avoid paying EU VAT?

We don’t know any way to avoid EU VAT, because EU customs will strictly check every imported parcel. And we do not recommend you to break the local customs rules.

If you don’t have the ability to clear customs, or think it is too complicated, you can find a local qualified agent and let them clear customs for you. If you think the price of paying VAT or agent fee is too high, then you can compare the selling price of local offline business or e-commerce and buy from China (actually every item includes VAT). Buying goods from 42agent or from China is not the only option. 🙂