Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hijacked Care Package

My best friend Steven sent me a belated birthday care package from Atlanta. He is the best! I received the usual notification that I had a package waiting so I was very surprised when all that was waiting for me was a notification from the good people at Česká Pošta that they were holding my package in Prague.

Apparently, since April 1st, there was a change in the customs regulations in order to be more compliant with EU standards. The rule changes impact the allotted value of goods shipped from outside of the EU. There are certain things that get you red-flagged, such as tobacco, alcohol, perfume and cosmetics.

Among the many items that Steven declared on the customs form were 10 sticks of deodorant valued at $20. Deodorant equals cosmetics so my box was put in holding. The Czech government wanted its VAT. I felt so violated.

I had two choices. I could go to Prague and deal directly with the post office, and customs, and pay the tax on $20 worth of deodorant. I went with option #2 where I filled out a power of attorney form, allowing the post office to represent me with the customs office, and e-mailed it.

Two weeks later the postal worker showed up with my box and a bill. In total it cost me about $12 for the administrative fee of figuring out how much VAT to pay plus the VAT itself. Thank goodness no one opened the box to see my favorite shaving cream and after shave which would have jacked up the taxes even more. Thanks Steven!!

Here's the deal. As long as you don't have any tobacco, cosmetics, or alcohol, then just make sure that the total value is less than €22 ($28). Then there's no problem and the package is delivered normally.

If the value is between €22 and €150 ($196) then you have to pay the appropriate VAT which I believe is around 20% of the value. If the value is over €150 then you still have to pay the VAT but it is more complicated.

EDIT: I received Mom's Thanksgiving care package. On the customs declaration form she listed "Baking Mix PKGS, Canned Foods, Food PKG Mixes, Candy PKGS" with the value stated at $32. No problems at all and it only took about 10 days to receive the package from Arizona. Thanks Mom!!!

1 comment:

  1. That friend of yours sounds like the best :) Next care package you will have to give me a refresher of the EU regulations or better yet I can hand deliver it. Love you, Steven.