Monday, May 9, 2011

Recently I got a package from USA. This was hobby stuff that I mail-ordered and had delivered. Like I've done quite a few times in Iceland. It was about 300 USD worth, including shipping. The shipping was similarly priced no matter if I specified Iceland or The Netherlands as destination. Which is interesting since Iceland is about midway between USA and The Netherlands. Even more interesting when you keep in mind that almost all mail from USA that goes to Iceland starts its journey by taking a detour through The Netherlands to Germany. At least that's how it was few years ago. But the shipping is not the important part. When the package arrived it came with a invoice for The Netherlands VAT charge, about 45 Euros. To pay on delivery. In Iceland I always have to pick up the package at Customs and show them an invoice from the company that sold the package, which they reserve the right to reject and charge me customs tax and VAT as if the package was worth much more. Iceland customs also charge over 20 Euros for handling of the package or more accurately, handling of paperwork and a sort of service fee for checking what your package contains. In this instance they would also have charged me 10% custom tax and 25.5% VAT. All together over 100 Euros. So shopping from USA is about twice as expensive in Iceland as it is in The Netherlands.

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