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.

Tax-Time Peace of Mind with Certified Mail

April 16th, 2012 Comments off

Send Your Tax Return via Certified Mail with Stamps.com
Mailing in your tax return? Use Certified Mail to obtain proof that your tax return was accepted by the USPS,blog_certifiedmail-2012 delivered, and signed for. When you use this service, the USPS offers a mailing receipt, provides delivery information, and maintains a copy of the recipient’s signature for two years. In addition, you can request a Return Receipt for a copy of the signature. In the event of any dispute regarding mailing dates, Certified Mail has you covered… and so does Stamps.com!

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Tax Tips for Small Business Owners

April 12th, 2012 Comments off

Although you have two extra days this year to file your taxes, April 17 is just around the corner. Read up on these tips to maximize deductions and keep more money in your pocket in 2012.  taxes

Take Good Advice
A good tax advisor can take the pressure off when it comes to knowing which deductions you qualify for and what’s new each year in the world of small business taxes.

  • Look for someone who has experience with your type of business. Ask your business contacts or friends for references.
  • Find a thorough advisor who will ask lots of questions in order to determine which deductions you may qualify for.
  • Choose someone who will be able to accompany you in the event of an audit.
  • If your taxes are fairly straightforward, you might consider tax preparation software. Not all programs are created equal, so before you begin, make sure your software supports common business forms such as Schedule C. Try Turbo Tax, H&R Block, or TaxAct for small business filing.

 Set Up A Home Office

  • If it meets the right criteria, your home office could allow you to deduct a percentage of expenses such as rent or mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, utilities, water, garbage, and more.  

Track Business Expenses
Keeping good records throughout the year will save you time and energy when tax time rolls around.

  • Save receipts for all business-related purchases. Create a special file for this purpose and make it a habit to tuck those receipts away at the end of each day.
  • Find an accounting program or software you like and can commit to using, to help you keep track of business expenses and tax deductions.
  • Taking a client out for lunch? Attending a business training or networking event? Deduct a percentage of business-related meals, travel expenses, and various forms of entertainment.

Record Your Mileage

  • Option 1: Keep track of and deduct all business-related expenses (gas, mileage, tolls, parking, etc.).
  • Option 2: Deduct the standard mileage rate ($0.51 per mile in 2011) for each business mile driven, plus all business-related tolls and parking fees.

Deduct Your Health Insurance

  • If neither you nor your spouse has a full-time job that provides health insurance for your family, then you may qualify to deduct your health insurance costs.

 

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