Here it is people !
It’s official, BundleTech are now the proud holders of, what we understand to be, the first legally binding tariff ruling (BTI) confirming the EU classification of the Apple iPad. What’s more, we’ve successfully secured the more favorable code, and are delighted to announce that the iPad may therefore be imported duty free into the EU (don’t forget, Import VAT is due at the standard rate applicable in the country of import - sadly there’s nothing we can do to influence that !).
With all the deliberation and sleepless nights, it’s been a challenging few weeks, however we are very pleased with the outcome, and our thanks go out to the Customs Tariff Classification team in Southend for processing our ruling application with such expedience.
Indeed, Friday 12th March marks the first day that the WiFi version of Apple’s “magical and revolutionary product” is available to pre-order from their on-line store in readiness for the 3rd April launch, so it’s particularly pleasing to have beaten the clock and have everything in place. Our categories database has been updated with the iPad tax rates – we’re ready….bring it on !
More exciting information will follow shortly, so stay tuned.
It has often struck me that men treat watches, rather like cars, as something of a status symbol. I have sat in meetings many a time and watched the guy opposite hoist up a shirtsleeve to reveal a high quality timepiece, making sure to leave it on display just long enough for others around the table to catch an admiring glimpse.
There is no doubt that the watches of today are impressive, particularly when compared with the one and only watch I have ever owned: a Disney themed Timex I received as a Christmas present, circa 1975. Accurate to within about an hour a day and with standard features including a strap that broke on a weekly basis, the picture of ‘Mickey Mouse’ on the dial seemed somehow appropriate.
Technological advances have meant that today even watches at the low end of the market are capable of extraordinary levels of accuracy. So much so that manufacturers are constantly looking for new angles to entice prospective buyers.
If you are looking for something really different, check out the ‘Accurate’ from Mr Jones Watches, available through US watch supplier Watchismo.
The watch face features an hour hand that reads “remember” and a minute hand that reads “you will die”, whilst the reflective dial reminds the wearer exactly who the message is aimed at; an ideal gift for a friend or family member in need of some motivation.
For those looking for something different at the top end of the market, why not check out the Bozeman Watch Company? The US may not have a great tradition in watch making, but this Montana based outfit certainly produce some high quality timepieces. And the great thing is you can be fairly sure that none of your mates will already have one.
All of which brings us on to the subject of import taxes. In this regard individuals looking to make a purchase from the top end of the market can benefit from the unique method for calculating EU duty that applies only to watches.
Like other products, watches are subject to an ad valorem rate of duty, which is 4.5%. Unlike other products, the rate is subject to minimum and maximum amounts per watch (0.30 Euro and 0.80 Euro respectively).
This effectively means that the duty payable on a single watch, irrespective of value, cannot exceed 0.80 Euro (app. £0.70), as per the below calculation:
1 x Rolex watch @ £5,000 + freight/insurance @ £50
Total value for duty £5,050 x 4.5% = £227.25
As this exceeds the maximum payable per watch, duty defaults to 0.80 Euro. With the minimum duty threshold of 10 Euro, this in turn defaults to nil. That’s right, zero import duty on your Rolex!
So, even with VAT payable at the standard rate applicable in the country of import, the favourable duty position might just tempt you to get surfing and start looking for your dream timepiece abroad.
We’ve continued to work hard behind the scenes to ascertain the duty rate on the iPad and we’re edging ever closer to a definitive (and hopefully favourable) outcome. In our previous post, we reported that there are potentially two tariff classifications in focus; the one we want is duty free; the one we don’t want attracts 3.7% duty.
Our ‘tech’ specialist contact at Customs has returned to work and following numerous telephone calls and email exchanges, it appears he may have come to the same conclusion as me regarding the correct tariff classification for the iPad – good man !
As things stand, we only have his ‘non legally binding’ verbal opinion and, since we pride ourselves on the accuracy of tax information we provide to our customers, that isn’t good enough for us here at Bundle Tech. Consequently, we’ve chosen to opt for the belt and braces approach – no one’s going to be caught with their ‘trousers down’ under our watch!
In circumstances where the classification of a product is contentious, or subjective, we take steps to ensure legal certainty and this can only be achieved by way of a written application to Customs for a tariff classification ruling; or to give it its’ official name, Binding Tariff Information (BTI). This document confirms the Customs tariff classification of a product and is legally binding across all 27 EU member states for a period of 6 years.
The application provides an opportunity to present an argument in favour of the classification we believe to be correct; clearly, we aim to secure the duty free classification if at all possible, and we believe we’ve put together a case that can achieve this.
Customs at Southend have confirmed receipt of our application and, from what we can gather, it could well be the first ruling application for the iPad to be lodged in the EU. It’s all exciting stuff and we’re now waiting with baited breath for the final (and official) outcome. While the Customs charter allows them up to 45 days to respond to the application, we would typically expect the ruling to be issued within 2 to 3 weeks.
So, regrettably we have to report a further delay before we can finally shout from the roof tops. However, we should certainly be ready for the US launch date, and it may well be worth the wait !
Hope to have news soon, watch this space.
It has amusingly been heralded by some commentators as the most eagerly awaited tablet since Moses disappeared up Mount Sinai. Following months of intense speculation, Apple’s Steve Jobs finally unveiled their latest creation, the iPad, at an event in San Francisco a fortnight ago, describing it as a ‘third category’ device somewhere between a smart phone and a laptop.
Boasting a 9.7” LED backlit IPS display and ‘remarkably precise’ multi touch screen, this new generation gizmo weighs just over half a kilo and is an incredible 1.25 cm’s thick – it has the appearance of an oversized iPhone, but it promises to be something of a revelation.
The Wi Fi version will be available for shipping in the U.S. late march, whilst the 3G model is expected to be released sometime in April. With prices ranging from US$ 499 for the WiFi model with 16Gb of flash memory to US$ 829 for 64Gb of storage and ability to connect via a 3G mobile signal on any network, they’re likely to sell like hot cakes.
It has been mooted that international price information won’t be available until either June or July, so, if like me, you want one as soon as they become available in the US, you’re going to want to know how much import tax you’ll have to pay, right ?
My aim this week was to nail down where the iPad is classified within the Customs tariff so I could reveal how much duty it would attract, and add it to our product categories section in readiness for the release date. Alas, no luck as yet, in fact it has proved to be a rather frustrating experience.
Unfortunately, the Customs Tariff was written back in the 1950’s, in the days when an inside toilet was considered the height of luxury, and little has been done to bring it into the 21st Century. If only it had been written by Nostradamus, I mused this week, he would have had the foresight to include products at the cutting edge of technology.
We have some great contacts within the Customs tariff classification section in Southend, but when technologically innovative items come onto the market, there’s always plenty of head scratching in that corner of Essex. All this has been compounded by the fact that their ‘tech’ specialist is currently on holiday, so there’ll be a short delay before we can announce the duty rate that will apply.
The one thing I can confirm at this stage is that UK import VAT will apply at 17.5%. In the meantime, after much deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down to two possible classifications for the iPad, and all hinges on whether the it can be considered ‘freely programmable’; if we can tick this box and convince the doting father at Customs, everyone’s a winner (except perhaps Her Majesty); classification will fall to the heading for laptop computers - duty free.
If all else fails, the worst case scenario is a duty rate of a mere 3.7% - hardly a show stopper for one of the most talked about devices on the net.
Watch this space, will get back to you with the final rate next week