Here is How to Lower or Avoid Customs Duties as a Commercial Buyer

When you import goods from another country, you must pay an import duty that the federal government levies on particular items. Sometimes the duties can be too high such that you might not be able to make profits after selling our items. Other times you pay duties that are not even worth your shipment. Nonetheless, you have to pay the duties. The best thing is that there are ways you can reduce the tax to ensure you are not paying excess duties that you actually should. There is a way you can cover the duties to make importing easier and cheaper and provide great value to the customers. Here is what you need to do.

Call the Seller If You Get a Custom Duty Notice

When the package reaches the port, more duties may be added than you owe. It is important to call the seller if they have paid the duties and explain the situation. The seller will then handle things from their side so that you will not pay more. Remember, customs cannot release the package until you pay the duties. It is one rule of importing items. So, work with the seller to ensure you don’t pay more than you should.

a Detailed Invoice for the Shipment

It is not easy to avoid the duties. However, an invoice can help you pay less. So, the seller should make a copy of the invoice containing information about your shipment items. It should also contain the units in the items and their total value. For example, instead of “phone accessories’, the invoice should contain more details like a specification of the accessories, quantity, and the country the items have been manufactured. Marking the source of the items is vital since items from specific countries are normally duty-free. You can go for electronic documentation, where the invoice is forwarded to the customs duty officials. This way, you don’t have to worry about your papers getting destroyed.

Use the Help of a Customs Broker

If the seller does not have a broker, find one for yourself. A broker will significantly figure out the classification of your goods and ensure they are well-prepared. The broker will then place the items with the freight carrier. All these processes ensure you don’t pay more duties than you owe. However, you require a customs broker that delivers to meet this need. The broker is familiar with codes that classify items. Therefore, they will look at the items you want to be shipped and classify them using the code. This way, you will not pay more than you should.

Ask the Freight Firm to Forward the Shipment

If you have not indicated your address and asked the freight company to forward the shipment to your location, you will have to go and pick it up yourself at the port. Driving to pick them up can be inconvenient and will cost you more. If your business is located near the port, picking up your items can be economical. However, if you live far away, consider picking them up within 15 days. The items should also be forwarded within 15 days, after which they will be hauled to the warehouse. Once it gets to the warehouse, you will need to pay more for storage. Therefore, avoid these additional costs by instructing the freight company to forward the items to your location.

Follow Your Shipment

It is advisable to track your items during transit to know where they are and when they arrive. You can contact the seller if the tracking number is not working. So, set an alert that will notify you about the shipment’s location. This way, you don’t need to keep looking up the tracking. If you bought valuable items, you should go for courier services if the shipment insurance does not provide enough coverage. You will pay more for the service, but you will be assured that your package arrives safely and on time.

Furthermore, you will not pay excess duties. Most businesses that buy valuable items hire couriers to deliver them to their doorstep. So, find a reliable one and compare their services to ensure you get an affordable one. Remember, prices differ with couriers, so comparing them is crucial.


International shipping is a serious business that you must be cautious with. Customs can confiscate or delay shipment if the value of your items is more than you have listed or if you cannot pay the duties. The best thing to do is to follow the rules and avoid importing banned items. Most importantly, use the help of a reliable customs broker to make things easier.