Received letter from Zoll. Personal belongings

7 posts in this topic

Hope to get some support and help since I arrived to Germany 2 months ago and know nothing of German language. 

 

I'm NOT a EU national and been living in Japan for 12 years until Jan 2020. On Jan 20th, I sent packages (to myself) from JP to DE (Munich) by SurfaceMail.

I moved to Munich 2 months ago and today I received the Zollamt letter about tax/customs. They've asked for receipts or proof of purchase. I have sent personal belongings used (over 2 years) in Japan: used clothes, souvenir cutlery, son's LEGOs and books. All this is mentioned on the shipping label and set price under €45. I don't have any receipt since they were mostly bought a long time ago

I have my Anmeldung, passport, proof of resigning my job in Japan and work contract from German company. 

Do I have to take something else to the office to proof they're my personal effects and don't pay any tax/customs on them? 

I'll appreciate any input or comment on this. 

 

Thanks a lot in advance! 

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I brought a container of stuff to Germany well after I moved here (second shipment of household goods).  I got a similar letter, because the Zollamt apparently questioned whether I was bringing those items for resale or commercial purposes.  I replied (in English) that the items were household goods, with an explanation as to why I brought them, and why they did not come with the first shipment of my household goods.

 

That was the end of it.

 

The expectation from Zollamt is that everything you own comes in one big shipment.  That isn't always how it works.

 

I suggest you write a letter explaining what the items are, and why you sent them separately.  You will likely end up with the same result as me - no issues.

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I mailed some stuff too when I moved here.  Some came through but my paintings got stuck in customs.  All I had to do was open the box and show them.  Told them they were painted by my mom and that she's not a world famous artist although she could do some neat landscapes.  That was it and I got to take them home.

 

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Space Cowboy, LeonG, thanks a lot for your input.
I am just worried that they will charge me anything for my son's LEGOs since he's such a fan of them. I sent them since they were quite heavy and took much space. Also he has some figurines of Japanese characters that he collected over a long time.

Everything is clearly used (don't even have the boxes for LEGOs/figurines) and I believe there's no profitable merchandise there.

I just wanted also to make sure it's fine to go without any receipts/invoices (since I don't have any) and just try to prove you moved to Germany from Japan (resignation letter from JPnese company, work contract for German Company, Anmeldung & Passport with Blue Card visa for Germany).
Is there anything else I should prepare or say to the people in the Zollamt?
I'll appreciate any input you may have.

Thanks a bunch!

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They usually just want to do a visual inspection. They've surely developed a knack for identifying attempted smugglers over the years, and your stuff probably won't fit the profile.

 

If the stuff is obviously worn, they'll waive it through, especially if you have documentation of your move.

 

The key word is "Übersiedlungsgut", although in my experience at least one of the guys at the office will usually speak pretty good English.

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El Jeffo, thanks for the info! 

Certainly I've called the office a few minutes ago and they redirected me to a English-speaking person. He said I'd need to go and open the package. If there's something new or "of value" (not sure how to determine), they'll charge tax. If not, I can take it.

I'll definitely take all necessary paperwork (which is candy for german bureaucrats, IMHO) and be sure to mention the "Übersiedlungsgut". 

I think the most problematic would be to actually "take back" the 4 packages since they're quite large and pretty heavy and I don't have a car (yet). I hope there are taxis and nobody steal those packages on my way out!

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UPDATES 19.03. Today I went to the Zollamt and I was greeted to pickup my packages in the side counter. Then, they asked me to sit in front of a desk person. I looked at the other people talking to a different desk person and they were having big problems, some regretted and some angry. Maybe it was my luck that I got a super friendly, nice (in German terms) desk person who just ask me simple questions (He spoke English!):

- You came from Japan to Germany? When did you move to Germany? How long did you live in Japan?
- Did you sent any valuable items like : iPod, iPhones, designer bags? Did you send food, alcohol, tobacco, plants?

- Will you please open the package (1 of 4) and show me what's inside?

He then asked my Anmeldung & my passport. Took copies of them and return them to me.

As I opened the package, I realized that was the one with most "valuable" items: 4 board games, 3 LEGO sets (Star Wars, LoTR, Simpsons) and a pack with my long not-worn watches (SEIKO, LONGINES, TAG HEUER, FOSSIL). I was so worried that he would try to take tax from those items. Instead, he just asked me: Please put these watches as description on the form , but since they are yours, don't sell them at least for 1 year. I responded: I wouldn't sell them for any reason, they're mine.

And that was it!

He asked me to fill out a form (It was the 0350, if I'm not mistaken) but very simplistic and detailed (as Germans like). 

The best of all, I came by the subway, and was planning to call an Uber, but the guy told me: I can call a taxi for you, if you like.

I was so thankful and I accepted, since I believe a Taxi is safer then Uber (in really minor quantities, but still).

All in all my experience was 9/10. I wish I had known about the 0350 form that you can fill out in advance, but it was just 10 minutes writing same stuff in 3 copies.


I hope you have same or better experiences at the Zollamt, hopefully in the same situation as mine.

Best!

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