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Customs Duty & Taxes
Seido Co., Ltd. specializes in the worldwide export of martial arts equipment from Japan.
All prices are tax-free; however, charges, depending on the rate applied in the country of reception, may be applied by customs upon import of the package.
Do not worry; the process is transparent. It delays the actual delivery very little and is fully managed by the carrier, who will ask for the payment of the fees upon delivery of your package. Not every package is taxed, and the procedure can vary depending on the country. You will find all information about this below.
The exporter (Seido) and the importer (the client)
Seido Co., Ltd. is the exporter; therefore, we carry out the legal paperwork for the exported product leaving Japan, formalities on the Japanese side. All parcels will be shipped under "DDU/DAP" incoterm.
The customer is considered as the importer by the law of his country. All our exported products are sold on Japanese soil; therefore, they comply with the legislation of Japan. It is the customer's responsibility to verify that purchases comply with the laws of his or her country of residence. It is the customer's responsibility to provide all materials his country's customs might ask for clearance (which, practically, rarely happens).
Regulated items & How to make sure if an item can be imported
Almost all the products in our catalog can be imported in any country without problem. We have experienced no trouble with clothing (Hakama, Dogi, Belts), nor with any of our accessories. Wooden weapons rarely pose issues in most countries; however, with Iaito it can be complicated. Here is a list of issues that have occurred in the past. This list is for information purpose only; at the end, you are responsible for the import of the product, and if a package must be sent back to us due to your country's import restrictions, it will be at your own expense.
- Iaito to the UK: importation is allowed, but you must justify its use as equipment for martial art training. The carrier will ask for a copy of your licence/registration in a recognized martial art federation, with a copy of your ID. (We use UPS for Iaito in the UK, as they have a better customs clearance service on this matter).
- Iaito to Russia: we have managed to deliver Iaito to Russia in the past; however, the customs procedure might be rather complicated. Please follow the instructions of local customs when the package arrives to make sure your order will be duly delivered.
- Wooden weapons to the US: we have experienced no major problem, but the package stayed stuck for customs inspection for 1 to 2 weeks. There is a complicated regulation - that includes quarantine - in the US on imported wooden material; we (neither the customs) do not know if it should be applied to wooden weapons. This is not a major issue, but some questions might be asked.
Applicable VAT (Consumer tax)
Import from Japan may be subject to different charges when the package arrives in the country of destination. These fees must be paid by the recipient. We have no control over taxation and cannot predict their amount or their particular application. Please contact the customs office in your country for more information. Some local carriers might charge additional fees when perceiving VAT and customs duty, such as handling fees.
Calculation: (Value of products + shipping fees) x VAT rate = applicable VAT.
Example (France): 5,000 YEN (bokken) + 1,500 YEN (shipping) x 20% (vat rate) = 1,300 YEN
Note that the shipping fees used for the calculation are fixed in their actual amount, invisible for you, since the shipping is included in the product price and not stated on the official invoice. The declared value of the products is standardized (and optimized) by the type of product. It is slightly underestimated so you never pay more than you should. The VAT does not apply on services, such as embroideries and engravings, realized in Japan. Those services are not indicated on the invoice. The details and total amount on the customs invoice and the details on your order confirmation/official invoice will differ.
Fees and applicable customs taxes
On packages declared over a certain amount (150€ in Europe, US $200 in the US), customs duty can be charged. Customs duty is a tax for which the amount depends on the item's category. Sporting goods, the category used for most of our products, is charged around 2.9%. As the rate depends on the country and the product type, please contact the customs office in your country for more information. (Not always accurate, but if you want to dig a little deeper into the subject, www.dutycalculator.com is a good resource.)
For reference, the import tax in Europe for sporting goods is 2.9%
Calculation: Value of products x customs tax rate = applicable taxes
Example (Europe): 5,000 YEN (bokken) x 2.9% = 145 YEN
Disclaimer: customs officers may change the category without consultation. We do not control their final decision, but problems are very rare.
With customs duty and consumer taxes, the carrier will charge handling fees. Those fees are charged for the service of carrying out the customs clearance and perceiving the taxes on behalf of your local customs. The fees vary, depending on the carrier and the country of delivery. It is not possible to take care of the import procedure on your level; customs clearance can only be processed by the carrier.
- FedEx: between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN
- UPS: between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN
- Japan Post (local post office): between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN
How high are the taxes I have to pay?
Because it is tricky, we have created a custom fees calculator that considers all the fees, directly on the cart page. Adding items to your cart will automatically update the duty cost estimation. However, applying the customs fees heavily depends on the country and might not be applied, so let us review countries we know well (get in touch with us if you want to help us improve this list).
In most countries, and considering everything, the average taxes for a 30,000 YEN order is around 3000 to 3,500 YEN (This calculation is based on the actual taxes charged by our carriers in 2015 on over hundreds of packages sent around the world).
- USA: Against expectation, packages are rarely taxed in the US. As far as we can evaluate it, the number of orders taxed for which the total amount is less than US$500 is close to none.
- Australia: We have not received many complaints from Australia either. We do not have a specific number, but taxation is likely, but reasonable. Customs clearance is fast.
- United Kingdom: Unfortunately, almost all packages are taxed in the UK. However, the calculation is always fair and till now, no trouble worth mentioning. Customs clearance is fast.
- Canada: Most packages are taxed in Canada, but the calculation is always fair. No issues. Customs clearance is fast.
- Italy: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier, and unfortunately, customs clearance is not fast. FedEx/UPS packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes.
- Spain: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier, and unfortunately, customs clearance is not fast. FedEx/UPS packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes.
- Switzerland: All packages are taxed, but the calculation is fair and clearance is fast.
- Germany: Very inconsistent. Most packages are taxed, the calculation is fair, and clearance is fast. However, local carrier (when shipped with Japan Post) might ask you to pick up the package at a specific location.
- Greece: local customs takes over all carriers and uses odd norms to calculate the fees when shipped with FedEx and UPS. This is the reason we never use FedEx/UPS for shipping to Greece. With Japan Post, the calculation is usually fair, but there is no guarantee, as it is up to the customs officer at the end. Customs clearance is fairly long (1 to 2 weeks).
- Belgium: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier. Calculation is fair with Japan Post and FedEx, and most packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but sometimes, Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks. (Using UPS, we had some odd calculations, so we do not use this carrier for Belgium, anymore).
- France: Very inconsistent. Most UPS/FedEx packages are taxed, but not 100%. Japan Post (La Poste) small packages are rarely taxed. Calculation method is fair, and clearance is fairly fast.
- Russia: All UPS/FedEx packages are taxed. As for Japan Post packages, it is rather arbitrary, depending on the custom officer in charge.
When and how do I pay customs?
There are 3 ways the customs duty and taxes can be charged, depending on the carrier and country.
Pay the driver: Usually, the driver will ask you to pay upon delivery. You can usually pay cash or by check.
Pay by bill: Mostly with FedEx, but not in all countries and all cases. If the paperwork takes too long to have the bill ready at delivery, FedEx will deliver the package asap and send you the bill 2-3 weeks later . Payment methods depend on the country and will be indicated on the bill.
Pay at the counter: In rare cases (mostly in Germany, as far as we know, and never with UPS/FedEx), the carrier might ask you to come to the office to pick up your package and pay the bill at the counter.
How does it work with the dojo accounting?
For the order :
- You can download an official invoice for your order from your account (most of the time, a copy of the order confirmation email is enough).
- A copy of your credit card statement or the PayPal payment confirmation email will state the real amount charged in your currency.
For customs duty and taxes:
- The carrier will always give you an invoice for the total amount, including duty, consumer tax, and fees.
Adding both invoices can be processed in your dojo accounting if you placed the order on behalf of your dojo.
Can I avoid being taxed?
No, not outside of the optimization we already do. Feel free to contact us if you want more details.
With UPS/FedEx, declaring items as gifts will not affect taxation.
If you request to declare a specific amount, under a specific declaration type (gift), we will do it. However, this will invalidate the package insurance (reduce it to the amount declared) and Seido will not be held responsible in any legal prosecution based on that.