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Customs & Taxes

Customs Duty & Taxes when ordering from Japan

Seido Co., Ltd. specializes in the worldwide export of martial arts equipment from Japan.

All prices are tax-free; however, charges, depending on the rate applied in the country of reception, may be applied by customs upon import of the package.

Do not worry; the process is transparent. It delays the actual delivery very little and is fully managed by the carrier, who will ask for the payment of the fees upon delivery of your package. Not every package is taxed, and the procedure can vary depending on the country. You will find all information about this below.

SeidoShop.com does not accept returning packages for the reason of non-payment of customs duties. If the package is returned, the return will be entirely at the customer's expense.

The exporter (Seido) and the importer (the client)

Customs officer

Seido Co., Ltd. is the exporter; therefore, we carry out the legal paperwork for the exported product leaving Japan, formalities on the Japanese side. All parcels will be shipped under "DDU/DAP" incoterm.

The customer is considered as the importer by the law of his country. All our exported products are sold on Japanese soil; therefore, they comply with the legislation of Japan. It is the customer's responsibility to verify that purchases comply with the laws of his or her country of residence. It is the customer's responsibility to provide all materials his country's customs might ask for clearance (which, practically, rarely happens).

Regulated items & How to make sure if an item can be imported

Restricted items

Almost all the products in our catalog can be imported in any country without problem. We have experienced no trouble with clothing (Hakama, Dogi, Belts), nor with any of our accessories. Wooden weapons rarely pose issues in most countries; however, with Iaito it can be complicated. Here is a list of issues that have occurred in the past. This list is for information purpose only; at the end, you are responsible for the import of the product, and if a package must be sent back to us due to your country's import restrictions, it will be at your own expense.

  • Iaito to the UK: theoretically allowed, but you must justify its use as equipment for martial art training (a copy of your licence/registration in a recognized martial art federation, with a copy of your ID). But in reality, we have experienced several cases of Iaito seized by customs for no reasons. Therefore, we strongly discourage ordering Iaito without pre-approval from UK's customs. Should you decide to place your order, we will not assume any responsability.
  • Iaito to Korea: theoretically allowed, but you must justify its use as equipment for martial art training (a copy of your licence/registration in a recognized martial art federation, with a copy of your ID). In reality, we have experienced several cases of Iaito seized by customs and/or returned to sender. Therefore, we strongly discourage ordering Iaito without pre-approval from Korean customs. Should you decide to place your order, we will not assume any responsability.
  • Iaito to Russia: we have managed to deliver Iaito to Russia in the past; however, the customs procedure might be rather complicated. Please follow the instructions of local customs when the package arrives to make sure your order will be duly delivered.
  • Iaito to Brazil: Due to new regulations for which we haven't been able to sort out the details, we strongly discourage ordering Iaito for delivery to Brazil. Should you decide to place your order, it will deliver through EMS/Japan Post, and we will not assume any responsability for its importation.
  • Iaito to Vietnam: Importation of Iaito is not allowed in Vietnam. If you place an order, we will consider that you have taken the necessary arrangment to import such item. There will be no refund of any kind if your order is seized by customs.
  • Wooden weapons to Australia: we have experienced no major problem, but the package sometimes stayed stuck for customs inspection for about a week. There is a complicated regulation - that includes quarantine - on imported wooden material; we (neither the customs) do not know if it should be applied to wooden weapons. This is not a major issue, but some questions might be asked.
  • Wooden weapons to Mexico: we have experienced some problems, including refusal of the package by customs for obscure reasons. This is rare, but it may happen. We request our customer to assume responsability in case of complicated customs procedure for wooden weapons.

Applicable VAT (Consumer tax)

Tax free or tax due

Import from Japan may be subject to different charges when the package arrives in the country of destination. These fees must be paid by the recipient. We have no control over taxation and cannot predict their amount or their particular application. Please contact the customs office in your country for more information. Some local carriers might charge additional fees when perceiving VAT and customs duty, such as handling fees.

Calculation: (Value of products + shipping fees) x VAT rate = applicable VAT.
Example (France): 5,000 YEN (bokken) + 1,500 YEN (shipping) x 20% (vat rate) = 1,300 YEN

Note that the shipping fees used for the calculation are fixed in their actual amount, invisible for you, since the shipping is included in the product price and not stated on the official invoice. The declared value of the products is standardized (and optimized) by the type of product. It is slightly underestimated so you never pay more than you should. The VAT does not apply on services, such as embroideries and engravings, realized in Japan. Those services are not indicated on the invoice. The details and total amount on the customs invoice and the details on your order confirmation/official invoice will differ.

Fees and applicable customs taxes

Customs duty

On packages declared over a certain amount (150€ in Europe, US $800 in the US), customs duty can be charged. Customs duty is a tax for which the amount depends on the item's category. Sporting goods, the category used for most of our products, is charged around 2.9%. As the rate depends on the country and the product type, please contact the customs office in your country for more information.

For reference, the import tax in Europe for sporting goods is 2.9%
Calculation: Value of products x customs tax rate = applicable taxes
Example (Europe): 5,000 YEN (bokken) x 2.9% = 145 YEN

Disclaimer: customs officers may change the category without consultation. We do not control their final decision, but problems are very rare.

With customs duty and consumer taxes, the carrier will charge handling fees. Those fees are charged for the service of carrying out the customs clearance and perceiving the taxes on behalf of your local customs. The fees vary, depending on the carrier and the country of delivery. It is not possible to take care of the import procedure on your level; customs clearance can only be processed by the carrier.

  • FedEx: between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN
  • UPS: between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN
  • Japan Post (local post office): between 1,500 YEN and 2,500 YEN

About the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

Since the beginning of 2019, certain goods imported from Japan benefit from an exception or a reduction of applicable TARIFF (customs duty). Details are complicated and those new measures will be gradually released over a period of 7 years, but it doesn't change much for you. Most of our goods are taxed at about 3%. Taking our customs declaration optimizations into account, we have calculated that for the very large majority of customers, it will not significantly impact the taxes charged for their orders.

How high are the taxes I have to pay?

Caculator, customs duty

You will find in the cart a tax calculator in relation to the declared amount.
You can use this tool to request to underdeclare your package and we will proceed as requested, however we will not assume responsibility in the event of a customs hold or fine. If your package is returned to Japan, the return and re-shipment will be at your expense.

Our calculator includes all applicable fees, VAT, customs fees and carrier charges. Please note, however, that this is an estimation and the fees charged may vary. Generally downward, our estimate being very conservative (we prefer to overestimate the cost to avoid any unpleasant surprises).

Note that this calculator will be either disabled or not applicable in countries that do not tax low-value imports, including the USA and Australia.

From experience, declaration optimization does not pose a problem in most countries. However, we recommend caution to our customers delivering to the following countries, which are more careful: Portugal, Italy, northern European countries, South Africa, and Brazil.

  • USA: Against expectation, packages are rarely taxed in the US. As far as we can evaluate it, the number of orders taxed for which the total amount is less than US$500 is close to none.
  • Australia: We have not received many complaints from Australia either. We do not have a specific number, but taxation is likely, but reasonable. Customs clearance is fast.
  • United Kingdom: Unfortunately, almost all packages are taxed in the UK. However, the calculation is always fair and till now, no trouble worth mentioning. Customs clearance is fast.
  • Canada: Most packages are taxed in Canada, but the calculation is always fair. No issues. Customs clearance is fast.
  • Italy: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier, and unfortunately, customs clearance is not fast. FedEx/UPS packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes.
  • Spain: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier, and unfortunately, customs clearance is not fast. FedEx/UPS packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes.
  • Switzerland: All packages are taxed, but the calculation is fair and clearance is fast.
  • Germany: Very inconsistent. Most packages are taxed, the calculation is fair, and clearance is fast. However, local carrier (when shipped with Japan Post) might ask you to pick up the package at a specific location.
  • Greece: local customs takes over all carriers and uses odd norms to calculate the fees when shipped with FedEx and UPS. We try to reduce the fees to the maximum, but there is no guarantee it will work, as it is up to the customs officer at the end and we have experienced packages taxed around 50% of the order value. Customs clearance is fairly long (1 to 2 weeks).
  • Belgium: All packages are taxed, whatever the carrier. Calculation is fair with Japan Post and FedEx, and most packages are cleared within 2 or 3 days, but sometimes, Japan Post packages might take 2 to 3 weeks. (Using UPS, we had some odd calculations, so we do not use this carrier for Belgium, anymore).
  • France: Very inconsistent. Most UPS/FedEx packages are taxed, but not 100%. Japan Post (La Poste) small packages are rarely taxed. Calculation method is fair, and clearance is fairly fast. Note that this policy may change in 2021 with the creation of new harmonized European customs procedures.
  • Russia: All UPS/FedEx packages are taxed. As for Japan Post packages, it is rather arbitrary, depending on the custom officer in charge.
  • Bulgaria: Strict customs inspection. Fast, but almost always taxed, and proof of payment is often asked to the importer (you). Please contact us for more information.

When and how do I pay customs?

There are 3 ways the customs duty and taxes can be charged, depending on the carrier and country.

Pay the driver: Usually, the driver will ask you to pay upon delivery. You can usually pay cash or by check.

Pay by bill: Mostly with FedEx, but not in all countries and all cases. If the paperwork takes too long to have the bill ready at delivery, FedEx will deliver the package asap and send you the bill 2-3 weeks later . Payment methods depend on the country and will be indicated on the bill.

Pay at the counter: In rare cases (mostly in Germany, as far as we know, and never with UPS/FedEx), the carrier might ask you to come to the office to pick up your package and pay the bill at the counter.

How does it work with the dojo accounting?

For the order :
- You can download an official invoice for your order from your account (most of the time, a copy of the order confirmation email is enough).
- A copy of your credit card statement will state the real amount charged in your currency.

For customs duty and taxes:
- The carrier will always give you an invoice for the total amount, including duty, consumer tax, and fees.

Adding both invoices can be processed in your dojo accounting if you placed the order on behalf of your dojo.

Can I avoid being taxed?

No, not outside of the optimization you can select in the cart. Feel free to contact us if you want more details.

With UPS/FedEx, declaring items as gifts will not affect taxation.
If you request to declare a specific amount, under a specific declaration type (gift), we will do it. However, this will invalidate the package insurance (reduce it to the amount declared) and Seido will not be held responsible in any legal prosecution based on that.

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