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Ok, would-be customs cheats...
Old 01-31-2016   #1
Dante_Stella
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Ok, would-be customs cheats...

So for the people who are perpetually asking to undervalue items or declare them as gifts (this seems to me almost every other thing I try to sell on RFF) -

- Does it occur to you that if you ask sellers of items to do dishonest things that those sellers are going to regard you as dishonest?

- Do you realize that there are civil and criminal penalties in the U.S. for falsifying export forms? Or that a lot of us work in regulated industries where we are not going to put licenses in jeopardy (to any degree) for the sake of saving you a buck?

- What's your basic problem with following the law in your country or paying your taxes?

I regard paying taxes and duties to be a "cost of doing business" wherever you live. Those taxes and fees pay for things like national health care, comprehensive social welfare systems, and/or really good educational systems.

Dante
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Old 01-31-2016   #2
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I do not cheat or ask others to. The risk isn't worth the pennies it saves, and I just don't think it's right to do.

I'm not Simon Pure and don't pretend to be. I just try to abide by the law.
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Old 01-31-2016   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
So for the people who are perpetually asking to undervalue items or declare them as gifts (this seems to be almost every other thing I try to sell on RFF) -

- Does it occur to you that if you ask sellers of items to do dishonest things that those sellers are going to regard you as dishonest?

- Do you realize that there are civil and criminal penalties in the U.S. for falsifying export forms? Or that a lot of us work in regulated industries where we are not going to put licenses in jeopardy (to any degree) for the sake of saving you a buck?

- What's your basic problem with following the law in your country or paying your taxes?

I regard paying taxes and duties to be a "cost of doing business" wherever you live. Those taxes and fees pay for things like national health care, comprehensive social welfare systems, and/or really good educational systems.

Dante
I personally don't ask that. I understant the reason of paying taxes. But once I made a trade (lens for lens, no cash involved, thus - no value declared). I had the evidence it was a trade. Customs guys checked the average value of the item in question on ebay (whatever came on first page) and taxed me based on that. It did not feel right... (because the price I paid was zero - it's a trade). Although technically they were probably right, but there is always a common sense, even when we talk taxes. Just a rant...
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Old 01-31-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
...

I regard paying taxes and duties to be a "cost of doing business" wherever you live. Those taxes and fees pay for things like national health care, comprehensive social welfare systems, and/or really good educational systems.

Dante
Keep your regards to wherever you live.
No import taxes on photography items where I'm. http://www.photoprice.ca/article/dut...mera-equipment.

BTW, where I'm taxes are heavily misspend in terms of healthcare and education system.

Cheers, Ko.
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Old 01-31-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Keep your regards to wherever you live.
No import taxes on photography items where I'm. http://www.photoprice.ca/article/dut...mera-equipment.

BTW, where I'm taxes are heavily misspend in terms of healthcare and education system.

Cheers, Ko.
I get this request frequently from Canadians who don't want to pay GST/PST.

Dante
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Old 01-31-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
It may not feel right, but taxes are based on value. When I inherited part of our family farm, the county still wanted real estate taxes based on the value, not what I paid for it, which was zero.
I still think that a trade case is debatable - the item I received in trade has the value, yes, but so it has the value an item I have sent for repaid and got it back. However in this case (repair) I don't pay the tax.
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Old 01-31-2016   #7
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I find it being an excellent way of curbing any GAS tendencies, knowing that I have to calculate 35% on top of what I pay on the item.

And yes, it is obvious that one should play by the rules, I think.
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Old 01-31-2016   #8
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Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
I get this request frequently from Canadians who don't want to pay GST/PST.

Dante
So what.
If you don't want these requests simply specify your views and believes on taxes in the listing.
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Old 01-31-2016   #9
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35% would be fine. I pay 60%, and that only if the item is below 200 USD. If not it goes to a professional Customs firm and I get soaked by at least 200 USD to start with. That's why, my dear.

That said I have never asked for non-honest qualiifications. Yet I do not like being stolen.
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Old 01-31-2016   #10
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This is not a rant, but an observation. I had to sell a lot of cameras a few years back. I stopped listing for outside the USA because buyers routinely demanded that I mark the item as a gift. It felt weird that I had to explain in my listing that I would not lie on the forms. Additionally, my disclaimer was routinely ignored anyway. I had too many long discussions with buyers who were angry with me even after my notice in the listing. I was typically threatened with negative feedback - for obeying the law!

Added to the 1-in-3 chance that the buyer would find some imaginary fault and demand a partial refund, I was glad when I no longer had to sell anything. I'm a good ebay buyer -since 1996. I don't care to sell. So many dishonest cheats out there. Sad really.
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Old 01-31-2016   #11
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
BTW, where I'm taxes are heavily misspend in terms of healthcare and education system.
So, you don't want to contribute to the healthcare and educational system in your country?

I'm with Dante all the way.
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Old 01-31-2016   #12
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Originally Posted by julio1fer View Post
35% would be fine. I pay 60%, and that only if the item is below 200 USD. If not it goes to a professional Customs firm and I get soaked by at least 200 USD to start with. That's why, my dear.

That said I have never asked for non-honest qualiifications. Yet I do not like being stolen.
I'd be upset at those tax rates also. But not at the eBay seller. He or she is not the one cheating you.
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Old 01-31-2016   #13
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
So what.
If you don't want these requests simply specify your views and believes on taxes in the listing.
Why should I have to remind people to act ethically and legally? Why not head every ad with "don't steal, don't lie, don't kill, don't run red lights, don't abuse animals"?

It's not my tax protest.

Dante
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Old 01-31-2016   #14
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Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
It may seem debatable to you, but the law is not the way you want it to be.

This is not about paying an income or even a VAT tax, this is a tax solely based on the value of the item being imported. What you paid has no bearing on the value of the item.

You can protest the value as being too high based on sales, of course.

In the US (and I imagine elsewhere) barter is still not completely settled, but that is about income tax, not about import tax.
I know that's the law. But this law is debatable to me (not the fact that they should have taxed me). Every law has to make some sence. Sometimes it does not. Would I won the very same item in the auction at the low price (below market value - which happens from time to time), I would not have paid that import tax (or not that high) although the market value would be the same. Where do you see the logic?
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Old 01-31-2016   #15
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FWIW, it is the BUYER who is putting himself at risk. There are no export taxes anywhere I am aware of, so the country from which the item is exported generally will not care whether the declarations are correct.

Nonetheless, even if I were a seller inclined to dishonesty as long as there is no personal risk involved, I still wouldn't under-declare any value, as the transport insurance will only refund the stated value if the parcel is lost...
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Old 01-31-2016   #16
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FWIW, it is the BUYER who is putting himself at risk. There are no export taxes anywhere I am aware of, so the country from which the item is exported generally will not care whether the declarations are correct.
The seller who falsifies a customs declaration runs several risks.

The item could be seized, they could be forced to pay a fine, in extreme cases they might even be charged with a crime (unlikely but possible).

By circumventing ebay rules, they also could lose ebay protection in case the sale goes bad.

The seller is being asked to take risks to be a nice guy for the buyer. Risk, but no reward.
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Old 01-31-2016   #17
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I routinely mark items at low value as I prefer the buyers receive the gear instead of corrupt customs or postal workers.

A $100 item isn't tempting, an item in the $1000+ range is a different story.

Not every customs official or postal carrier is a thief but the buyer and seller don't get to choose.

All it takes is one bad experience...
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Old 01-31-2016   #18
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maybe one more reason for this phenomenon is Internet. people see what others did pay for item x, and feel its their greedy politicians fault they don't get same price. so screw the laws

am not buying/selling outside my region anymore, just because the hassle with customs.
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Old 01-31-2016   #19
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Here is ebay position
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/...-activity.html
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Old 01-31-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Keep your regards to wherever you live. No import taxes on photography items where I'm. http://www.photoprice.ca/article/dut...mera-equipment. BTW, where I'm taxes are heavily misspend in terms of healthcare and education system. Cheers, Ko.
<respectful rant>
Careful - my children received first class education (not totally funded by taxes!) and health care in Toronto. My daughter is now employed by TDSB, contributing to the social fabric and gladly paying her taxes.

ALL government funding systems are subject to misspending. But they are also capable of great good. "Heavily misspend" is a matter of opinion. </rant>
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Old 01-31-2016   #21
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Honestly? Generally import duty will be based on the price paid, or declared, if the item is no longer currently in production. So you can ask a seller to say your Leica M2 is worth 200 USD, when you actually paid 700 USD.

And the true value can be used in a protest, you might have purchased a heavily used item, worth less.

But declaring an item is of "no value," just asks for trouble. The position of logic is - if the item is of no value, why do you want it?
So you see - you admit (by the way of your logic) that there is no consistency. Should it be taxed based on value or based on price (becasue those not always equal)? If based on price - I pay zero for traded item (and should not be taxed). If it is based on value, not price, then items should be fairly re-evaluated for taxation purposed regardless of what was paid for them in "lottery" type of autions (wow, look, I only paid 600 for this mint M6).
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Old 01-31-2016   #22
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(wow, look, I only paid 600 for this mint M6).
I want one of those!
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Old 01-31-2016   #23
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Its not that complicated. Declaration value is the price the item sold for.
People can debate value till hell freezes over. They cannot debate the actual selling price. Its that easy!




Quote:
Originally Posted by valdas View Post
So you see - you admit (by the way of your logic) that there is no consistency. Should it be taxed based on value or based on price (becasue those not always equal)? If based on price - I pay zero for traded item (and should not be taxed). If it is based on value, not price, then items should be fairly re-evaluated for taxation purposed regardless of what was paid for them in "lottery" type of autions (wow, look, I only paid 600 for this mint M6).
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Old 01-31-2016   #24
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I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy next door and the government doesn't ask me for a penny.

I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy two thousand miles away in another European country and the government doesn't ask me for a penny.

I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy in the US and the government asks me to pay them 26% of it's value.

It seems like an unfair tax in this day and age of international trade. Unfair taxes tend to generate resentment and encourage people to cheat. It's not the sellers fault in any way. I say, don't write to sellers asking them to act illegally, write to your government and ask them to stop applying unfair taxes to their citizens.
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Old 01-31-2016   #25
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When shipping items from the UK the insured value and customs declared value are not the same thing. You pay, for example, the post office to have the item insured up to "x" amount and can then write a completely different customs value on the declaration sticker. On occasions, my local Post Office clerk has actively encouraged me to write a lower customs value!

If however the item is lost in transit to make a claim you need to provide proof of purchase and price paid. If you're selling an item you've previously yourself bought second hand from a private seller and didn't receive a written receipt, you're pretty screwed when it comes to making a claim.
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Old 01-31-2016   #26
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Agree, you should not declare a price lower than what the item sold for. I just sold a lens hood for $90, and if I were shipping it outside the US and had to declare its value, I would state $90, the actual price it sold for.

I paid $130 for that hood 6 years ago. Its value - debatable. But it would not be "low balling" to declare the price it was sold at NOW.


Quote:
Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
If you say so, but that is just not the law in most countries.

Declaring a low ball value does not work if it is obvious fraud.
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Old 01-31-2016   #27
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Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
- What's your basic problem with following the law in your country or paying your taxes?
Firstly, I have never asked a seller to undervalue an item in any form. If you wish not to undervalue, don't.

But I am still no fan of paying extra customs and taxes on things I buy. Let's say I buy an item for $100 with $30 shipping. (A US customer gets the same for perhaps $100 + $5 or even $100 in total.) I then pay customs and taxes on the total, and it all adds up quickly. So, it is perhaps $130 + 8% after customs. My government naturally wants to protect the home market, where there is no substitute product thus forcing me to shop online. Makes sense, right? And it makes sense that I pay customs for shipping, too, because it could have been done by a local guy flying back and forth instead of an evil international corporation doing it more efficiently I guess. As value has also been added, I'd then better pay some VAT to top it off. So, now we are at $140,4 + 24%. (See what they did there? They had me even pay tax on customs for shipping!) That's $174,10 out of my pocket in total to buy a $100 item that I cannot get locally. My government made $44,10 out of nothing in the process. Which would be great unless it was 100% my money on which I have already paid some 1/3 in income tax to begin with. In other words, I had to work for about $70 just in order to pay the part of the pie my government wants for their money grabber role in this transaction. That's on top of the about $200 I had to earn to pay for the initial purchase and the shipping. So, I am no fan.
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Old 01-31-2016   #28
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Its not that complicated. Declaration value is the price the item sold for.
People can debate value till hell freezes over. They cannot debate the actual selling price. Its that easy!
Well, I made the trade, the price I paid is zero. But I am taxed. That's my issue.
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Old 01-31-2016   #29
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So, you don't want to contribute to the healthcare and educational system in your country?

I'm with Dante all the way.
I'm not surpised you are with him and making fasle assumtion abouts me.

I'm paying 60$K in taxes from 100K$ annual income.
The problem here is not with paying of taxes as you could see from my numbers.

Healthcare in Ontario is on costant decline even after additional tax was imposed on us and services are consantly getting delisted with more taxes collected. The problem with healthcare is in the elected by idiots goverment which first name is corrumtion and second name is missppending.
Billions of dollars are stolen from Ontraio health care. Proven facts.
Same situation is with schools. We have portables at freshly build schools and falling appart old schools, dangeriossly falling apart. Yet, schoolboards organisations like in Toronto misspending millions of dollars ever year. Also proven facts.

But, yes, for you and him it is easy to blame Canadains for not paying taxes. You give no sh..t how we feel and what is local situation in terms of spending of collected taxes, it is all about how you feel. Very american.
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Old 01-31-2016   #30
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Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
I routinely mark items at low value as I prefer the buyers receive the gear instead of corrupt customs or postal workers.

A $100 item isn't tempting, an item in the $1000+ range is a different story.

Not every customs official or postal carrier is a thief but the buyer and seller don't get to choose.

All it takes is one bad experience...
Agreed, I've had that experience too. It's not about cheating taxes but avoiding thieving postal workers in some countries.
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Old 01-31-2016   #31
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See my post on insurance. But you are right, if you offer a "reasonable" value, "they" will almost always accept it. Use common sense. You are expecting "them" to have a list from KEH?

However - true story -- I once sent a friend an empty Nikon SP box (worth about $500) as an honest gift, and Canadian customs went nuts. They accused my friend of bringing in an expensive camera by car, that "might" be taxed, then having me send the box. It took 6 months for me to get the box back.
A friend back in Antwerp works for COSCO. When his Chinese boss went to Hong Kong for a business trip he bought a Rolex.
He did not want to pay import taxes and vat so he decided to slip the watch on his wrist and send the box and papers home ( Antwerp) by post.

The box got checked by customs when it came in to Belgium and by the time he got back he was singled out by customs at the airport.


He was really unlucky because Belgian customs can/could not cope with the influx of parcels and my personal score is I had to pay on one in ten.
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Old 01-31-2016   #32
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<respectful rant>
Careful - my children received first class education (not totally funded by taxes!) and health care in Toronto. My daughter is now employed by TDSB, contributing to the social fabric and gladly paying her taxes.

ALL government funding systems are subject to misspending. But they are also capable of great good. "Heavily misspend" is a matter of opinion. </rant>
Corruption and huge misspending at Toronto school boards is matter of proven facts, but many like you prefer not to know about it.
Shame on you.
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Old 01-31-2016   #33
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Exactly as Lasse describes above.
I follow the law, the rules, but sometimes it gets very frustrating.
I made a great deal with EXPIRED film from an US ebay seller, 150$ paid to him. Ended up paying some 35% of a combination of import duty + VAT+ the "service" of the post office for arranging my duty papers (which they are obliged to do so they don't even bother me with the details, i only get the bill...), indeed on the NEW FULL FRESH FILM price one would pay in a Dutch shop, minus the 21% VAT.
So i ended up paying considerably MORE than buying local fresh film, even tho i bought EXPIRED film. In what logic is this not a *** situation?
This was clearly based on "value" as they thought of, and not on what I payed the seller.
However,
Different story but with same results happened with a 70 y old book. I payed 75$ to the seller, +i payed almost 30$ as tax "services" (and i am supposed to even feel lucky, since books have lower VAT than some "luxury" goods such as film). It was even marked as old, collectible. Obviously, in this case they gave no **** about "real" value (newest edition of the book would cost some 10-15$), in this case they thought it's a good idea to tax the selling price. And the shipping, of course

I mean i understand high value items should not be smuggled in, but where on earth is it worthy even to hassle administration and all, to tax a single 75$ valued old book?

PS, I never ask the seller to undervalue the goods on the form. Once i asked to mark it clearly collectible, just in case. Didn't help.
However in the very beginning of me buying stuff on ebay, a quite reputable seller offered (without me asking) to mark the item as gift ) Yes the seller is also on RFF (inactive). I was rather surprised. It was a 30 bucks fixed lens rf only, though.
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Old 01-31-2016   #34
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I am reading a lot of "my country charges X% import fee and it's unfair."

Yes, I get that. It sounds unfair to me too.

However, asking the seller, who didn't create the unfair tax situation and cannot do anything about it, to break the law themselves to help you correct what you see as an unfair imposition, is not the answer.

The answer is to seek redress from your own government. If that is not possible, I am sorry for you, but I won't be complicit in skirting the law, or even eBay rules, on your behalf.

Why would you expect it to be my job to do so?
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Old 01-31-2016   #35
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Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
Why should I have to remind people to act ethically and legally? Why not head every ad with "don't steal, don't lie, don't kill, don't run red lights, don't abuse animals"?

It's not my tax protest.

Dante
I'm not protesting paying taxes and I'm obeying rules and laws. But I'm not as hypocrite as you. Instead of lecturing here people from another countries how their taxes are distributed, why not to be honest to yourself.
All what you think is - why I have to cheat for someone I don't care, but if I lower the price it is me who gets skunked if item is lost or damaged.

I do declare full value of item I ship to USA. To have full insurance coverage. But I check the Gift box sometimes. Because here is no check box for "the Steal".

Sorry to bring local issues to this topic, hugs, no kisses,
Ko.
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Old 01-31-2016   #36
Addy101
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I'm not surpised you are with him and making fasle assumtion abouts me.

I'm paying 60$K in taxes from 100K$ annual income.
The problem here is not with paying of taxes as you could see from my numbers.

Healthcare in Ontario is on costant decline even after additional tax was imposed on us and services are consantly getting delisted with more taxes collected. The problem with healthcare is in the elected by idiots goverment which first name is corrumtion and second name is missppending.
Billions of dollars are stolen from Ontraio health care. Proven facts.
Same situation is with schools. We have portables at freshly build schools and falling appart old schools, dangeriossly falling apart. Yet, schoolboards organisations like in Toronto misspending millions of dollars ever year. Also proven facts.

But, yes, for you and him it is easy to blame Canadains for not paying taxes. You give no sh..t how we feel and what is local situation in terms of spending of collected taxes, it is all about how you feel. Very american.
Hmmm, funny, I'm Dutch

Canada scores well above average in OECD rankings, so, they must be doing something good. If you're unhappy with some policies, vote in another government - just convince the idiots
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Old 01-31-2016   #37
krötenblender
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If you say so, but that is just not the law in most countries.

Declaring a low ball value does not work if it is obvious fraud. The selling price is only valuable when it is MORE than the generally perceived value, for insurance purposes.

Of course to a degree you are correct, but that is the broker's job.

EDIT: Yes you can send a check to someone for $200, and say that is the selling price, and insure for $200. Try that with a New M9, sent to say Germany from the US, and see how that goes, you will not be pleased, or you might be lucky. That is how cheating (smuggling) works.
It's funny... I live in (northern) Germany and had several items imported from outside of the EU. Some of them purchased in auctions at low prices (less than "market value").

The customs officers I had the pleasure to deal with all were able to switch on a computer and look into the ebay auction and then calculate the tax by the real price I paid...

To the original post. I understand your point and I also would not do my buyers that favor. But also I understand the general argument of unfair taxes (although I don't believe, that this is in most cases the real reason for them to ask - they wouldn't care about others paying the tax...). Some of the taxes on especially used items and some categories of items are obviously unfair, because they were made for example for protecting the own industries. In Europe, the import taxes on Japanese photographic items do in no way relate to their value compared to other values from Asia. Its just because Europeans are not able to build cameras competitively, so the tax tries to protect something by making the better options extremely expensive.

However, asking for false declaration doesn't solve the problem. For that other measures have to be taken by voters and constituents of the respective country. These laws are not given by nature, but man made. So they can be changed.
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Old 01-31-2016   #38
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I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy next door and the government doesn't ask me for a penny.

I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy two thousand miles away in another European country and the government doesn't ask me for a penny.

I buy a 50 year old camera from a guy in the US and the government asks me to pay them 26% of it's value.

It seems like an unfair tax in this day and age of international trade. Unfair taxes tend to generate resentment and encourage people to cheat. It's not the sellers fault in any way. I say, don't write to sellers asking them to act illegally, write to your government and ask them to stop applying unfair taxes to their citizens.
Yes,yes,yes!
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Old 01-31-2016   #39
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So for the people who are perpetually asking to undervalue items or declare them as gifts (this seems to be almost every other thing I try to sell on RFF) -

- Does it occur to you that if you ask sellers of items to do dishonest things that those sellers are going to regard you as dishonest?

- Do you realize that there are civil and criminal penalties in the U.S. for falsifying export forms? Or that a lot of us work in regulated industries where we are not going to put licenses in jeopardy (to any degree) for the sake of saving you a buck?

- What's your basic problem with following the law in your country or paying your taxes?

I regard paying taxes and duties to be a "cost of doing business" wherever you live. Those taxes and fees pay for things like national health care, comprehensive social welfare systems, and/or really good educational systems.

Dante
As a born in Canada Canadian, I totally agree with what your saying. I have never requested it from members on here, or US dealers. Dante; their are those that think Customs are stupid and try and do get away with it at times. Yes, your right about the GST and PST due on point of sale wether here or on a import.
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Old 01-31-2016   #40
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Isn't it somewhat redundant to remark ( among adults ) that governments misspend
their tax dollars ? Just saying. Peter
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