How is the customs in your country?

I live in Brazil and importing mechanical pencils is a very expensive hobby. Usually a mechanical pencil goes for twice the price in total. Here, if the purchase is over 50 dollars, we have a 60% tax on customs for importation. Also, in the state where I live, there is another 25% tax that is charged on the value of the product plus the previous 60% tax (tax on tax). Since the shipping cost is considered in this tax, a pencil usually costs double the price here. For example, I recently bought a mechanical pencil for 20000 yen, at the end of the whole journey with it finally delivered to my home, I paid about 40000 yen in total. This sucks for collecting, as I have to pick and choose which pencils to buy and the money spent on taxes would buy interesting ones. If there was a proxy service that allowed changing the value of the product, it would be a dream.

How are customs in your country and how does it affect your collection?


Buyee allows you to change the package type or item type but you cannot change the price.

Example: if I buy some pencils but for some reason it is marked as furniture I can change that.

Different types of items can be taxed differently so it’s important to make sure each item is marked appropriately.

I’m sure people abuse this but I wouldn’t touch that kind of manipulation with a ten foot pole.


Kkkkk oi! :grin:

What state? The Receita didnt allow my latest purchases due to “generic description” and now I need to pay for shipping again. Brazil things :wink:

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Here (Germany) import tax applies from 0€. Roundabout you have to add 25% tax/fees on shippings.

Most proxies allow price changing. If this helps, depends … Pre-Covid I usually hat to fetch shippings from the customs office and prove the real values (CN23 forms aren’t official documents and customs doesn’t believe them). After Covid often packages are taxed by the proxy documents. I don’t change values, because I told the office for years that the documents are correct (I am known there in the meantime :wink: ).

Recently I “had” to reduce value for a sending from China, because no reasonable shipping method was thought for my value/weight ratio. I will see how I get the package …


The problem with changing the price or information on the declaration is that if they discover you can be fined or not allowed to enter the country. I got in touch with buyee support about price changes and they said they don’t do that due to risks and Japanese law.

Caramba! I’m from Minas Gerais, and you?
Did you try to import which pencil? I try to be as specific as possible in declarations to avoid this problem. However, when I buy from China they send with generic declarations like “Mechanical pencil” or “Writing instruments”, and then I’m always afraid of the risk of being denied entry.

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Capixaba living in Minas, didnt know of the 25% tax… Will break it into two shippings then to stay under the 50 USD area.

STAEDTLER Micrograph HS 771 13 and STAEDTLER Marstechno 770 03

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Also in Minas, what a coincidence. The 25% tax is ICMS, if you know someone in a state that doesn’t charge iy (São Paulo, for example) I recommend sending it there and then sending it to you. I recently sent a limited version of Orenz Metallic worth 2500 yen and was not taxed. However, none that I sent over 6000 yen managed to escape taxation. The total value in Minas is calculated as 1.25*1.6(PRODUCT VALUE + SHIPPING).

From your purchase, I remembered a mars for sale at Mercadolivre, maybe it’s of interest to you

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I feel badly for our friends in Europe, South America, etc., who have such biting and punitive customs charges. It’s really unfair.

I’m in the USA. I’ve never, in all of my years of buying through proxies on Yahoo Japan or retailers in Germany, France, or UK, ever had to pay a single US dollar for a customs fee.


Yikes… Well, I have to update this. With a rather heavy package (not large, within the usual size I’d normally have shipped from my proxy service), the charges went seriously high. First, ZenMarket’s Express carrier gouged me badly, enough that I cancelled the shipment and then selected UPS. I was told FedEx is worse with customs fees. Well… UPS hit me badly too. On top of an already moderately high shipping rate from ZenMarket to convey to UPS, I found myself with a $74 USD bill for… and I’m not kidding… BROKER FEES. This was because of a ridiculous claim of “possible toxic substances” due to ballpoints being present. Not even fountain pen ink. Unreal. Customs? It was like $5.

Well, now I know. Don’t buy anything heavy and ship ballpoints with it. Also, stay under 1kg if you can.


Sellers should never never never write “ink” or “sterling” in their descriptions! these words are auto-detected by the proxies and then the madness begins.
If the proxies don’t find those keywords, everything is just normal. It doesn’t change anything if the correct hs-code and article description “ball-point pen” appears in the item list of the package.
same with “sterling”. if this word is detected, only few carriers are allowed (FedEx I think), and probably also crazyness starts.

complete BS – those regulations are useful: not for BPs or sterling pencils, but for liquid containers and silver barrels.

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Great tips!

I never buy sterling silver writing instruments from YAJ, because there’s usually too much competition keeping the price high. But if I ever change my mind, good to know about the presence of “sterling” in the listing.

Most ballpoint listings I see will cite a status of the ink, if the pen can write or is dried out. Definitely smart to favor those that don’t say “ink” and simply say “refill” or “cartridge.”

at least with my proxy I see at the auction, if something will make trouble: I am noted, that the item can only be sent by fedex, or sometimes even bidding is not possible because the item is “forbidden” (I think that happened during covid, since then many carriers were not delivering, so none was left for some items).
If such notification is active, I stay away from the auction.

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Here (Romania) as in Germany I pay the VAT 19% and import tax about 2.5% and 2 euro for post office storage. The import tax applies from 0€. Roundabout you have to add 22% tax/fees on shippings. For the packages under the amount of $150 they are delivered directly to your local post office and for those over $150 you have to go to a postal office with a customs officer.



Everything stops at customs. Even gifts. If they figure something could have been bought, they’ll ask for receipts and screen prints even if it wasn’t. Ultimately you will have to write them a affidavit which is completely absurd since they could have trust you the first time!

Say a friend sends you something (like a trade…). They will demand a proof that it wasn’t a sale. In my view, it’s their job to prove that it was a sale, not mine that it is a gift. But no one cares, there’s no email to contact or send beautiful insults to them… it’s Customs. A world apart.

There were many times I wish I had missile capability and engage in ultimate warfare with Customs. But I don’t even know where they are located.


I am glad things worked out on our trade - and you didnt have to pay the fees!!


Absolutely. I will do it again and again.

we’re on the right side.

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Do they open up every single package to inspect the contents, if above a certain declared value?

In the Eurozone nowadays, there is no above declared value. The value is 0. By rule, everything stops at Customs, but as it is such an enormous amount of stuff i believe they let 1/10 pass.


high tax rates… nothing we can do.
in addition, sometimes when customs open boxes for inspections, they don’t put things back in order, or they treat things with rude attitudes, or even worse, they forget to put things back to boxes… and create lots of troubles


Covid improved things here. I know exactly where customs are, because you had to pick up things there in person. Now you can handle the process by email (and they increasingly believe the proxy documents and handle it automatically).
Once I was really in anger at the customs office, because a parcel was returned to Japan after one day (!) storage time there. But: I wasn’t their fault (DHL was the stupid), and the officer calmly explained it to me several times. I was lucky not to get kicked out :innocent:. It took half a year and some €, until the parcel was finally back.

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