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"Duties on Getting painted figures from the UK to the USA" Topic

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MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

Anyone have experience with sending painted figures from the UK to the US?

I am going to get some soon from the UK and the painter, though I am not positive he's experienced with this, suggested I might get charged import duties.

I am not sure why that would be, I sent him figures within the UK, and paid the VAT, so I am just getting my miniatures back with a paint job. Is there a duty on painting?

Also, obviously one wants this insured, but people insure used goods all the time; doesnt mean it's a purchase.

Thus, if anyone knows how it works with the various carriers, i would appreciate it.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

You need to have him describe the figures as "Toy Soldiers" and put a minimum value on them(unless they are insured). They should sail through no problem.


Teppsta Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 4:20 p.m. PST

I think import duty kicks in quite low – so set value at £15.00 GBP

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 4:44 p.m. PST

Just polite word of warning:
Beware if you put minimum value on them if they go lost, or at least reportedly go lost?? Who swallows that then ?

Russ Dunaway

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 5:37 p.m. PST

Oh, I am having them fully insured. My question is, what is the duty? And under what justification?

Is their a rule, or does some clod in customs just do it randomly?

if i send you an old couch and value it for insurance purposes for $2,000 USD, it doesn't make it a purchase.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 6:48 p.m. PST

I don't think you can put a $2,000 USD insurance claim in on something you also claimed to customs was only worth $50 USD …?

Russ Dunaway

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 6:58 p.m. PST

Why not? If I sent someone in the UK my toy soldiers collection to bless and then send back to me, theyre still worth $2,000 USD but I didn't pay that for them; they're my own property. Wouldn't I want to insure them for $2,000 USD and declare zero for purchase value?

Similarly with the figures in a way. If I have $100 USD worth of miniatures painted for $1,000 USD, then I am only importing $100 USD worth of miniatures but I would want to insure them for $1,100. USD

Unless there's a special duty for the artwork which I dont know about. I thought maybe some of the bigger shots around here or some of the artists had experience with shipping painted figures from the UK to the US.

I think the US Customs have a personal exemption for packages under $2,500 USD value but I'll call UPS and ask.only problem is it is hard to describe these things because it's a relatively unusual hobby.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 7:38 p.m. PST

Describe them as toy soldiers.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 7:46 p.m. PST

Old Glory sends thousands upon thousands of dollars of product every month to UK via UPS and USPS and have been doing so for over 30 years -- and they will only pay the "declared value" on a claim.

Perhaps a private insurer?
Your situation may be different so do whatever.

The Waving Flag10 Sep 2018 2:10 a.m. PST

Some points;

[1] The goods are being sent from the UK to the USA so where they were before the UK is not relevant or pertinent: it is a UK export and a USA import.

[2] From the UK duty is only paid on import so it's the USA regulations & administration that count. This will usually, read almost always, be based on the declared value.

[3] All insurance is a contract to defer risk of loss or damage. Failure to declare a justifiable value gets close to fraud. No business will accept a claim above the declared value because you have "under insured" the goods and therefore understated the risk of loss or damage.

[4] Failure to declare a true value on a UK CN22 form (required for all parcels outside the EU) is a criminal offense and should not be undertaken lightly.

[5] The most justifiable value (to you) of your painted figures is the replacement cost: the cost of the lead and the painting cost. Both of these can be supported by invoices.

[6] Be aware that while your painter is the person who takes out the insurance contract (and will be the best person to file a claim) they will have a hard time proving the cost of the painting. They can prove how much they have charged you but that's the value not the cost. To recover all your costs you should be prepared to make a claim in the USA.

[7] Declaring the contents as toy soldiers is not the best. Many jurisdictions have specific safety rules and tariffs for toys. To help get your painter to describe the contents as "model soldiers" and use TARIC code "950 300" on the CN22.

Hope this helps.

Martin Stephenson
Personal: Blog | Twitter

Project Vehemence10 Sep 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

Of the 15 parcels I've sent for clients to the US this year, 14 have been fine, and one had some issue, so it may be just random checks.

All I do is,
send by 'International Tracked and Signed', fill in the Custom Form as 'Toy models', and the value as the cost of the minis + the price of the painting.


MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 9:38 a.m. PST

UPS said as a guideline, keep the package under $800 USD declared value and it should be fine. Which for me, is like one unit of figures. Over that $800 USD, it comes down to what tariff code the miniatures fall under; something UPS wasnt sure of and suggested I use their website tariff-tool or whatever. It's disturbing that no one really seems to know exactly how this works.

UPS also said something along the lines of what "Waving Flag" said above, that they will sometimes only pay for the retail amount of the item but not the cost of the customization (the paint job).

Which in turn makes me wonder why anyone would declare the full amount of painted miniatures? It wouldn't seem fair that one would have to declare the amount of both the retail amount and the customization amount in order to facilitate being charged more by Customs and yet run the risk that you will never be reimbursed for the full amount if the items are damaged or lost.

Which brings up another issue. If the painter sends the miniatures and they are lost or damaged who bears the replacement cost? Is it the painter? I would assume so however in this butt backwards hobby, I'm starting to wonder.

Personal logo PrivateSnafu Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 11:10 a.m. PST

Duty should never be more than 3% if it's assessed at all, on the kinds of hobby stuff we are talking about. Contrary to popular outrage the USA practices free trade and rarely assesses taxes on importers or their customers.

Project Vehemence10 Sep 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

Lost or damaged…

Here is the official UK –

The sender would theoretically bare the costs as it is they who make the contract with the mail service to send the items.

As an Ebay seller I've filed plenty of 'lost item' claims over the years, as a painter I guess I've just been lucky and never (touch wood) lost a package so dont have any experience or advice there.


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