All countries have different laws concerning in the import of goods, whether the goods are for business or personal use. For example, there may be restrictions on the amount of an item one may import, and some items may be forbidden. Additionally, there may be taxes, tariffs and/or duties on imported items. Japan has its own import laws and corresponding duties, taxes and tariffs.
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Types of Tariffs
While tariff rates are subject to regulation and may change depending on who or what organisation handles the importation, as a general rule, most imported goods are subject to one or more types of tariffs. The general rate is a basic tariff, while the temporary rate is applicable only for a certain time period in which the general rate does not apply. Products imported from certain developing nations may be subject to preferential rates. These rates are lower than the most-favoured-nations tariff rate and any World Trade Organization-mandated rate. Finally, there is a simplified rate for personal belongings which allows individuals to combine customs duty, the consumption tax and other internal taxes.
Payment of Customs Duty
When an individual brings more than ¥200,000 in cash or goods into Japan, he is required by law to declare the items either personally or through a customs broker. If the items are found to require a customs duty or excise tax, the payment must be made upon declaration, at either a bank or a post office.
Different imported items have different rates of duty. For example, clothing import duties can be as high as 20 per cent for fur coats and as low as 4.4 per cent for scarves. Jewellery is taxed at a rate between 5.2 and 5.4 per cent, although watches are duty-free. Other duty-free items include cameras, musical instruments, recorded materials, works of art and cosmetics. Whiskey, brandy and liquors are duty-free, but wine is subject to duty taxes.
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