Friday, December 4, 2009

Ask the Wizard: Are Gifts Duty-Free?

Each Friday, the Wizard joins us to share an answer to one of the questions asked during the week. This week, we had a timely question about gifts.

Do I have to pay duties on gifts sent to me by relatives in France? Who pays duty for gifts that I send them?

As we enter the season of shopping and gift-giving, this is an excellent question for us to discuss. If your friends and family send gifts from foreign countries, such as France, you will be able to receive them duty free if the value of the gift does not exceed $100. If one box contains gifts for more than one person, each recipients name must be marked on the package. The outer carton or wrapping must be marked with the fair retail value and description of the contents, such as shoes, sweaters, shirts , etc.. The package should also state that the contents include gifts.

Example of correct marking of a gift package.

To: Mary Smith
123 Main Street
Anywhere, USA 10001

Contents: Gifts
Chocolate Candy $10 USD
Women’s Wool Sweater $35 USD
Ceramic Dog Figurine $15.00

Note: The duty exemption for gifts does not apply to "gifts" mailed to oneself or mail-ordered from the United States.

CBP does not collect any duty on exports; however, there may be restrictions on exporting certain articles and exporting to certain countries. Value, documentation and allowable items vary from country to country. The foreign country's government determines duty requirements for imports into their country. Contact the embassy for the recipient's country to obtain information about what goods may be sent to their country, and what their duty exemptions are for gifts. Some of the carriers also provide information about the requirements for other countries.

Now that you are equipped with
CBP requirements for imports and exports, send those packages to your friends and family overseas and sit back and wait to receive a few packages from your loved ones. The Wizard is watching the mailbox and listening for the doorbell in anticipation of the arrival of those gift packages!

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