Get started with customs clearance for wine shipping
As an importer, you will pay duties and taxes on your wine import, but it can be easy to forget that it also costs money to clear the shipment through customs.
To ship wine internationally, you’ll need a firm grasp of the basics of customs clearance, as well as the specific regulations of your import and export countries. You will need to prepare the necessary customs paperwork required by your destination country, and pay any fees required.
Making mistakes with customs clearance can be costly. In certain circumstances, you could face fines for non-compliance, risk your container being returned or miss out on quotas that could save you money. That’s why it is important to stay up-to-date on the regulations, fees, duties and taxes importers are liable for. Ensuring your freight quote comes with customs brokerage can help you avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
This article will give you a thorough introduction to customs clearance and how it affects your shipments.
Customs clearance is the authorization required for all goods, like wines, to enter or leave a country. It describes the process by which customs authorities inspect, verify, and approve the import or export of goods, ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and duties before the goods can enter or leave a country's borders.
A custom clearance fee is the charge for the services carried out by customs after you submit your documents. It covers processing and facilitating the movement of goods through customs. thes. The cost of the customs clearance fee may vary depending on the type of goods, their value, and the complexity of the clearance process. It can be a flat rate, or a percentage of the value of the wine being shipped.
Duties are charges applied to goods that are sold across borders, including wine and other alcohol. Determining the duty owed can be complicated, and although you may receive an estimated duty rate for your shipment, the custom authority will make a final decision on what is owed, based on the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) codes. Taxes are slightly different; they are fees on goods being brought into a country, such as value-added tax (VAT) and sales tax. Taxes are paid by the wine importer.
The customs clearance fee requires you to provide accurate information about the value of your goods. Unless a flat rate is applied, the declared value of the goods is used by customs officers to calculate customs duties. The amount you will need to pay for customs clearance varies between countries, as does the way the fee is calculated. The value of the wine can be calculated based on these methods:
Generally, if you are sending alcoholic beverages within the EU, your shipment will not need to go through customs clearance before delivery. This means there is no customs clearance fee to pay. However, you may still need to pay excise duties and VAT.
For EU imports from a non-EU country, your shipment will need to go through customs, which means a customs clearance fee will apply. The customs authorities will decide if the wine can be imported into the EU, and whether the required import documents have been submitted.
When importing wine, distilled spirits or beer to the US, you will first need to obtain a Federal Basic Importer’s Permit from the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). There are no fees for obtaining the permit, but you will be responsible for other applicable Federal excise taxes and duties, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code. For US imports, these are collected by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). You can find more information on duties on the CBP Duty Rates page, and also by checking for your item on the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) database.
You may need to pay additional customs fees, depending on the circumstances. These include:
Customs clearance sits within the larger wine shipping process. Although the exact process and costs vary depending on the country,
Incoterms® are a set of rules for global shipping set by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Incoterms® assign specific responsibilities to either the seller or the buyer involved in international trade to keep the legal obligations of each party clear for everyone involved. As such, they affect who is responsible for paying customs clearance fees.
Our Incoterm® table summarizes the responsibility allocation of each Incoterm®.
As indicated by the relevant Incoterms®, in most cases the buyer (importer) is responsible for paying the customs clearance fees, and any duty owed on an import.
Hillebrand provides customs clearance services worldwide. We can act as your customs broker, taking care of the customs process on your behalf so you can focus on other parts of your business. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help.