Wednesday, August 22, 2012

U.S. Customs vs Nitch

Bringing Beer from France to U.S. and How customs tries to confuse us 

Technically, there are no limits on how much loot you can bring back into the United States from a trip abroad, but the customs authority does put limits on how much you can bring back for free.

These guys control the flow of alcohol and, thankfully, harmful items from overseas into the U.S.
Clicking the link for "bringing food into the U.S." renders an apology letter from the CBP for having to take things out of your luggage, but at no point tells your exactly what they want to take out or why.
The "don't smuggle me, i could be sick" pdf is, infact, about bird smuggling, not as Nitch would assume, about preventing perverts from entering the us via Japan.

Learning also that the customs taxes are not the same thing as Duty free, which are free some state-like tax, explained here.

Thank you for the guide, it says that cheese is a go, which is essential to my U.S.A from France return. How can I possibly explain France without a healthy helping of cheese?

One liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages may be included in your exemption if:
  • You are 21 years old.
  • It is for your own use or as a gift.
  • It does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.
Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but, as with extra tobacco, you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.
While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, unusual quantities are liable to raise suspicions that you are importing the alcohol for other purposes, such as for resale. CBP officers are authorized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to make on-the-spot determinations that an importation is for commercial purposes, and may require you to obtain a permit to import the alcohol before releasing it to you. If you intend to bring back a substantial quantity of alcohol for your personal use, you should contact the port through which you will be re-entering the country, and make prior arrangements for entering the alcohol into the United States.
Also, you should be aware that state laws might limit the amount of alcohol you can bring in without a license. If you arrive in a state that has limitations on the amount of alcohol you may bring in without a license, that state law will be enforced by CBP, even though it may be more restrictive than federal regulations. We recommend that you check with the state government before you go abroad about their limitations on quantities allowed for personal importation and additional state taxes that might apply.
In brief, for both alcohol and tobacco, the quantities discussed in this booklet as being eligible for duty-free treatment may be included in your $800 or $1,600 exemption, just as any other purchase would be. But unlike other kinds of merchandise, amounts beyond those discussed here as being duty-free are taxed, even if you have not exceeded, or even met, your personal exemption. For example, if your exemption is $800 and you bring back three liters of wine and nothing else, two of those liters will be dutiable. Federal law prohibits shipping alcoholic beverages by mail within the United States.From the CBP which means it's the final word.
Read some forums chatting about alcohol specitifly and
As part of the U.S. free allowance:

b) For persons of 21 years or older; 1 lit of alcoholic beverage (for arrivals from American Samoa, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands, 5 lit not more than 1 lit of which may be acquired elsewhere than on these islands)

And according to another website, it looks like alcohol is taxed at 3% for every $1000.

So, say you bought $500 of liqour. That would only end up being $15 in tax.

From what I'm gathering here I can bring as much as I want of whatever (and i mean of course, whatever is allowed) as long as it is valued under $800?
One liter of alcohol isn't very much though, I'm bringing 10 beers, although they might cost less then 50 euros all together they will be mor ein volume.

In conclusion I found this Michael, who is a german beer lover and a lovely blogger who clearly laid out the rules and regulations although they are vague. 

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