General Cycling Discussion - importing bike from US
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01-16-05, 08:39 AM
Hi, i write from Spain, iŽm thinking about going to the states to get a new bike. Prices and money exchange are now suitable to buy a bike in US. My question is about customs, iŽll check the bike as personal luggage, iŽll even bring my personal bike travel bag, but iŽm not sure if someone is going to ask me for some kind of tax. I donŽt think so but iŽll be better if someone confirms this point, thanks for all and wait for your answers.
01-16-05, 09:06 AM
From what I understand it's luggage, and you don't have to pay a tax to take it to another country from the US, so why would you need to?
01-16-05, 09:56 AM
you should pay import tax on it probably (as its new) but if you dont tell them I wonŽt either.
01-16-05, 11:00 AM
no, you'll only need to pay the extra fee on the plane for the oversized bag.
01-16-05, 11:52 AM
I've flown internationally several times with a bicycle, and no one has ever questioned me about paying an import tax when returning to the US with it. It has obviously been used, so there's no question about it being personal property rather than new merchandise to be sold retail. Perhaps putting some miles on it while you're in the US will help? :) Enjoy your trip!
01-17-05, 10:33 AM
There's two "taxes" you may have to deal with.
1. State sales tax where you buy the bike. What state will you buy the bike in? Check that state's web site. If you are taking the item out of the country, you can get a refund of the state sales tax you paid. You will need to fill out a form from the state and you will need US customs at your airport of departure to verify that you are exporting the item (usually just a stamp and signature). Then you mail the form back to the states and get a refund...eventually... So let's say you buy a $2000 bike and the state sales tax is 8%, you would get $160 back. Makes your bike a bit cheaper and pays for some more cycling goodies.
2. Import taxes in Spain. You are in Spain, so you are in a better position than me to find out what your import taxes may be. But as previous posters have stated, you may go right thru Spanish customs without having to pay a tax - use the bike some and say you took it with you, general lack of knowledge regarding bikes, etc.
01-17-05, 11:08 AM
just say that you tour with the bike and thatŽll do.
Well, just get your bike. Bring a bike back with you and instead of bringing two pieces of luggage, bring one piece and your bike bag. When you return, check your bike as the second piece of luggage. Say nothing, except you brought your bike to ride while in the States. All they're going to see is that you entered with two pieces of luggage and you left with two pieces of luggage.
Mail back your receipt when you purchase the bike. You can always deal with your tax refund later if there is a VAT (I didn't know there was one for the USA... just for visiting Europe, I assumed).
I think he is talking about bringing a bike back to Spain from the US. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Here are the customs regulations for VISITORS to Spain from the Spanish Tourist Board in Canada:
You may bring the following into Spain: personal effects, a portable typewriter, one video camera or two still cameras with ten rolls of film each. A portable radio or portable tape recorder per person is admitted free of duty, as well as 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco. One bottle of wine and one of liquor per person. The following sports equipment is also allowed: fishing gear, one bicycle, skis, tennis or squash racquets and golf clubs.
If you are an EU citizen the regulations might be different. Check the web site of your local, ie Spanish if you are from Spain, Customs and Border Guard.
01-17-05, 05:09 PM
Good ideas Koffee.
As far as VAT/sales tax... Basically, they call it VAT in the EU, but it's called sales tax here in the states. What I described is the same as your VAT refund but just reversed for US state sales taxes.
When you buy something online from out of state, you don't pay the state sales tax since state sales taxes are not enforced across state lines. If Jantito goes to a bike shop to buy a bike, the shop will probably charge state sales tax (if applicable - I guess some states may not have one). However, I have seen merchants write a receipt with a foreign address and not charge sales tax (this is technically not correct though). If Jantito can prove that the bike is being exported, the state sales tax can be refunded.
What some people don't understand is that you have to have customs from the country you are leaving validate that the items are being exported - ever come off an international flight and overhear someone trying to get their VAT stamped by US customs?...too late, you lose.... For Jantito to get the sales tax back, this needs to be done at the customs office at the US airport of departure.
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