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Customs forms

Who fills out the customs form?

It's your choice, either you or Pacme can create the customs form for your outgoing package.  The customs' item list is the trickiest part of the shipment to coordinate between the two of us.  If you want us to do it, just check the box when you are ordering the consolidation.  There is a fee for us to do it, but it's less hassle for you.

If you want to fill out the customs item list yourself, then here is the process that will help you do it:

  • When a package arrives, we scan the invoice and take a few photographs of the items so you can see what's inside the box.  We upload these files into your account.  Note, however, that many retailers, Amazon in particular, will "drop ship" items from different warehouses so you might have placed only one order, but it could arrive in two or more boxes.  Perhaps only one had an invoice and maybe none of them did.  If the invoice is missing, we will create a quick item list for the package.  You can use a combination of the invoices, photographs, and your own knowledge of what you purchased to fill out the item list.  You do this in step 2 of the consolidation process.  It could get a bit unwieldy if you have lots of packages in the consolidation and forgot what's in them.

  • Or, you can get a head start in filling out the item list for each package before you do the consolidation.  You do this in the "Item List" tab for the particular incoming package.  You can enter the items into the form right there on the tab.  Each package has it's own set of tabs. Later, when doing a consolidation, you can suck the item list from each particular incoming package into the consolidated package's customs form.  Then, you can still edit the final customs' item list.

In summary, we will print the actual customs form during the final shipping stage when we print the carrier label, but you can control the information that goes into the customs form (e.g. item list and value).


Who pays the customs fees, duties, and taxes?

You are responsible for all customs fees, duties, and taxes when your package arrives at its destination.  There are no US fees on export.


Can I cheat on the value that I put on the customs form?

Don't cheat.  Didn't your mother tell you that?  

There are some grey areas, however.  The customs value for an item is usually either the purchase price that you paid or the "fair market value" of the product.  That is left for some interpretation.  

Many products are considered "used" if they have been opened or do not have tags on them.  Once they pass through an intermediary (e.g. your aunt or a consolidator), they also might not be considered new.  Many US retailers will not accept returns, so the value of the item decreases once it is considered sold and delivered.  

Different countries have different rules and you might know the customs rules in your country better than we do.  

Ultimately, you are responsible for the customs list so that's why we give you final control of it if you want.


What is an HS Code (Harmonized Code)?

Theoretically, every product has an internationally-accepted customs code that assists countries in abiding by quota and tariff systems.  That's the HS code (Harmonized Code).

For instance, a 100% cotton tshirt has a different code than a tshirt made from 50/50 cotton and polyester, and might very well have a different customs duty rate for a large, commercial shipment.

For personal shipments under $2500, however, HS Codes are usually not required at all.  If you are filling out your own customs form, you don't need to include them.  We try to include them on the customs form because they do help speed a package through customs.  We use 6-digit codes, which is the minimum necessary to pass through most customs controls.

written in: Things to Know

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