Amazon Orders and Tax

FYI to any who is interested, just ordered 3 DVDs and 3 books from Amazon. Took about 7 days to get here using their medium speed delivery.

You have to pay 5% total sales tax on everything including shipping, plus 4% extra on the DVD’s. Not bad considering none of these are available here and I saved so much off of the suggested retail price from ordering on Amazon anyway.

Pretty cool.

But the only drawback could be when customs holds your box and wants you to pay the 50% import tax. Had that happen to me when I had some vitamin supplements sent in and was told I had to pay $189 plus have the health department here inspect them (Taiwan and health department ???).

 Needless to say I avoided the tax by making FED EX pay to have the box shipped back to the States plus give me a refund total refund on all shipping charges.  I then had my folks mark the value of the box at $40 and had it shipped DHL.  No problem since.  

 It is illegal for companies in the States to undervalue the items in a box to avoid import tax.  Because of this I have most of my stuff sent to my folks, have the tags removed then send it as "returned for repair" thus giving the finger to the guys in the mailing room here in Taiwan.

I’m surprised by this, as I thought Amazon would only ship electronic media to the US - I once tried to order software from them.

Just got everything this morning. Customs did hold my shipment back, but it is not and should never be 50%! Depends on the product I suppose. Maybe vitamins are taxed at a different rate. For example, the books were not taxed at all other than 5% sales tax, but the DVD’s had to add 4% extra import tax. There was also a one day customs warehouse charge. Ridiculous. NT$105 for overnight storage or something. The warehouse charge was a joke. Anyway, saved a lot of money on everything. For example, two of the DVD box sets I bought retail for $99 but Amazon was selling them for $75, same with one of my books, retails for $50 but Amazon had it for $35. The discount more than covers the tax and shipping.

As for the DVDs, I am also surprised because they are Region 1 coded, not playable in this region unless you have a code free DVD player, which most are Code free in Taiwan anyway.

I remember a long time ago buying a couple dozen bottles of beer in the states and bringing it back to Canada. I hadn’t been out of the country for more than a day so I couldn’t declare the alcohol and avoid taxes. But hey, I thought, it was still so much less than I’d pay in Canada. Even if they taxed me at 50% it’s still cheaper, right? Wrong. It was a long time ago, but I think I paid around 200% of the cost of the beer in the customs office. It ended up costing almost exactly what it would have had I bought it at a liquor store in Vancouver.

Mucha man;

That sucks about the beer. I mean you had to pay all that tax for American beer. American beer… sheesh. You would think the border guard would have a little more sympathy… well in any event, you could have stashed your beverages in the ditch in Zero ave and gone around to pick them up… :wink:

Hobart, I am also very surprised that they even shipped them to do due to the region coding, do you have a way to play these? I guess apparently so…

As far as the storage fee goes, if you can find out which company is handling your shipment you can call them when you know the shipment will be here and tell them to get it out of there ASAP. I’ve done this before, it does save on fees!

[quote=“TheyAreParasites”]

 Needless to say I avoided the tax by making FED EX pay to have the box shipped back to the States plus give me a refund total refund on all shipping charges.  I then had my folks mark the value of the box at $40 and had it shipped DHL.  No problem since.  

 It is illegal for companies in the States to undervalue the items in a box to avoid import tax.  Because of this I have most of my stuff sent to my folks, have the tags removed then send it as "returned for repair" thus giving the finger to the guys in the mailing room here in Taiwan.[/quote]

I was thinking about sending couple bottles of dietary supplements/vitamins to a friend in Taiwan, but don’t want him to have to pay customs. Can anyone explain what DHL means? and how to send it as “return for repair” as stated above?

We’ve been in Taiwan 7+ years and are regular customers at Amazon (.com, .co.uk & .de) since probably about 4 or 5 years, ordering VCDs, DVDs, Videos & books on a monthly basis. We have NEVER had to pay any import duties here in Taiwan and our parcels have also never been opened, held back or anything like that … ?!? Service is great, usually a week from both the states & europe, very smooth.

Same here! I spend about NT$3000 there each month, and nary a problem with taxes or delivery. Region 1 DVDs arrive just fine, and of course it is easy to find an appropriate DVD player here. I can’t understand why they are holding your deliveries.

Vorkosigan

Joy,

DHL is another private courier company like UPS and Fedex. However, DHL has a deal with USPS (US postal service) for EMS (Express mail Service) and will sometimes deliver on USPS behalf internationally.

All private courier have their own custom brokers, so you will 100% need to pay the custom broker fee if they are used.

If you drop the package through the post office. You’re playing a game of cat and mouse with Taiwan customs. Do you stop your package and inspect and search and decide to tax you.

Best bet is the post office if you wish to avoid import duty or fees.

Why? AFAIK there is no law or rule that you can’t sell them to overseas customers. The only problem may be the import, i.e. the destination country could refuse or restrict the import under their laws, but often related to issues regarding censorship and not the region code itself.
Personal imports of DVDs are usually not a problem, while residing in Malaysia I ordered many DVDs, mainly from Canada due to the better exchange rate and if you kept the shipping quantities low (i.e. max. two single DVDs or one double-DVD) there was no “customs problem”.

For playing DVDs with a different region code get a modified or codefree player, lot’s available around here. Ensure that it’s PAL capable if you are interested in DVDs from Europe and Australia (though note that most TVs here can’t handle PAL).