Head Explodes Department: Harmonization Codes for Shipments to the EU

umtrr-author Jul 2, 2021

  1. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

    As you might now, I use Pirate Ship for shipping items. A popup appeared this morning with an advisory on what's happening with respect to shipments into the European Union, start quote:

    A Harmonization Number is a specific designation that the international mailing system assigns to products, so they can keep records of the types of items being imported into foreign countries.

    Beginning on July 1, 2021, every shipment going to member countries in the European Union (EU) requires Harmonization Numbers to be recorded in the customs data, as per the new VAT guidelines for the EU.

    I'm not even going to try to understand the rest of this until such time as I have to ship something to the EU, but I can tell you that I looked up the Harmonization Code for model trains... at least I think I did...

    9503.00 Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys; dolls' carriages; dolls; other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds.

    Be sure to make a note of it! Notice how High-Speed Models are covered: "working or not." :ROFLMAO:

    I can't wait to see how this gets mangled on eBay et al. Apparently there is a method to "pre-pay" the Value Added Tax for incoming shipments... Aha! You KNEW this was about taxes, didn't you? Yes! The EU is requiring the payment of VAT on every single item shipping into it, regardless of its value... whereas there used to be a waiver on lower cost items. Not any more...
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  2. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me. Never even heard of Pirate Ship until today. Back in the day I used to be considered a pirate, but we didn't have a ship. Guess I have some searching to do...
    badlandnp and Hardcoaler like this.
  3. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    Awe! The wonders of the modern world. I wonder what happens when we move into outer space. o_O

    Yes. That's what I'm watching on tv. :barefoot:
    badlandnp likes this.
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    Never heard of it either. I depend on my kid to keep me current on trends and this has somehow escaped conversation. :LOL:
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Nor have I ever heard of "Pirate Ship". :confused::confused::confused:
  6. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    I've heard of Pirate Ship. It's a shipping service. For the person(s) who created, why the heck did you use such a name???? I think I'm going to start a bank and I'll name it Bank of Steal (a play on Steel). o_O
    badlandnp likes this.
  7. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the reminder that limiting the accumulation (years ago) and downsizing (past three years) was the right move for me. I think the only thing worse than selling stuff over the internet is selling to a foreign customer over the internet (NOT a reflection on our many fine brothers/sisters who don't live in the US, just on the complexities of foreign shipments.) You have my sympathy. Are you close to going "US only" in your shipping terms?
  8. pmpexpress

    pmpexpress TrainBoard Member

    The proper code for electric trains is as follows:
    9503.00.30.00 : Electric trains, including tracks, signals and other accessories therefor; reduced-size (scale) model assembly kits

    9503.00.00.00 would be used for non-rail vehicular models without motors and 9503.00.75.00 would be used for non-rail vehicular models with motors.

    One should be wary of shipping toys to Italy, as the country bans all toy imports that are not wholly manufactured out of wood.

    According to Pirate Ship, "... if you sell through marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon, they will be prepaying EU VAT taxes for all orders under €150 Euro (~$180 bucks). Those marketplaces will provide you with an IOSS Number that you'll need to enter into the Exporter International Tax ID field at the bottom of the customs form when creating your label in Pirate Ship" or any other non-venue consummated postage purchase.

    Once the United Kingdom exited the EU in January, I banned all orders originating from England, Ireland, and Scotland, because sellers are now required to apply for a VAT license and remit pre-collected taxes for UK sales.

    Sellers who are engaged in UK sales through a venue are not required to apply for a UK tax license as the venues pre-pay the VAT as part of the their transactions.

    Will likely end all sales to Europe in the very near future, as it has become too burdensome to comply with all of the EU imposed ecommerce and internet rules.

    With the lowest postage rates currently available (including cubic dimensional rates that are not available on eBay) from the USPS and devoid of any service fees, I have exclusively used Pirate Ship for many years.
    umtrr-author and badlandnp like this.
  9. pmpexpress

    pmpexpress TrainBoard Member

    Very costly for EU buyers, here is some additional information that was found on the Pirate Ship VAT Requirements for all Shipments Going to the European Union page:

    VAT Requirements for all Shipments Going to the European Union

    Information on Value-Added Tax fees that your recipients will need to pay for all shipments going to the EU beginning in July 2021

    Starting July 1st, 2021, all shipments going to member countries within the European Union (EU) will be charged a "Value-Added Tax" or "VAT tax," which will have to be paid by the recipient to receive the goods, or optionally by the shipper or by the marketplace the sale happened on, like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.

    What is VAT and how is it changing in the EU?

    A Value-Added Tax or “VAT” is a tax that's imposed on sales of goods in foreign countries. While Europeans are used to paying VAT on everything they buy from businesses in their country, the new laws going into effect mean they will have to start paying VAT on anything they buy from other countries as well.

    Previously, low-cost shipments going to the EU valued at €22 (22 euros) or lower weren’t subject to these VAT taxes. But with the new changes every shipment sent to the EU is subject to VAT, no matter the value.

    You don't *have* to do anything differently as the shipper, unless...

    As an American small business, you are not required to pay the VAT tax on behalf of your European customer. But when shipping to an EU member country, you do need to provide:

    • A customs form containing full and correct customs data, including a description of each item that's in your shipment and its value.

    • Your customs form is required to include Harmonization Codes for each item in your shipment, to help non-English speakers identify what's inside the shipment. HS Codes are global identifiers for different types of goods. You can learn more about that here.

    • If you made the sale on a marketplace like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon that collected the VAT tax from your customer and is paying it on their behalf, you will need to include their IOSS or "Import One-Stop Shop" number in your customs form when creating the shipping label, to make sure the customer isn't charged VAT again. Make sure to enter it into the Exporter International Tax ID field at the bottom of the customs form, as explained here.
    If the VAT tax has not been paid ahead of time, the recipient must pay the VAT tax before they receive the package from their country’s customs department. Before the package is delivered, they will be notified and asked to pay the VAT by their country's local package delivery service.
    badlandnp likes this.
  10. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

    A co-worker's wife's entire career was dealing with import/export intricacies for Zeiss. It does get complicated.
  11. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    It's starting to get that way else were as well.
  12. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

    Sounds like just another name for a tariff.
    My sympathy to modelers in the EU, having to pay additional taxes in order to enjoy your hobby.
    Hardcoaler likes this.

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