View Full Version : Customs Form 5106
I'm in the process of buying an instrument from a Canadian luthier, and he's sent me a Customs Form that apparently needs to be filled out for the Treasury Department. It has an area for my SSN. Is this normal? Anyone else have to fill one of these out?
I didn't provide Brian Dean with mine when I took delivery of my mandolin from Canada earlier this year. Have your luthier double check with customs. I did ultimately pay an import fee but I never gave out my info to any person or agency. I don't think it sounds scammy, rather mistaken.
Our treasury department, or theirs?
Ours. You can see the form here (http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/forms/). I suppose a call to US Customs might be in order...
Re: Import duty - didn't NAFTA make it so we don't have to pay a duty?
I still paid a duty on my Labraid after it arrived. Severl weeks later I got a bill.
You won't have to pay any duty as long as the mandolin was built in North America.
When I export a mandolin from Canada to U.S.A. I use form 7523 but that is because I drive it across the border myself to avoid brokerage fees.
It costs me $11 payable to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. This is a paperwork fee only.
I am not familiar with form 5106
The biggest "suprise" cost that you might incur might be the fee from the "broker".
The broker is usually the shipper, such as UPS, or Fedex or whoever the shipper is.
Sometimes these "brokers" fees are very high.
I can't remember which of them are reasonable and which are gouging.
Don't confuse the brokers fees with duty or taxes because they are not.
They are simply a fee that the shipper charges to broker the deal.
The shipper keeps all of this money except for possibly the $11 paperwork fee that goes to the U.S. government.
Check with your Canadian luthier,,,, he/she should know the scoop on this since he/she has probably done it several times before.
Jamie, I suspect that your bill was not "duty" payable to the U.S. government.
I think it was a brokerage fee payable to the shipper?
You're right. It was the Brokerage fee.
That form appears to be for an importer who intends to resell whatever is imported. My strong guess is that it's not the right form for you to have to complete in order to purchase a mandolin.
Yeah,,, you have to watch out for those shipper/ brokers,,, some of them charge outragious fees.
Some of them will gouge you hundreds of dollars for what is really just a simple transaction of filling out just one form.
The worst of these, rely on the fact that you are not familiar with the system, and then hammer you later with a huge bill.
Just like everything else, you need to shop around for the best deal and get it in writing before you hand them the package.
Jim Broyles, I hesitate to meddle when I truly don't know in this case, but, I think you might be right about that being the wrong form.
When I take a mandolin across the border into the U.S. they don't even ask me who I am sending it to.
They don't care who the purchaser is. They just want the paperwork and the $11.
Maybe that is because in my case I am not a dealer or builder just a hobbyist who sells the occasional mandolin to another individual.
Maybe if you are purchasing from a commercial enterprise it is handled differently?
I would make a phone call to Homeland Security (Customs) and get some real information before sending my personal info around.
Sending your personal info around just to buy a mandolin seems a little scary to me.
Here's what the luthier (Michael Dunn) pointed me to when I asked about this form. It's from the US Customs website linked above:
Why is an overseas supplier requesting my social security number - SSN, EIN (tax identification number), importer or IRS number?
When goods enter the United States from overseas, it is considered an importation and must be cleared by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
When an individual or company purchases goods from an overseas supplier, CBP considers them the ultimate importer. The ultimate importer can clear the goods or have a broker clear them on their behalf.
If the supplier hires a carrier that provides door to door service, the carrier service usually has brokers in their supply chain to clear the goods on behalf of the ultimate importer. If a formal entry is required, CBP regulations require the broker to put the ultimate importer's identification number on the Entry Summary CBP Form 7501. The ultimate imorter's identification number is either the EIN/tax identification number assigned by the IRS or the importer's social security number. A formal entry is usually required for commercial importations valued at $2,000 or more.
Some commodities subject to quota or other agency requirements when imported for commercial (non personal) purposes require a formal entry no matter what the value (i.e., textiles).
If the goods are cleared informally, the Entry Summary CBP Form 7501, bond and identification number are not required. Goods are usually cleared informally when they are for personal use, under $2000 in value, and are not in commercial quantities. However, because there are no guarantees that an entry will be cleared informally, brokers find it helpful to have the ultimate importer's identification number just in case.
Because many foreign merchants are aware that CBP requires an identification number for the ulitimate importer for formal entries, they will often request the purchaser's social security number to include on export documents that the broker will subsequently rely on to prepare the CBP entry.
It should be noted that paperwork for goods sent by courier service does ask for an importer number, whether the import qualifies for an informal entry or not. Courier services file CBP entries electronically, and the software system they use requires an identification number to be provided for the recipient of the goods. If an identification number is not provided, the courier service is required to file a paper entry, which is extremely time-consuming and in the world of "Overnight Delivery" not practical. The end result is that most courier services will not accept packages for international delivery to U.S. residents if a recipient's identification number is not provided by the shipper. Goods sent thru the international postal service that are under $2000 in value generally do not require an importer number to be cleared through CBP.
So I'm not quite sure if this is required because the courier will need it when they cross the border, or because of the instrument's value. Michael says it's because of the value. The Customs answer is not quite clear if it's required for personal purchases worth more than $2K (it talks about all commercial purchases worth more and some worth less).
Jamie, how was your Labraid shipped?
When I received my new instrument from Brian Dean in October, the shipper (UPS) called me for my taxpayer ID#. However, I'm pretty sure that Brian filled out the required forms.