A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).
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Thread: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

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  1. #1
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    A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Gents--

    Headed down to Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina next week with the Minister of War & Finance to keep her company during the international portion of her MBA.

    On the "off chance" that I find a nice Explorer I languishing in an AD in either country, how does the Duty work from country to country?

    I get the US version-- whack $800 off the price, then about 3% afters. Ok. Fair enough. (and I go through Customs sometimes up to 10 times a month for my job-- I'm NOT going to take a chance on making life difficult in the future by not declaring.)

    Where I'm off the rails is if I go from Country A to Country B to the US.

    i.e. I buy the watch in Chile. Then, fly to Argentina for a week. Then, fly to the US.

    What do I need to do (if anything) with Argentinian Customs? Since I'm just transiting and not staying or selling the watch, I'd like to think I'm off the hook. But, if I'm wrong, it would factor into any purchasing decisions.

    I've searched teh interwebz, but my Google-fu is weak in this situation.

    A little help?

    TIA--

    R.

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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Since you will be traveling with the box and papers, To be totally legal, probably need to explain the situation truthfully to the middle country customs officials and declare the watch. Ask for a declaration receipt.

    I know in Canada, Americans can apply to get the duty paid refunded by filling out a form.
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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Quote Originally Posted by yankeexpress View Post
    To be totally legal, probably need to explain the situation truthfully to the middle country customs officials and declare the watch.
    Fair enough. But then do I get tagged to pay duty twice? I don't speak Spanish and don't relish the thought of a "sudden" duty of 100% transiting country to country.

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    Member yankeexpress's Avatar
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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Quote Originally Posted by flybigjet View Post
    Fair enough. But then do I get tagged to pay duty twice? I don't speak Spanish and don't relish the thought of a "sudden" duty of 100% transiting country to country.
    Maybe.

    Try to find out if any duty can be refunded by the middle country.
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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Not sure if it helps, but I'll share my experience:

    I was traveling from Amsterdam to Seoul via Beijing (bought my FOIS at Schipol). Terminal 2 in Beijing requires you to exit customs/immigration and then enter again. I wasn't aware that I had to declare in Beijing since I was just transiting (just a 3-hour layover) so I went through customs as such with my box and papers. China Customs usually scans your luggage as you leave, so unsurprisingly, I was pulled aside. At first, they wanted to fine me because I was entering Chinese territory w/o declaring and paying the necessary duties on it (fair enough), but I explained to them that I was merely transferring at the airport and my final destination was Seoul. Took some talking to, but what ended up happening was they just held my watch in customs until I exited and re-entered the terminal 10 minutes later. The watch and box was returned to me when I got to the outgoing declarations counter.

    When you enter the middle country, you may want to see if you can obtain a declaration receipt that states that you are in possession of the watch, so that you can prove you declared it and am leaving the country with it, still in your possession. You may still be taxed but as stated earlier, maybe you can get a tax refund. OR they'll simply hold onto it for you until you return to the airport, but that's just a guess based on my experience above.
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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Chilean here, been to Argentina many times....
    Good chance nobody will even ask about your watch, but to be on the safe side, I'd wear it, in & out of the country, and ask upon entry if I have to declare it.
    Don't think you'll have to pay any taxes there for it.
    That said, you'd be a very lucky man to find such a watch here (at a reasonable price)

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    Re: A Customs Duty question with a twist (or a country to country to country hop, if you prefer).

    Quote Originally Posted by FernandoFuenzalida View Post
    That said, you'd be a very lucky man to find such a watch here (at a reasonable price)
    Thank you-- I figured it was a long shot at best, but it would give me something to do while my wife is on site visits and doing MBA things.

    I'll have some free time mid-April; maybe I can find one then.

    R.

  9. #8
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    The general principle is that you pay duties in the country where you are importing the watch i.e. the country where you live permanently.

    In transit countries you generally shouldn't have to pay anything, although the process can be a little twisted sometimes: paying then getting a refund, doing some paperwork or having your watch kept by customs until you reenter the airside of the airport.

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