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Customs-- US to france


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I know if we move permanently we have a one time "free pass" to send our furniture from here to there. But before we move over permanently (if we do) I'd like to move some stuff over now. Over there we have an empty house begging for furniture. Here we have house full of furniture in storage begging for a house. It makes sense to move it there-- except I have no idea on how to figure customs for it. It's all old heavy stuff, mostly 19th century pieces.

Anyone know where I might find the custom fees for sending something like this over? Thanks in advance for any info you may share.

ruth

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I'm in the same position as you, but going the other way, France to the US.

Maybe we could just swap furniture? :)

Save a fortune in shipping costs.

Seriously though, having moved from the UK to Aus, and Aus to France, I have decided enough is enough and am selling everything I own, save a few really important pieces.

Have come to the conclusion that it is only stuff and can always be replaced.
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I admit that I agonised over the costs of transporting stuff from the UK to here so goodness knows what it's going to be like for you guys.  Even with just the family pieces and all our "stuff" it cost a packet.

Furniture swaps sound like a really great idea to me, but I guess finding people with similar taste would be the tough bit.  (That would look lovely in your house![Www])

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It is just not worth importing your furniture from the USA to France, especially as non French residents, because you will not be entitled to any allowances. Think of French TVA (sales tax) at 19.5% and non EU import duties that vary from 10% upwards and it would be cheaper to buy in France, unless your furniture is valuable, but then it would be silly to keep valuable furniture in a holiday home that would be difficult to insure because of the higher theft risk of an unoccupied property.
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Crazy that you have to pay TVA for furniture that has already had sales tax applied to it, but I guess being the government, you can get away with whatever you want.

I shipped a whole container load of stuff from the UK to Australia and don't recall having to pay any sales tax on it.

Thankfully, I will be living in an already furnished house in the US so the only stuff I will be taking is very personal belongings. The less the better.
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Make enquiries into shipping 'Personal effects'

If you have owned and used 'stuff' for more than a year then it comes in tax and duty free.  It's only new 'stuff' that you pay duties on.

You may have to back up your claim for exemption with receipts etc but you probably have those from doing your US tax returns?

Most things you have to own and use for a year prior to importing but there are exceptions, like clothes for instance where the time limit is 3 months IIRC.

No point in shipping electrical goods as your 110volt stuff will catch fire nicely plugged into our 230 volts [:-))]

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The customs site says:

Importations de mobiliers et d'objets destinés à meubler une résidence secondaire située en France ou dans l'Union européenne

Depuis le 1er décembre 2008, l'importation de mobiliers et d'objets destinés à meubler une résidence secondaire située en France ou dans un autre Etat, membre de l'Union européenne, est soumise au paiement des droits de douane et de la TVA (et éventuellement de l'octroi de mer et de l'octroi de mer régional si cette résidence secondaire est située dans un DOM).

I must read it a bit more as I missed the bit about the age of the stuff, Pierre, but my initial impression was that the rules as you state them only applied to moving home - not to second homes as per our o/p.  

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Pierre ZFP, as cooperlola has correctly pointed out and as the Op seems to be aware, exemptions do not appply to non EU residents moving possessions from outside the EU into France, for a maison secondaire.

Rdupre, you need to get professional advice, as if we are talking about antiques, you could be talking about big import taxes. Also contents insurance for a maison secondaire unnoccupied for a large part of the year will be very difficult to obtain in France, if the contents are highly valuable.
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To all of you-- thank you so very much for your input on this. Some are antiques only in that they are over 100 years old but none are investment quality. I'll keep looking into this and see if any of this can be made feasible. If not, then c'est la vie.

merci, ruth

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I have a feeling that a specific exemption in the VAT rules is for articles over 100 years old.

It certainly was in the UK code - British antique dealers always used to be a bit generous with their dating policy in order not to have to charge VAT to their customers. As VAT is an EU tax it's possible this exemption is in the French code too.

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I have no experience of US to France but do from OZ to France and my advice was just do not contemplate it !! I sent back motorcycle clothing , christmas presents from my daughter as we spent Xmas there and a pool cleaner given from her for our birthdays . I have an enormous file and lots of hastle which ended up in us going to Le havre to the shipping agent and then to the customs as they would not release it unless we did. Then we got the 3rd degree on why we were sending clothing second hand ( was our own sent out earlier by La Poste in numerous parcels to use on a motorcycle holiday )They then charged us an arm and a leg in import duties !!

We sent these boxes with a reputable shipping agent in Oz and hired and agent in Le Havre to deal with this end but still had to go ourselves. And the whole thing took weeks and I must say the customs were not at all helpful.

So my advice is just don't go there!!

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I guess so. We used Pickfords who are pretty big, they suggested it, it was done 5 years ago and nobodies complained at me since.

But don't forget Australia and the UK still are under the same monarchy. The US threw their toys out the pram in 1776 ( [;-)] ), so this option might not be available.
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Thanks Mr C de L and cooperlola,

Somewhere in the back of my mind is the thought that someone from the US shipped stuff to Britain, stored it a while and then brought it on into France. Really cut the cost of shipping. I don't know if I"m that gutsy to try it, and too there may be costs involved in bringing into Britain from the US. Still, as you say, it's something to look into. 

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