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Need help buying a diving board for some poor Estonian kids
March 29, 2012 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Need help with some of the details of buying a diving board for some poor Estonian kids

A close Belarussian friend of mine wants to buy a $12-13k diving board for a community center in Estonia. The European distributor wants several thousand dollars more for the board than American distributors, but the American distributor cannot ship to Europe due to territory constraints.

So here's our brilliant little scheme:
She will wire me the money. I will purchase the board, have it shipped to me in the US, then ship it to Estonia myself. But we're getting a little bogged down in the details. (FWIW, we both know and trust each other, so no worries of somebody getting scammed.)

My question: Since she'll be transferring over $10k to me, would this incur any tax liability (would the IRS see this as a "gift" to me?) or be illegal in any way?

I do remember a special form I had to use to report >$10k transfers to the US govt for intra-country transfers, but I've never done this internationally -- let alone to or from an ex-Soviet state (Belarus), if that makes a difference. Since my friend will be initiating the transfer, will she need to similarly report this?
posted by LordSludge to Law & Government (6 answers total)
 
Can't she just buy the board herself and have it shipped to you as the delivery address? There might be issues of shipping something worth $10K out of the country, but you'd have to deal with that anyway.
posted by hincandenza at 5:40 PM on March 29, 2012


I would contact the Estonian embassy and tell them of your plan. You might be able to find an Estonian company that could "sponsor" the sale through a loan from the US Import-Export Bank. You then pay the lower cost to the company that schedules the sale.
posted by parmanparman at 5:41 PM on March 29, 2012


The European distributor wants several thousand dollars more for the board than American distributors, but the American distributor cannot ship to Europe due to territory constraints.

I suspect that once you take into account the cost of shipping this to Estonia, the costs may be so close as to be not worth the effort, time and delay. I would work this backwards and find out both the shipping cost and the import tax on this plan and re-calculate.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:50 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Shipping to that part of the world is a huge pain. Who is going to ensure that it gets through customs? Better to let the company do it. You'll encounter similar problems as the American distributor will.
posted by k8t at 7:45 PM on March 29, 2012


Also, she could lobby the European distributor for a discount, since it's a charity case. Wouldn't hurt to ask!
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:50 PM on March 29, 2012


She will have to pay import taxes when your shipment goes through customs, which may well amount to... several thousand dollars for a purchase that valuable.
posted by halogen at 2:12 AM on March 30, 2012


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