It took a lot of phone calls and man hours to sort all this out, so I thought I would post the information that I gathered about the policies and procedures here, so others could benefit from a quick answer.
If you ship Luxury Goods overseas (from the US), and they are valued/insured for over $2,500, you must follow these new requirements.
April 2012 – Overseas Shipping of Luxury Goods now requires a Proof of Filing Citation from the US Census Bureau
There are new policies in place when shipping items overseas through the USPS (United States Postal Service). These policies have apparently been in place since 2009, but they are just now starting to be enforced. If you are a seller of luxury goods and ship overseas, these policies will affect you and failure to follow them will cause your shipments to be returned to you.
New Shipping Rules for overseas shipments valued over $2,500
If you ship overseas, from the US through the Post Office (to any place other than Canada), and if the value of what you are shipping is over $2,500, you need to get a PFC (Proof of Filing Citation) number from the Census Bureau, which needs to be entered on Line 11 of the USPS Customs Form.
1. In order to get a PFC (Proof of Filing Citation) number you need to first register at AESDirect. (Registration is a 5-Step process which includes having to pass a 30 question quiz.)
2. In order to register at AESDirect, you will need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) as they do not accept Social Security Numbers for registration.
If you are running a business, you should already have an EIN number. Individuals who sell and ship under their personal name, will have to apply with the IRS to obtain an EIN number. You can obtain an EIN number from the IRS website.
3. Once you have set up your account at AESDirect, and have a user name and password, and have passed their quiz, you can then create a shipment which will generate the required PFC (Proof of Filing Citation) that you need for the USPS Customs Form.
4. For every shipment you will need to get a Schedule B number for the commodity you are shipping. These Schedule B numbers are available at the US Census Schedule B Search Engine.
5. Once you have filled out your shipping form on AESDirect, and it is submitted and processed successfully, they will email you an ITN (Internal Transaction Number) as confirmation of your shipment information.
That ITN number = the PFC (Proof of Filing Citation) that needs to be entered into Box 11 of the USPS Customs Form.
The Post Office cannot help you with this as it is not their office that requests this information, and they don’t know anything about it. Trust me on this one, I talked to so many different offices, and people at the Post Office and no one had a clue about this process!
If you look on the back of the USPS Customs Declaration Form (CP72), the explanation for Box 11 basically reiterates what I have provided above. If you have questions about this process you can contact the US Census Bureau at 800-549-0595. They cannot help you fill out the forms, they will just give you basic information to get started.
I have also posted this information on my Luxe Purses Blog with links to the sites mentioned above.
Thanks for the info. I tried to ship a bag to my friend and is over $2500. Got a call from the Post Office in SF to clarify that I'm not an exporter. So I've to reduce the amount claimed so I can avoid having to produce an export license. Talking about complication. I guess this does not apply to Fedex and UPS shippers ?
Thanks for the info. photomj!
I wonder if this will reduce the number of US sellers shipping internationally?
I would venture to guess it will. This whole thing is all for tax purposes and to be able to keep track of who is selling what. Makes perfect sense for sellers who sell for business but not for those who just buy and sell for their own collection.
I learned the hard way not to see overseas without a tracking info, buyer said never got the blackberry, and I lost my $500 bb and beside that I had to refund buyer, ebay is always on buyers side, and not able now to leave a neg feedback,