I am having issues with French customs
September 16, 2016 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Please help me get a book to a customer in France.

I sold a book to a customer in France. I shipped it via Canada Post and it was held up at French customs. My customer contacted them and they said further documentation was needed, but before he could get it to them they shipped the book back to me (I haven't received it yet).
My customer emailed documents to me. I will print them out and send them with the book when I re-send it to him. Should I attach the documents to the outside of the parcel in a clear envelope?
What documents exactly are required?
This is an expensive book (1800 euros), and was originally published in Paris in 1913. I assume duty is not an issue because it was produced in France. Is that correct?
Any further wisdom regarding the labryinthine world of French customs is most welcome. Thanks!
posted by crazylegs to Work & Money (3 answers total)
For 1800 euros, I would consider shipping it through a carrier (e.g. UPS, there may be cheaper options) that will provide customs brokerage services in France for you. It will cost more money, but I'm sure neither you nor your customer want to deal with the risks involved in getting this wrong again.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:34 AM on September 16, 2016

Antiques and printed matter don't attract customs duty into the EU, as far as I know, but can VAT.

Get an agent - or at the least,talk to an antiquarian bookseller who regularly sells to the EU. This stuff is complicated and risky.
posted by Devonian at 8:45 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

The standard VAT for France is 20% but at least some books qualify for a reduced rate of 5.5%.

I have access to some reference materials regarding EU duty and VAT rates but they aren't comprehensive and I am no expert on VAT.

The EU Customs classification for books is 4901.99.0000. The duty rate is 0% and the VAT rate is 20% with certain goods carrying a rate of 5.5% (specifically mentions that books used for educational purposes are 5.5%). I can't say whether the 5.5% rate will apply to your book.

There is a second Customs classification that applies to antiques , 9706.00.00.00 - Antiques of an age exceeding 100 years, with a duty rate of 0% and a VAT rate of 5.5%.

The disadvantage to entering the item as an antique is that it raises the possibility that Customs will require some additional proof that the book is in fact an antique.
posted by Carbolic at 12:54 PM on September 16, 2016

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