Duty, tax, and fee FAQsDuty, tax, and fee frequently asked questions.
How is import duty calculated?
Import duty can vary by the destination country, the country of origin, the item HS code, possible de minimis thresholds, and other laws that affect the duty rate of an import. It's not always as straightforward as a single HS code tariff.
When the good's value in a single import or shipment is below the duty de minimis, the item will clear without any duty collection; however, the tax may still be collected if the tax threshold is lower than the duty threshold. It's possible for the value of an item to exceed the tax threshold and not exceed the duty threshold. The opposite is not true, because countries don't set a lower threshold for duty and a higher threshold for tax.
Who pays import duty?
Duty is typically paid by the Importer of Record (IOR). The IOR is the owner or purchaser of products being imported to a country. The IOR is responsible for ensuring the imported goods comply with local laws and regulations, filing a completed duty entry and associated documents required by the CBP (Customs Border Protection), and paying the import duties and taxes.
The IOR is typically the person or entity who has ownership of the imported goods at the time of import.
In some instances, packages are shipped DDP. A retailer may want to send a package DDP if they have collected duties and taxes upfront from their customer, which can be done with Zonos Checkout or any of our Landed Cost products.
What if I don't have HS codes but want them so I can get the most accurate duty and tax quotes?
Zonos Classify can be used for on-demand HS code classifications. Harmonize your product catalog with advanced image recognition, universal product code (UPC) code lookup, and HS country code support.
How many countries support sending a shipment Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)?
What is the definition of import tax?
Import taxes are taxes placed on international purchases that vary by country, region, and HS code. Every country has a unique country-level tax rate and de minimis value.
How do you calculate import tax?
The most common valuation method for taxes is CIF, where taxes are applied to the value of the item, insurance, freight, duty, and fees. Other methods include CIFD, CIFDT, FOB, and FOBD.
What does CIF, CIFD, CIFDT mean in international shipping?
These are valuation methods for calculating import taxes. CIF = cost + insurance + freight, CIFD = cost + insurance + freight + duty, and CIFDT = cost + insurance + freight + duty + tax. In other words, the CIF valuation method means that tax is calculated on cost, insurance, and freight.
What does FOB or FOBD mean in international shipping?
These are valuation methods for calculating import taxes. FOB = cost of the goods, FOBD = cost of the goods + duty. In other words, the FOB valuation method means that tax is calculated on only the cost of the goods sold, where FOBD also taxes the duty.
Are import taxes applied to every order?
Not necessarily. It is very common for low-value shipments to be below the de minimis tax, and in that case, tax is not applied to the import.
Do I need to pay import taxes on items that are for resale?
Oftentimes when selling business-to-business (B2B), the importer will not have to pay import taxes if they are registered to pay taxes to their respective local government agency. Taxes will be collected when the items are resold. This is on a per-country basis. For example, two countries that allow tax-free B2B imports are Canada and Australia.
How accurate are Zonos' import tax calculations?
We are dedicated to being transparent and accurate in our calculations. Zonos is #1 for total landed cost accuracy.
Does Zonos guarantee their duty and tax calculations?
We offer the Zonos Landed Cost guarantee to provide peace of mind on every quote. With the Landed Cost Guarantee, the duties and taxes are billed to Zonos. While we provide the most accurate landed cost on the market, international ecommerce is constantly shifting and there is a margin for error. If you are not signed up for the Landed Cost Guarantee, then the landed cost quotes are not guaranteed.
Is there an interface available to calculate import duties and import taxes?
Do I need to register and obtain a tax number in foreign jurisdictions?
It depends. In most cases, you do not need to register for taxes in a foreign jurisdiction; however, if you exceed the annual thresholds on low-value shipments in New Zealand or Australia, you may need to register. You can also use the Zonos Landed Cost Guarantee, and we’ll take care of registration and payment for the duties and taxes in the proper jurisdiction.
Do I need to harmonize my catalog to get a landed cost calculation?
No, a harmonized catalog is not required for a landed cost. If a harmonized code is not provided, the default HS code will be used and a landed cost calculation will be provided.
How accurate is Zonos at calculating customs clearance fees?
We source clearance fees directly from carriers, delivery providers, and brokers, as well as their invoices. Zonos is determined to give you the most accurate landing cost on the market. However, because of the constant change of international rates and policies, we do recommend using the Zonos Landed Cost Guarantee for complete peace of mind.
What if my currency does not match the currency of the fees?
The Landed Cost API and other Zonos products take into account exchange rates at the time a request was sent. While our calculations are the most accurate on the market, constant fluctuations in currency values mean that there may be a margin for error. We recommend using the Zonos Landed Cost Guarantee to absolve any worry about these small discrepancies.
How up to date are Zonos' exchange rates?
We fetch an updated exchange rate every two hours. However, the currency conversion rate used at the time of customs clearance will not match a currency conversion rate used at the time of an ecommerce order. Again, the Zonos Landed Cost Guarantee can be used to avoid differences in calculations and billing from your carrier.
How do you calculate customs clearance and import fees?
Import fees can be complicated. They can be applied by brokers, government agencies, customs, and carriers. They can vary based on many different factors, like the type of good or even the shipping service level that was used on the import. Zonos can do the heavy lifting for you when calculating import fees. Zonos Landed Cost, Checkout, and Quoter can all calculate import fees as part of a total landed cost calculation.
Does Zonos Hello calculate clearance import fees?
For current Zonos customers, Hello can be configured to include the most commonly-used carrier and service level to calculate the clearance fee.