Import Duty

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Q: I want to buy some shoes from Europe over the internet, but my friend warned me that I may have to pay a lot of import duty on leather. Is this true?

A: Unfortunately, your friend is correct. With the exception of certain items (including leather goods) imported goods with a total customs value of 10,000 Yen or less are exempted from taxation of customs duty and consumption tax.

Customs duty for items sent via a FedEx, UPS, Amazon, etc.,are usually handled as a separate charge to your credit card as part of the shipping fees, while things shipped via the post office will require a visit to the post office to pay the customs duty before receiving the goods.

Items that are subject to import duty include, but is not limited to, clothing (upto 20%), tea (upto 17%), jewelry and accessories (upto 5.4%), wine (15% or 182 Yen /liter), footwear containing leather (upto 30% or 4300 Yen /pair).

Duty free items include watches, motor vehicles, cameras and photographic equipment, musical Instruments, printed matter, and cosmetics.

Japanese customs service directs that a customs clearance entry is required for all shipments. Consumption tax is payable at 5% on the total cost of the value of your goods, freight and insurance.

Gifts and personal effects usually face no duties at all. Once washed, slightly wrinkled new clothes with no wrapping, tags, or invoices may qualify.

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