Bringing back/shipping H bags through U.S. Customs

  1. I am headed to Paris later this month, and hope to buy a Birkin (or Kelly, depending on what's available) while I am there. I've read about the VAT, but can't seem to find information as to how to calculate the duty that would be charged on items at this price point. Does anyone have info on the duty that would be charged or experience with bringing/shipping bags back from out of the country? I checked the Customs website but it was not that helpful.

    Thanks! :smile:
  2. I think several of us have lucked out in hand-carrying our new purchases back and declaring our bags for full value and not being charged duty.

    If, however, you have the bag shipped into the U.S. from H in Paris, you will not be charged VAT when you pay, but will most likely have to pay duties that the shipping company will bill you for. I do not know the exact rate for this.

    here are some useful threads discussing this issue; have a great trip!
  3. Orchids, those threads are incredibly helpful! Thanks!
  4. The last time I had a bag shipped from Paris (about 2-3 yrs. ago), the customs fee billed to me was substantial---about $200+. It was a Kelly bag. I did save on the VAT though.
  5. These are the choices:

    1) Ship from Paris; you get the VAT deducted automatically but pay shipping/insurance; FedEx hits you with the duty a few weeks later (about 8%).
    2) Strip yourself of all incriminating evidence and carry the bag with you as if it was already your own.
    3) Declare it in full and take your chances with the consequences. In the past, I have been waved through without another glance (being over the limit) and most recently, they did scrutinize the declared amount. It does seem like they are looking more closely these days.
    4) Remove most of the packaging (like, the orange boxes), underdeclare, and hope for the best. Most of them will not know the full value (and will be shocked enough at the underdeclared value!)

    I have yet to be asked to show them the goods, but am getting more and more scared each time.
  6. I've always had bags sent - afraid of getting them damaged in transit and it's too hard to carry a huge orange box.

    The customs bill for the last couple of purchases was high. Recently, for a Kelly, it was 9% for duty plus another $25. for MPF and $9.79 for duty advance fee.

    If I should buy another bag out of the country, I would probably try to carry it back, declare it and hope that they would wave me through. It's hard, though, because I travel with a Birkin, so what am I supposed to do with it? I also must have carry on for some other purchases that aren't safe in checked luggage.

    And I always worry about those damn beagles. Do you think they plunk themselves down in front of contraband purses like they do with food?:sweatdrop:
  7. Ok really what is the most cost effective?
    And isnt VAT 17% or am I wrong?
  8. Hermes in France give only 10%. In Italy, they offered a higher VAT.

    Shipping the bag wipes out the VAT savings.
  9. Yes, the VAT is 10%.
    On a Birkin last month, the shipping/insurance was 117 euros.
  10. VAT isen't 10% in france, but that's what the companies involved bother giving you back of the total VAT. Last time I got VAT back LV gave more than Hermes on all purchases. I think it depends on the company itself and which comapny you're using for getting VAT back. (The tax-free company takes some %% too of the total VAT deduction).