What Are Customs Duties & Why Are They Important?

What Are Customs Duties?

Customs duties are taxes due for both imports and exports directly from customs authorities on all international shipments. The total price of the fee typically depends on the value of an item, with a higher fee for a pricer item. These fees are taken to help fund the regulation of goods going in and out of a country, allowing for more control over what’s going in and coming out of a place.

Who Pays Customs Duties?

Anyone importing goods into a country will have to pay customs duties on each imported item. You, as the importer, are responsible for the fee. If you are working with a customs broker or logistics manager, they will likely include customs duties in their invoice so be sure to ask what the total customs duties are.

When Are Customs Duties Paid?

Customs duties are usually paid after customs agents have gathered your items and gotten all the information they need to finish their assessment. In their assessment, they are looking for indicators of country of origin, overall value of the goods and signs of illegality in case the items are not acceptable for import. The importer will pay customs duties after assessment and before they may take their items out of customs possession.

Is There Paperwork Needed for Customs?

There are several forms you must fill out when importing most types of goods including:

  • A list with details about each of the items in your import
  • A notice of arrival from the U.S. customs agent
  • A commercial invoice noting the country of origin, purchase prices and HTS tariff classification of each item
  • A bill of lading listing your imports in the form of a receipt

If you are working with a logistics manager or customs broker, they will likely handle all paperwork for you with minimal effort on your end.

Can I Import Goods Myself?

Importing goods is more complicated than you might think with tight regulations and laws you must understand to be able to participate successfully. Not just anyone is able to import items into the United States, you must have the correct credentials to do so. If you are looking for an experienced and affordable customs broker, LogiWorld based out of Pembroke, MA is here to help. We offer shipping and customs brokerage from most countries around the world. Learn more about our logistics management company and contact us today to get a free quote!

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