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What to expect from Customs when bringing back a $5,000 watch?

What to expect from Customs when bringing back a $5,000 watch?

Old Aug 10, 19, 12:22 pm
  #31  
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Old Aug 10, 19, 1:38 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by 1P View Post
I will never be in the postion of affording a $5000 watch, but couldn't your traveling companion simply wear the watch? I understand the ethical need to pay duty on alcohol, tobacco and other products, but this is something you wear. It's not a consumable product. Should duty be payable on what is simply an accessory? Just askin'
What you are suggesting, if I read you right, is a federal offense called colloquially Smuggling.

Originally Posted by ard9719 View Post
From within Europe you shouldn't need to pay duty anyway - From the GOV website

You do not pay duty or tax on goods you bring in from the European Union(EU) as long as you:
  • . . .
  • have paid duty and tax in the country where you bought them
Planning on a duty-free shop purchase if the price is good.

Last edited by TWA884; Aug 10, 19 at 2:57 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; please use the multi-quote function. Thank you.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Before buying a watch overseas, someone who travels a lot should be aware that items acquired abroad must be declared *each time* they enter the USA. This would be a big nuisance if one plans to take the watch on trips.
can you link us to the FAR source for this “each time” statement?
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Old Aug 10, 19, 3:43 pm
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It has always been the case that if you carry an expensive item through any customs they may require you to demonstrate that it was purchased within the country or that you have paid duty on it, unless you are a visitor and can convince them that you do not plan to leave the item in the country. Enforcement may be rather slack but it can happen. I don't know how it works now but when I used to visit Europe in a UK car it was advisable to purchase insurance which would cover returning the wreckage to the UK if the car was totalled as you would otherwise be liable for taxes on the value it had when you drove it in.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 4:22 pm
  #35  
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I got a stamped card from Canadian customs with my watches serial number when I brought it back from Europe 15 years ago. All I need to show if they would ask. I don't travel with it for other reasons but it would be no hassle at all.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 5:24 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Before buying a watch overseas, someone who travels a lot should be aware that items acquired abroad must be declared *each time* they enter the USA. This would be a big nuisance if one plans to take the watch on trips.
I believe the law does not require what you think it does. I am not declaring the Hermès ties I bought in France three months ago when I return from France next week because I don't have to. And, as I am sure you must know, Customs can pull up your history in a snap.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 6:12 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
I believe the law does not require what you think it does. I am not declaring the Hermès ties I bought in France three months ago when I return from France next week because I don't have to. And, as I am sure you must know, Customs can pull up your history in a snap.
You are a bit wrong. There is no requirement that one register anything. But, it if it is registrable and you do not, the burden falls on you to prove that the item was previously imported into the US and duty paid (or waived) at that time. Otherwise, you risk being required to pay the duty again. The registration process, as you can imagine, applies only to items with a serial number. Thus, your Hermes ties are not registrable. But, a watch, camera, or other such item, likely does have a number and the process is set forth at the link. Worth noting that if one is traveling with significant amounts of expensive non-registable items such as multiple expensive suits handmade overseas, that one would do well to keep a paper copy of the receipt at least showing that they were purchased prior to a prior return.

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-to-traveling
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Old Aug 10, 19, 6:41 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
You are a bit wrong.
Maybe not.


Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
There is no requirement that one register anything.
This is true.



Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
But, it if it is registrable and you do not, the burden falls on you to prove that the item was previously imported into the US and duty paid (or waived) at that time. Otherwise, you risk being required to pay the duty again.
Let's quantify things. If I bring in a Nikon D3 camera, Customs knows it's an old model whether or not I have a receipt with me. And it probably also has signs of wear as well. Want to make me pay duty, go ahead. Then wait for my appeal to be filed to have it returned.

I have had occasion in the past to have as much as three trips to Paris in one month. The worst thing that ever happened was (during the time of the written, itemized declaration forms) when an inspector said something to me like, "Did you buy that tie in France?" and I replied, "On the last trip."

I am not registering my 30 year old Swiss watch.
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Old Aug 11, 19, 8:24 am
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This is one of the few areas in which I've found CBP to be uniformly nice about things. It isn't a hassle and they just figure out what the duty is and whether they want to charge it or not (as others have said, there is some discretion here). The duty is often surprisingly little.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Before buying a watch overseas, someone who travels a lot should be aware that items acquired abroad must be declared *each time* they enter the USA. This would be a big nuisance if one plans to take the watch on trips.
That is not even close to true. You don't even need to register it, though it may be wise to do so if you expect to have customs ask you questions about it.
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Old Aug 11, 19, 2:42 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
Maybe not.



This is true.





Let's quantify things. If I bring in a Nikon D3 camera, Customs knows it's an old model whether or not I have a receipt with me. And it probably also has signs of wear as well. Want to make me pay duty, go ahead. Then wait for my appeal to be filed to have it returned.

I have had occasion in the past to have as much as three trips to Paris in one month. The worst thing that ever happened was (during the time of the written, itemized declaration forms) when an inspector said something to me like, "Did you buy that tie in France?" and I replied, "On the last trip."

I am not registering my 30 year old Swiss watch.
I have never been asked to provide a CBP 4455. But, I keep them with the other documents I have stashed away when I travel.
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Old Aug 11, 19, 7:28 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Yes, but my point is that this is a nuisance.
No different than if you bought that expensive stuff in the US.
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Old Aug 12, 19, 7:50 am
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In a related situation: some years ago my dad went to Hong Kong and brought back three fake Rolex watches as gag gifts (with the exchange rate I think he said he paid about $20 total). Until he convinced them the watches were fake (pretty easy to do) Customs wanted him to pay duty on their value as if they were authentic. I am not sure how he convinced them not to confiscate them (one is allowed to bring in limited quantities of counterfeit goods but three is more than one and obviously not for personal use). Somewhere I have a photo of my brother, Dad and me all checking the time on our new watches....
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Old Sep 11, 19, 3:33 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post

Before buying a watch overseas, someone who travels a lot should be aware that items acquired abroad must be declared *each time* they enter the USA. This would be a big nuisance if one plans to take the watch on trips.
As long as the certificate of registration matches the declared item, it's not necessary to declare every time.

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...QmxSU0VDb28%3D
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