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Spending money & declaring it

Cannon Beach, Oregon
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Spending money & declaring it

My trip to Japan will be my first trip where I might spend enough money to need to "declare" it or something, & bring something back or mail it back to the states. Aren't I supposed to "declare" HOW MUCH I spent &/or maybe WHAT I bought to someone (at the airport)? To whom, Japanese customs &/or U.S. customs? Where can I find out that dollar amount where I must declare & if there's a list of concerning items?

I won't be bringing back animal, alcohol, food, or the typical dangerous item like Shogun sword. I'm thinking more along the lines of electronics, possibly small antiquey things, maybe cloths, dvds, & anime, or something like that.

I'm guessing U.S. customs, but maybe not, & maybe Japan has concerns as well...

Thank you.

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Spending money & declaring it

www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/kbyg/

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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2. Re: Spending money & declaring it

At the export point, Japan doesn't need you to declare anything.

On the inbound, you fill out the US customs form. Read Dave's link and be sure to click open the form. You really should have too much of an issue if you aren't bringing in anything luxurious or prohibited. Make sure you declare your items properly.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Spending money & declaring it

If you take more than $10,000 from the US to Japan (or vice versa), you must file a declaration with US Customs. Japan has a similar rule. The rule applies to cash, travelers checks, etc.

When you shop in Japan, keep a list of how much you pay for each item you are bringing back to the U.S. Keep all receipts. Convert all prices from yen to US dollars and then declare that amount when you enter the U.S. and go through Customs. I often bring back more than the duty-free allowance, and I declare everything to Customs. They haven't yet charged me any duty, probably because it would be a small amount.

It's hard to imagine that you could get electronics cheaper in Japan than you could from a New York or New Jersey retailer on the internet. But you might find newer items in Japan that are not yet available in the U.S. In my opinion, the best bargains in Japan are clothing (but only from Uniqlo and Muji), ceramics, and 100-yen store items.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
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4. Re: Spending money & declaring it

Thank you all. Helpful information.

I have a couple more questions if anybody can help with them:

- Is there a tax in addition to the price when you purchase things in Japan?

- When you declare things in customs do you have to literally SHOW these things to them, or can you just TELL them about the purchases? Because I'm thinking I might want to mail things, & it's good to know so I know where everything is & I have it together.

I still need to thoroughly look over that govt page. Thanks for the tip on cloths, ceramics, & inexpensive stuff. A visit to Tokyu Hands is on the agenda so far, since I've read they have some interesting stuff.

.
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5. Re: Spending money & declaring it

Yes, there is a consumption tax of 5% in Japan when you buy goods or services (restaurants, hotels, etc.) As a non-resident you can usually claim back the tax at Department stores & big Electronic stores by going to the Tax Refund counter. (but small stores won't do this for you.)

Check with the US government as to the maximum amount of any of the goods that you can bring or send back.

Declaring goods: Everyone entering a country must fill in a customs declaration form. If you make a declaration & answer 'yes' on any of the questions when entering a country then they will probably ask to see the goods. eg. bringing in more than the allowable amount of any item (as you wil be charged the extra tax). But if you don't declare the goods & they search your bags & find undeclared items then you may be fined or have your goods seized.

You can mail goods back to the USA you will have to fill in a customs declaration form that gets stuck onto the front of the box.

Japanese wrap & pack goods very well - it is part of the famous 'Japanese service', as well as being an art form. Good quality Japanese ceramics are usually packed in wooden boxes often signed by the artist, or otherwise will come in boxes. Dept stores and ceramic shops will pack them very well in bubble wrap.Tell them you will be sending the goods internationally & they'll add even more bubble wrap.

Antiques - don't worry the Japanese government will not let you take out anything of true cultural value! (But they are happy for you to buy their electronic goods.)

Mass produced, factory ceramics sold in bargain stores (eg 100yen shops) will get wrapped in newspaper, you'll need to buy your own packing materials. Post Offices will have it.

Each country has their own rules regarding importing or exporting goods, so you need to read the US rules.

tokyo
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for Tokyo
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6. Re: Spending money & declaring it

When you return to the US this is a sample of the form you fill out:

cbp.gov/xp/…sample_declaration_form.xml

You don't declare how much you spent, you declare how much items/worth of goods you are bringing back.

Note: U.S. residents are normally entitled to a duty-free exemption of $800 on items accompanying them.

You don't have to show US Customs officers anything UNLESS they ask you for a secondary inspection, in which case, they open ALL of your luggage.

Again if you read the relavent US customs pages, it explains, that the declaration excludes items you mail. When you mail things you fill out a seperate customs declaration form which is attached to the package.

>>15. If you are a U.S. resident, print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you have purchased or acquired abroad (including gifts for someone else, but not items mailed to the United States) and are bringing into the United States.<<

Japan has a 5% sales tax. Some stores offer tax refunds if you show them your passport, sometimes the store might require a minimum purchase (eg over 10,000 yen) to qualify for the refund, others do not. Usually there will be signs written in English if they did offer refunds.

Toronto
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for Tokyo
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7. Re: Spending money & declaring it

customs.go.jp/english/summary/passenger.htm

"If you are carrying cash or other means of payment exceeding 1 million yen, you are required to declare to Customs. Please ask the Customs officer at seaport as well as airport for a blank form. "

Toronto
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for Tokyo
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8. Re: Spending money & declaring it

>> At the export point, Japan doesn't need you to declare anything.

"If you depart or enter Japan with currency and coins or other means of payment exceeding 1 million JPY(*), you are required to declare to Customs. Please ask a Customs officer at seaport as well as airport for a blank form.

* 0.1 million JPY in a case that you are bound for North Korea"

www.customs.go.jp/kaigairyoko/H20k591_er.pdf

Cannon Beach, Oregon
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243 posts
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9. Re: Spending money & declaring it

Thanks again for all the responses. Very helpful.

Edmond, Oklahoma
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10. Re: Spending money & declaring it

To emphasize what others have said. From my experience, I bought a SONY computer from their overseas store in Ginza. It would have been less expensive to purchase it in the USA. I carried it back in the box and in the large SONY bag, which was quite large and substantial (no problems). I could not register the computer to get the 1 year warranty when I returned to the USA because it had an overseas model number (but I am not worried about the quality). When I showed my passport, I received the 5 percent tax rebate from the store when the amount was more than $100.00. I carefully declared everything I brought back with me, which was more than the allowed amount. I made certain that I declared everything, and items more than 100.00 had receipts stapled into my passport by the stores where I bought the items. I had no trouble going through customs when I returned and turned in my completed customs forms. I hope your trip goes as well! Enjoy!