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Customs & Taxes
Customs Duty & Taxes when ordering from Japan
KuSakuraShop specializes in the worldwide export of martial arts equipment from Japan. We are considered as the exporter.
The customer ordering and receiving the product, is legally considered as "the importer".
All prices are tax-free; The import of Japanese products may be subject to various fees when the package enters the destination country. These fees must be paid by the recipient. There is currently no solution to include those cost in your order total due to the major differences in legislations in the 50+ countries we deliver on a daily basis.
However, there are no "hidden costs" - the whole process is transparent and in the check-out section you will find an estimation for the products you want to order and the tax regulations in the country of delivery. You do not have to do anything - the carrier will take care of the whole process and will ask you to settle the payment upon or after delivery. Check the section below for more information.
Note that KuSakuraShop does not accept any returns on the grounds of a refusal to pay customs fees. Packages returned for that reason will be shipped back at the customer's expense (the cost of return to Japan will be claimed), or destroyed by the carrier without any possibility of refund.
KuSakuraShop (the exporter) and the client (the importer)
KuSakuraShop is considered the exporter. Therefore, we take care of legal formalities relating to the export from Japan. As specialists in export, we are not registered with the Japan Customs Service (a service that is mainly for importers).
You are considered the importer of the goods in your country of residence.
Legal regulation: Can wooden weapons and other items be imported?
It is your responsibility as importer to check that the products ordered are consistent with the laws of your country and can be legally imported. It is also your responsibility to provide necessary documents if requested by customs. No refunds will be granted in case of purchase of a product that is not conform to the regulations of your country.
That being said, the equipment sold on this website comply with the legilsation of almost every country, and we are not aware of any specific difficulty in any country at the moment.
- Check regulations: Verify that the import of the goods ordered is permitted in your country. In general, the products sold by KuSakuraShop do not cause issues (importing wooden weapons poses no problem in Europe or North America), yet it is possible that the customs ask you additional information on the intended use of these products.
- Order reception: Packages must imperatively be delivered to an adult legally responsible for the content of the package and able to sign the delivery note. This is an international regulation, not a choice we made.
- Wooden weapons: Buying wooden weapons for a purpose other than for the practice of martial arts is strongly discouraged by our team. In case of a control by customs, you would be legally liable. However, in the context of Judo practice, we have experienced no specific issue. It happens though that packages are inspected (and even put under quarantine) by customs, which delays the delivery for about a week maximum.
Consumer Tax - VAT
Imported goods from Japan are subject to charges that must be paid by you as client and consumer. We have no control over these charges and have no way to accurately predict the exact amount. We invite you to contact the customs office in your country for more information.
- VAT is normally due on the entire order, excluding services such as embroideries and engravings performed in Japan.
- VAT is usually calculated as follows: (value of goods + shipping) x VAT = payable amount.
- Packages with a value below $22 are usually exempted of VAT.
- Taxes are charged by the carrier under the name BERTRAND CO.. BERTRAND CO is the company KuSakuraShop works with to mutualize international packages. For accounting purposes, the shipper address (KuSakuraShop) is mentionned on the invoice.
To keep the import costs as low as possible, we optimized the customs declaration and hence, as services are not indicated on the customs invoice, the total amount differs from the actual amount you paid. Furthermore, customs duties in most countries and other small packages including belts and other accessories ordered in low quantities may not be taxed.
Applicable customs taxes and handling fees
The customs tax depends on the nature of the products and it is due for orders above e.g. $150 for Europe / $200 for the US. For sporting goods (like most of the items offered on KuSakuraShop), it usually ranges from 2% to 3%. The exact rate depends on the importing country and the product category. Get in touch with your customs office for detailed information.
- Calculation: Value of goods x rate of customs taxes = payable amount
- Packages with a value under $150 are usually exempted of customs duties (but not VAT).
Please note: It is unlikely, but it can happen that the purchased items - although sporting goods - are taxed within a different category and without prior notice. Unfortunately, we have no power and control over such decisions.
Handling fees are also charged by the carrier for the collection of VAT and customs taxes. The common amount charged by FedEx, Japan Post (your local carrier), UPS and DHL are approximately $10 to $20, depending on the country of delivery.
To ensure the handling fees charged by the carrier do not weight to much on the order, we recommend placing orders over $150, for example, by mutualizing your orders with a friend at the dojo. Higher the amount, less important the handling fees will feel.
About the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement
Since the beginning of 2019, certain goods imported from Japan benefit from an exception or a reduction of applicable TARIFF (customs duty). Details are complicated and those new measures will be gradually released over a period of 7 years, but it doesn't change much for you. Most of our goods are taxed at about 3%. Taking our customs declaration optimizations into account, we have calculated that for the very large majority of customers, it will not significantly impact the taxes charged for their orders.
What is the estimated amount I have to pay in total?
As diverse aspects, we have no control over, need to be taken into account, it is difficult to come up with an exact amount. However, we created the custom fees calculator, to give you an estimation. All you have to do is: add all items you want to purchase to your cart, and open the cart page to review your order. Scroll down and check the section "Customs taxes" where you will find an estimation based on your current cart, and specific information concerning the country of delivery. (You can change the latter using the "Tools" section). But again, this is an estimation, and depending on the country and customs officers, the actual amount can vary.
Based on our experiences, we can state the following: based on an internal survey done in 2015 on over 500 orders, orders of around $300 are approximately charged $40.
- USA: Packages with a total order amount of below US$500 are almost never taxed.
- Australia: Packages are likely taxed, but in a fair and transparent manner. In the case of wooden weapons customs clearance may take extra time.
- United Kingdom: Packages usually are taxed but in a fair and transparent manner with fast customs clearance.
- Canada: Packages usually are taxed in Canada but in a fair and transparent manner with fast customs clearance.
- Italy: Regardless of which carrier, packages are taxed and customs clearance is slow. Express carriers like FedEx/UPS/DHL clear packages within 3 days, but with non-express carriers (Japan Post and local post) it can take up to 3 weeks.
- Spain: Regardless of which carrier, packages are taxed and customs clearance is slow. Express carriers like FedEx/UPS/DHL clear packages within 3 days, but with non-express carriers (Japan Post and local post) it can take up to 3 weeks.
- Portugal: Packages are always taxed, regardless of the carrier. The tax calculation is arbitrary when shipped with FedEx and UPS, because of which, we only offer shipping with Japan Post. Taxation is sometimes unfair, and if you have the possibility to have your order delivered outside of the country, in Spain for example, we strongly recommend to do so.
- Switzerland: Packages are always taxed, in a fair and transparent manner with fast customs clearance.
- Germany: Can be arbitrary at times, but usually, packages are taxed, in a fair and transparent manner with fast customs clearance. The package might has to be picked up from the local carrier if shipped with Japan Post.
- Greece: Packages are always taxed, regardless of the carrier. The tax calculation is arbitrary when shipped with FedEx and UPS, because of which, we only offer shipping with Japan Post. Although customs clearance may take 2 weeks, the taxation is usually fair, but there is no guarantee.
- Belgium: Packages are always taxed, regardless of the carrier. For Japan Post and FedEx tax calculations are fair with fast customs clearance. However, after bad experiences with UPS, we do not offer this carrier anymore.
- France: Packages shipped with UPS/FedEx most likely taxed. Small parcels sent with Japan Post (La Poste in France) are rarely taxed but in either case, calculations are fair and transparent with fast customs clearance.
- Russia: Packages shipped with express carriers like UPS/FedEx are always taxed. Sent with Japan Post taxation is arbitrary.
- Bulgaria: Every package is inspected and most often taxed and you might have to submit a proof of payment (official invoice) - do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance. Customs clearance is fast.
- Brazil: Every package is inspected and most often taxed and you might have to submit a proof of payment (official invoice). Clearance is slow, and the amount is sometimes largely overestimated. We strongly recommend checking the cost with your customs office prior to placing your order.
When and how do I settle the payment?
Again, this depends on the country of delivery and services offered as well as the carrier.
Upon delivery: The carrier/driver will ask you to settle the payment, usually offering several payment methods.
Upon invoice: To guarantee a fast delivery, some carriers choose to deliver the package and as the customs paperwork can take several weeks, send you a bill to settle the payment.
Over the counter: In countries like Germany and mostly when sent with Japan Post and local carriers, you might be invited to settle the payment when picking up your parcel at the local post office.
Dojo accounting: What has to be done?
- In most cases the order confirmation email you receive is sufficient, but you can download an official invoice through your account if needed.
- To prove the real amount paid in your currency, please refer to your credit card statement.
For VAT, customs taxes, and other fees:
- You will receive an invoice from the carrier for all charged fees.
Taxes are charged by the carrier under the name BERTRAND CO., the company KuSakuraShop works with to mutualize international packages. For accounting purposes, the shipper address (KuSakuraShop) is mentionned on the invoice.
These invoices can be used for your Dojo accountings - so make sure to keep them if your order was on behalf of a Dojo.
Can taxes be avoided?
We do optimize the amount indicated for customs clearance on each parcel, but this is all we can do. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to contact us .
Declare the goods as "gift" when shipped with UPS/FedEx, will have no impact on the taxation applied.
If you advise us to declare a lower amount than we would or label the package as "gift" - we will do so. However, with it, the insured amount in case of trouble (e.g. lost package) will be strongly limited, and in the case of any legal prosecution (based on e.g. wrong indication/declaration on the parcel) KuSakuraShop cannot be held responsible in any case.