Warning on customs duty 35%!

Hi all,

Just ordered in from iherb some granola and other stuff you can’t buy decent versions of here.

Just a warning to those who haven’t read all the fine print and necro threads on here. 35% of the value of your purchase off iherb or elsewhere goes to the Taiwanese government, if the value is > NTD 2000.

Wow - what a shock to the system! Seems quite punitive and reactionary - I wonder if there are unintended consequences, i.e many more customs inspections for tiny little orders under the threshold of 2000 now.

I moved up here 6 months ago, yet another lesson learned in Taiwan to read the fineprint.

Hope this helps someone…


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And ROFL at the institutional tax avoidance that occurs here otherwise.


The highest customs duty in taiwan is 30%, so if you had to pay 35% I would presume 5% was VAT.

But, 30% customs duty on some granola seems a bit high. What customs commodity code did they classify the import in ?

May I ask where you are from? There are only a handful of territories in the world without import duties.

Well there’s 28 counties in the EU without imports duties from other EU countries. Though the UK decided they wanted to pay import duties because they want to take back control.


Of course, they are part of the single market. Thats why I also in my comment was referring to territories, and not countries.

Top of my head, the only one I can come up with would be Hong Kong, although they also got duties on alcohol and tobacco. But, I dont think the OP is from Hong Kong.

I am buying a laptop valued at 1K USD, having it shipped for free to family in the US and then they will mail it snail mail via USPS in a box full of other stuff like a care package.
I wanted to avoid having it shipped here directly via DHL, FedEx or UPS because I know those guarantee you will be hit with customs duty and vat.

Do you think doing it the way I am doing it via family and USPS has a high chance of being hit with customs duty and vat?

If it does happen, what should I expect to pay?

I would not be surprised if customs on computers are quite high, but I don’t know.

What I usually do when I order stuff from overseas is have it sent to hk and pick it up from there. Plan a bit ahead and consolidate everything you want, and make a weekend trip to hk and bring it back with you.

Another comment on this, USPS is not super trustworthy so I’m not sure I would send something valued at 1k with them under declared.

If the parcel is lost of damaged, they won’t pay you what you paid for the computer, they will pay what you wrote as value on the parcel

Okay some more detail. 20% customs duty. 10% to DHL Taiwan for advancing the payment (nice racket they have there), and 5% VAT.

I’ve got the customs slip but it is all in very technical Mandarin.

I’m Australian. No issue with the concept of a charge, it’s the quantum that bothers me.

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Ok, not surprised then you are upset. I remember australia having a pretty high duty free threshold, like 1000aud or something.

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Custom duties are a bit of a hassle, but over time you learn for what items it pays to buy abroad, what to get here, and what to carry back in a suitcase (or have a friend bring in for you).

Duties differ by product. This page lists all duty rates (and import restrictions) applicable to Taiwan. Before you purchase anything abroad, check the rate. VAT of 5% still applies, regardless of duty.

Duties on clothes and IHerb products are particularly high, based on complaints of Forumosans.

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This is an interesting idea.
Hong Kong is a free port. There is no customs tariff on goods imported into Hong Kong.
The trick would be having it delivered to a hotel address on an exact date.
The flight + hotel cost would need to be less than the taxation rate to make it worth the effort.

I found this site very helpful in finding how much money I would have to pay in taxes / duty / vat etc

Ends up it would cost me $5,000NT

A flight to HK + Hotel Stay + Food would be well over $5,000NT

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This has been discussed at length in the two threads below, neither of which I’d exactly call “necro”. Thanks for the 35% info; I’ve long been curious what the duty actually is. Also note that one of the posts in these threads emphasizes it’s the total value of the order that matters - so if you’re paying NT$1950 for your order, but you got a $100 discount, then the order itself is worth more than $2000 so you may still wind up with duty. For the past few orders I’ve been careful to keep the total value, after adding in discounts, under $1950, and I haven’t had to worry about duties yet.

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No, order with either DHL or FEDEX and pick it up from their office. Both of them will need a HK address on file when it is sent out from the US. But once the parcel is in transit call them, and ask to pick it up at their office.

DHL have more offices in central hk, so I prefer them for this reason. But the Fedex offices are not too hard to reach either.

just make sure the parcel arrives in hk prior to you, so if you fly in on say Friday, make sure the parcel is expected to arrive in hk already on Wednesday waiting for you at the dhl office.

Obviously you dont fly to hk just for this, the trick is to combine it with a extended weekend doing some partying :slight_smile:

Laptops are 0% duty, so you won’t be charged anything for that. Just 7% vat.

You will need import certificates though, search my posts for info, I imported one recently.

Usps also won’t insure anything going international over $500, so I wouldn’t use them.

Fabulous. :sunglasses:

Just make sure you follow the correct declaration/non-declaration procedure (whatever that is) when you re-enter Taiwan. :innocent:

Anyway so in the wash up, the title of my post is slightly misleading, as DHL Taiwan took 10% for fronting the 25% for me. Does that remind anyone of a loan shark operation ?

So I’m hating on DHL Taiwan more than the govt for charging me this obscene amount. At least the government has a reason (they are almost broke).

Interestingly, as a (perhaps? ) cultural aside, let me paint a picture of the contrast in my dealings with the two parties.

In my communication with DHL Taiwan, the response tone was all finger waving and “here are the T&Cs that you didn’t read”, “you messed up big time”. (Point taken - I did.)

On the opposing side iHerb the tone was apologetic, they say they try to do their best to inform customers they could be slapped hard with duties. They offered me some compensation, which they are yet to remit.

Ps. Wouldn’t be concerned about sending a laptop through the mail, but I’d be very concerned about buying a laptop in from an offshore e-commerce site… I’d imagine that would not be 0% duty - am I wrong?

Are you sure dhl took 10%? In my experience the dhl fee is a fixed amount, not a % of the import value

Yeah NTD 420 to DHL 關稅代付/代墊
And NTD 811 for 關稅金額.

That 420 may well be fixed yes. Just seemed a very round number to me.