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Consumption Tax Exemption for Tourists to be improved in 2014

Consumption Tax Exemption for Tourists to be improved in 2014

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Old Jul 11, 15, 4:24 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by NewbieRunner View Post
Store employees look for a sticker like this in the passport and check the date of arrival.

Just to be clear - not only must the sticker look like that generally, but the Status must say Temporary Visitor. The sticker looks generally the same regardless of your admission status.
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Old Sep 9, 15, 7:57 am
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I went through NRT last month, and the procedures have changed. There are now signs in the departure immigration hall that say that if you have a tax exempt form stapled in your passport, you must go to the Customs counter before going through exit Immigration. As a result, what used to be a Customs counter with one person staffing it that never seemed to do anything now does a brisk business, with more than one officer and a roped-off area for a queue to form. There were a couple of people in line waiting for their turn when I passed by.
I saw this in FUK a few days ago too.
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Old Sep 13, 15, 2:55 am
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I've made a couple more trips to Jpn since my last post but didn't do any tax-free shopping on those trips. So I'm still curious to find out what would happen if you put your tax-free CONSUMABLES in the checked bag and then you're forced to swing by the Customs Counter after check-in on your way to the gate. I certainly hope the customs officer will be satisfied with "It's in the suitcase I checked in already, but I promise you I have not opened the seal yet."

Folks, if you happen to go through the above scenario, please report back here!
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Old Sep 20, 15, 8:36 am
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FWIW, Uniqlo is now participating, at least at the Bicqlo store in Shinjuku. There's a special area at the end of the checkout counter for tourists wanting the exemption.
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Old Sep 20, 15, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
I've made a couple more trips to Jpn since my last post but didn't do any tax-free shopping on those trips. So I'm still curious to find out what would happen if you put your tax-free CONSUMABLES in the checked bag and then you're forced to swing by the Customs Counter after check-in on your way to the gate. I certainly hope the customs officer will be satisfied with "It's in the suitcase I checked in already, but I promise you I have not opened the seal yet."

Folks, if you happen to go through the above scenario, please report back here!
I flew NRT-LAX last month with duty-free consumables. I handed them the form and that was that, no questions asked. I even made sure to ask "Is that it?" and they said yes, that was it.
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Old Sep 21, 15, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by jamar View Post
I flew NRT-LAX last month with duty-free consumables. I handed them the form and that was that, no questions asked. I even made sure to ask "Is that it?" and they said yes, that was it.
Okay, there seems to be no consistency in the way they handle this. Your experience was quite different than mine (see #43). This is essentially something that's not enforceable under the current system at NRT.

Next time I buy these consumables tax-free, I'm tempted to take the individual contents out of the sealed bag so that I could place them separately for much more efficient packing.

Anyways, please keep reporting more anecdotes on this.
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Old Sep 21, 15, 11:06 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Okay, there seems to be no consistency in the way they handle this. Your experience was quite different than mine (see #43). This is essentially something that's not enforceable under the current system at NRT.
I think it's like a lot of Customs regulations in many countries: it's based somewhat on the honor system, with a fallback that they do detailed inspections upon suspicion and/or at random, and you're in deep doo-doo if caught in a lie. More to the point: during a Customs inspection, you almost always are forced to make a declaration to the officer before they actually uncover the contraband. So, you get caught not only with the contraband, but in the lie.

For example, let's say you're selected at random at Narita for detailed inspection. You confirm to the Customs officer that you indeed have everything listed on your tax-free export forms with you or in your checked bags, and for consumables, in an unconsumed fashion. You might actually sign something to that effect. Then they pull your bags and find out that you lied. Perhaps you're in big trouble at this point.

Note that it's not that this happens regularly, but the notion that it can happen will keep most people honest. That, plus there's the rather simple notion that you were given a special privilege as a guest to the country, and it would be nothing short of rude to actively try to circumvent the rules in order to save 5% on the shampoo you bought locally and used during the trip. And, if you bought something on behalf of a local in order to evade the tax, you certainly have nothing to complain about if you get caught.

Next time I buy these consumables tax-free, I'm tempted to take the individual contents out of the sealed bag so that I could place them separately for much more efficient packing.
My guess would be that if you ever had to present your effects to a Customs agent to verify you were exporting the goods that were sold to you tax free, that even if the sealed bag were broken, if you nonetheless had all of the described items with you and in an unused state, it would take no more than an apology to resolve. Although officials charged with enforcement duties such as these definitely don't like people breaking seals they're not supposed to be breaking, their primary mission is to catch tax evaders.
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Old Sep 22, 15, 8:12 pm
  #53  
 
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@Steve M: All valid points. Everything you say is very logical.
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Old Sep 23, 15, 1:28 am
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Okay, there seems to be no consistency in the way they handle this. Your experience was quite different than mine (see #43). This is essentially something that's not enforceable under the current system at NRT.

Next time I buy these consumables tax-free, I'm tempted to take the individual contents out of the sealed bag so that I could place them separately for much more efficient packing.

Anyways, please keep reporting more anecdotes on this.
I should note that I was actually quite surprised that was it, given the situation. I handed over the slip last month, but the goods were bought a while before.

Trip:

2X-Jun- YVR-NRT (goods purchased)
2X-Jun- NRT-CPH (forgot to hand in slip on exit)
0X-Aug- LHR-NRT
0X-Aug- NRT-PVG (second chance, still slipped my mind)
2X-Aug- PVG-KIX/ITM-NRT (long story)
2X-Aug- NRT-LAX (finally hand in slip)

And they took it without even asking why I waited two months and two trips to hand it in.
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Old Sep 25, 15, 1:52 am
  #55  
 
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Interesting. If it were me, I'd have thrown away the slip if it was still in the passport after leaving Jpn.
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Old Dec 2, 18, 1:59 am
  #56  
 
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Store clerk unwilling to remove packaging before placing in sealed bag

When I buy skincare products (suntan lotion, lip balm, etc), I always ask the store person to remove the actual product from the box or some cardboard paper it's attached to, and then only place the actual items in the sealed bag. That removes a lot of bulk and makes it easier to pack in suitcase. Every place has been willing to do this in the past. I've never had anyone turn me down until this latest trip. The dude at the store tells me he can't do it because that's against the rule. What rule? I thought the only rule was that you can't consume it while in Jpn and that it needs to stay in the sealed bag until departing Jpn. Has anyone had this type of experience?
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Old Dec 2, 18, 7:13 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
When I buy skincare products (suntan lotion, lip balm, etc), I always ask the store person to remove the actual product from the box or some cardboard paper it's attached to, and then only place the actual items in the sealed bag. That removes a lot of bulk and makes it easier to pack in suitcase. Every place has been willing to do this in the past. I've never had anyone turn me down until this latest trip. The dude at the store tells me he can't do it because that's against the rule. What rule? I thought the only rule was that you can't consume it while in Jpn and that it needs to stay in the sealed bag until departing Jpn. Has anyone had this type of experience?
Parsing the vagaries of the War On Liquids is like going down a rabbit hole ... but here goes ... The only rules that I'm aware of are that passengers' Duty Free purchases must be sealed in tamper-evident bags, with the receipt in the bag. Liquids that are packaged in this way can be taken through security checkpoints at airports that allow this.

Perhaps the store clerk decided on his own initiative that he should not put a "tampered with" product into a tamper-evident bag. Or perhaps there's a store policy that stems from some incident - e.g. a customer complained that his sealed bag was confiscated at a transit airport because it contained an un-boxed product. Or perhaps the store created rules because increasing numbers of tourists are leaving packaging behind that the store must dispose of at its cost.

BTW - I recommend that you say "lip salve," rather than "lip balm," at the airport.
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Last edited by jib71; Dec 2, 18 at 7:20 am
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Old Dec 2, 18, 4:25 pm
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Yeah I figured that was some bogus policy that's either specific to that store or something that the guy imagined up.
I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this happen, how common this is.

Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
BTW - I recommend that you say "lip salve," rather than "lip balm," at the airport.
I'll keep that in mind lol.
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