Poshmark collects sales tax

Ordering from the USA: Can I save money despite customs?

Fortunately, you don't necessarily have to travel to New York yourself for an extensive shopping experience, but take advantage of the offers and bargains in American online shops. But if you are in the mood for trendy brands and trends, you also have to think about additional costs for taxes, customs and shipping. You can find out which regulations apply to orders from overseas here.

Before placing online orders from abroad, there are a few important points you should consider. On the one hand, the legal situation may differ in countries outside the EU - e.g. with regard to the right of withdrawal. On the other hand, the costs related to your purchase play a role. Of course, fashion is not the only reason to order from overseas. In the best case scenario, the total price for the goods should also be cheaper than in local shops. This is also often the case with electronic devices such as laptops or cameras. We have listed for you which additional costs can be incurred when ordering from the USA.

At what price do duties and taxes apply for online orders?

Mail from a country outside the EU must generally be cleared through customs. Whether and to what extent you incur import duties depends on the value of the goods and the type of your shipment. The value of the goods includes the entire amount, including postage and any surcharges for express delivery.

Value of goods not greater than 22 €: If the value of the goods, including shipping costs, does not exceed 22 €, you will not incur any import duties or customs costs. So you can shop at no extra cost.

Value of goods between € 22 and € 150: These shipments are duty-free, but import sales tax is charged. In most cases, the fees are the VAT rate of 19%. For some products, such as groceries and books, the reduced tax rate of seven percent applies. However, as only amounts of € 5 or more can be claimed, the threshold is basically around € 26.30.

Value of goods greater than 150 €: Above this level, customs duties are incurred for your orders. They are calculated from the respective duty rate of the goods and the import sales tax. The duty rate is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and shipping costs.

How can I calculate the duty rate?

The amount of the duty rate for the import of goods into the EU varies for most shipments to Germany from 0% to 17.5%. While electronic devices such as smartphones or notebooks are subject to a duty rate of 0% with the exception of import sales tax, the rates for clothing are higher. Shoes made of leather would be charged with a duty rate of 8% and clothing made of textiles with a duty rate of 12%. The stated duty rates are, however, only guidelines that may vary depending on the nature of the goods.

Further examples of types of goods and their import duty rates can be found on the website of the General Customs Directorate. You can also use the online customs calculator to find out about any additional costs before completing your order. The sample calculations tell you whether you can really save.

What is the customs procedure like?

Normally, the online shop will put a customs declaration on your package so that customs can check the shipment. You will receive your delivery as usual and pay the fees for customs clearance back to Deutsche Post. If the invoice for the customs declaration is missing or if it is incorrect, the consumer often has to collect the package himself from the responsible customs office. A notification letter will inform you about the required documents.

Don't wait too long for the pick-up if you want to avoid expenses and stress. The storage of the order is chargeable from the tenth day and your package will be sent back to the sender at your expense after two weeks. Letters - letters or parcels up to a weight of 2 kilograms - are only stored for seven days. If you do not find the time to go to the customs office yourself, you can have the post office represent you. You can find out exactly how to do this at Zoll.de.

Avoid counterfeit products and unsafe online shops

As with online shopping from the Far East, you should keep your hands off counterfeit products when ordering from the USA. The counterfeit products must not enter the economic cycle and are therefore confiscated by customs. Incredibly cheap deals from expensive luxury brands are of no use if you end up empty-handed. Therefore, always check the trustworthiness of the shop first and read the customer reviews. In European online trading, you can always rely on the Trusted Shops seal of approval.