USPS Changes Customs Form Acceptance

July 14th, 2016 Comments off

Blog_USPS Changes Customs Form AcceptanceUnless you’re dropping a shipment off at the Post Office retail counter, customs declaration forms (AKA customs forms) for packages being sent internationally through USPS must now be completed and submitted online. In other words, no more filling out these forms by hand without making a trip to the Post Office.

According to a recent letter to its customers, USPS has discontinued preprinted, hardcopy customs declaration forms PS Form 2976 (one-page form), PS Form 2976-A (multi-page form) and PS Form 2976-B (Priority Mail Express International form). After June 3, 2016, the Postal Service will return improperly presented items to the sender for proper entry and acceptance.

What does this mean for Stamps.com customers?
Since Stamps.com software auto-completes integrated customs forms and electronically submits customs data to USPS, this means our customers aren’t impacted by this change. Customers can continue to use our software to print their customs forms and include the appropriate forms with international shipments.

Anyone not using a PC Postage provider like Stamps.com or USPS Click-N-Ship has a couple different options during the transition, according to USPS:

– Visit the Post Office—as previously mentioned, customers can visit their local Post Office retail counter to complete the replacement PS Form 2976-R hardcopy form. The customer must give the completed form to a retail associate to complete the transaction.

– Go online—Create an electronic customs form by visiting https://www.usps.com/customsforms and entering the appropriate information. You can then print the form and apply it to your package with your postage. You can then use your current method to induct your packages into the mailstream.

The plastic pouches used to enclose and attach the customs form to the package are still available online – order these envelopes and other USPS supplies for free at the Stamps.com Store!

International Shipping: What are Customs, Duties and Taxes?

October 17th, 2014 Comments off

blog_globeIf you are selling products online and you are not yet selling to international markets, you are missing out on an easy opportunity to grow sales. eMarketer estimates that global e-commerce sales will reach $1.5 trillion in 2014! And they expect the international sales to grow at least 15% EACH YEAR through 2017.

International buyers want U.S. products and buying directly from the source is usually much cheaper than buying from a retailer in their own country. 68% of ALL E-COMMERCE SALES in 2014 will occur outside of the U.S.!

And while many sellers think selling to international markets is hard due to Customs Forms, language barriers and longer shipping delivery periods, sellers are usually surprised to see how easy shipping overseas is.

Check out the recently published articles on how to get started:

In this week’s article, we discuss some other important topics to be aware of when selling to international markets.

blog_customs-clearance Customs Fees:
Customs Fees are a cost that the host country charges to manage the flow of goods in and out of the country. All products go through Customs before going to the buyer, and there is a fee associated to manage this process. For e-commerce sales, the BUYER typically is aware of this fee and is the responsible party for paying the fee.
blog_tariff_big Duties/Tariffs:
Similar to Customs Fees, Duties/Tariffs are a type of tax placed on value of item, plus freight and insurance by country. Duties/Tariffs are designed to protect local businesses and industries in the host country. While there are some exceptions, the BUYER is the responsible party to pay the Duties/Customs fees.
blog_taxes-due_big Taxes:
Taxes are not charged by every country, and they can vary based on the value of the product. This is an additional fee that a local government such as state, province or city, charges for delivering the package into their region. Similar to Customs Fees and Duties/Tariffs, the BUYER typically pays the fee.
blog_us-census-bureau International Transaction Number (ITN):
The ITN is a requirement from the U.S. Postal Service if the product you are shipping is over $2,500 in value. You can get the ITN number for your product at the US Census site. In order to get the ITN, you must first file a document using the Electronic Export Information (EEI) form. Once the EEI form is processed and approved, you will receive your ITN which should be included with your shipping documents.
blog_harmonized-codes_big Harmonized Codes:
Harmonized codes are another important issue. These are a standardized set of numbers developed by the World Customs Organization to process customs quicker. They are built for commercial shippers that send a lot of the same product. HS codes can speed up the customs processing time, so it’s a good idea to use them. Get more info on Harmonized Codes.

How to Fill Out a USPS Customs Form

October 1st, 2014 Comments off

Expanding your e-commerce sales into international markets is a great way to grow revenue.  And when shipping to international destinations, you must declare the contents of your package on a Customs Form so the destination country can inspect the product and determine if a duty or tax is required.

While some people think the process of completing a Custom Form is complicated, it really is a very simple process. And Stamps.com has made the process easy by AUTOMATICALLY filling out most of the required fields in the custom form!

blog-customs-form_oct2014b

 

There are four main section on a U.S. Postal Service Customs Form that require attention (example above is CN 22/PS Form 2976, commonly referred to as “1 page form”):

#1 Merchandise Info:  This is the area that you state the product description and value. If you use Stamps.com, the data can be automatically imported from your data source such eBay, Amazon.com, Etsy or your Shopping Cart.

#2 Address Info: This is the “from” address stating where the package is coming from, and the “to” or delivery address for where the package is traveling to.  Stamps.com automatically imports this info from the original data source (eBay, Carts, etc.) into the Customs Form

#3 Signature and Date: The USPS requires all international shippers to sign and date the Customs Form.  But with Stamps.com, you are a known shipper” and no signature is required.  Stamps.com automatically includes your name and date on form.

#4 Electronic Round Stamp: The USPS requires all Customs Forms to be stamped at the Post Office, providing an official “proof of mailing.”  But Stamps.com automatically prints an “electronic round stamp” on the Customs Form.  This allows you to

The USPS has three separate Customs Forms to use, depending on the type of mail class used, the value of the product and the destination country.  Generally speaking, all the three forms contain similar info.  It comes down to the number of copies that are included on the package.

Get more info on USPS Customs Forms.

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