Overheard at the Paris Flea Market – Do you pay an import tax on antiques?

Recently I was leading a private tour of the Paris Flea Market, and I happened to overhear a husband telling his wife: but the import taxes will double the price. Naturally, I had to intervene and assure the couple that there is no import tax on antiques over 100 years old… as long as US Customs rules are followed and your paperwork is in order.

How much are the import taxes on antiques?
One of the questions I’m most frequently asked about importing and shipping antiques is how much are customs fees and taxes?

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol regulations, antiques are classified as being over 100 years old and are duty-free under provision 9706, providing the importer has proof of age:

Antiques classified under heading 9706 in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) are duty-free, provided the importer has proof of the goods’ age (i.e. the year of manufacture). Certain items, namely original artwork, pearls, semi-precious and precious stones, stamps, coins, and collector’s pieces (see 9705 for details) should be classified under other provisions of Chapter 97, (or 71 for stones) even if they are antiques.

AD&CO Logistics Purchase OrdersOf course, the burden is on the antique buyer – not the seller – to understand US import rules and to make sure all your purchase orders and paperwork are in order. At AD&CO Logistics – our in-house antique and art shipping department – part of our service is to manage all facets of your shipment including collecting your goods from the dealers, tracking your inventory and payments, cross-referencing your tags, packing, complete all export/import paperwork and monitoring your shipment’s progress from the time we receive your goods until they are delivered to you; and keep you advised of the status of your shipment.

Duty on Personal and Commercial Imports of Antiques

Customs paperwork, forms and regulations vary by country, so it’s important to work with an international shipper who has experience shipping antiques, has relationships with customs brokers in your home country and understands all the different regulations on duties on personal and commercial import of antiques:

  • Exporter and vendor documentation certifying that the antiques are over 100 years old Sample US Customs Forms
  • Customs and VAT paperwork concerning the export and import documentation necessary for your goods, including Certificates of Origin and an itemized, detailed packing list including descriptions and weights using the international coding system
  • A formal entry is required for antiques imported for resale if the value of the combined shipment is over $2500
  • What level of restoration disqualifies an item as antique
  • Documentation requirements when your shipment is a combination of antiques and other goods.
  • Knowledge of protected cultural property statutes and government certifications required
  • Import regulations and government documentation of architectural, ethnological or cultural items that are on a private or public museum’s inventory
  • Understanding of the US Value Publications detailing the customs regulations
  • Separate custom regulations for artworks, firearms, vehicles, musical instruments and inherited antiques

Our advice? If you are buying a single antique piece or two for personal use, ask your vendor for the documentation certifying your antique is over 100 years old and follow their advice for shipping it to the US, or carrying it home with you in your personal luggage. When importing large shipments of antiques, or antiques for resale, consult an international shipping professional – you’ll save time and money.

FYI: Taxes are state-driven, not federal: which means the amount of tax due on your purchases will vary depending on your chosen destination port. 

AD&CO Logistics - International Art and Antiques Shipping ServicesREQUEST A QUOTE
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Happy Antique Shopping! 

Toma – The Antiques Diva