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  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
KOREA CUSTOMS INFO
« on: March 11, 2011, 08:53:07 am »
What's the duty-free threshold?


The duty-free threshold is 150,000 Korean won (usually around $130 USD) and that includes the shipping fee.

Go here for the current exchange rate employed by Korea Customs:

http://english.customs.go.kr/kcsweb/user.tdf?a=user.exchangerate.ExchangeRateApp&c=1001&mc=ENGLISH_INFORMATION_CUSTOMS

What are the duty and tax rates?

For the most products, 8% customs duties and 10 % value added tax (VAT). However, some goods are liable to special excise taxes and other taxes.

In general, all the household goods (except automobiles, boats, luxury jewelry, second items depending on the situation) are exempt from Customs duties and taxes. In addition, pianos, refrigerators, dryers, ovens or some other household goods are exempt from Customs duties and taxes only once because there's usually only one of those items per household.

However, you need to prove that you are going to live in Korea for more than two years and the goods should be brought into Korea within 6 months of your first arrival. You can't file duty-free applications on brand new products, gifts, professional goods, goods for sale and other goods that aren't household necessities.

Automobiles, airplanes, boats and jewelry (worth more than 1 million won) are charged with regular duties and taxes.


For all the details of Customs duty and tax rates applicable, please refer to the Duties and Taxes in Korea or Simplified Duty Rate at Simplified Clearance on the Korea Customs' web site.

Besides customs duties and taxes, some items require licensing & approval procedures in other government agencies. These include food, alcohol, pets, medicine, and cars.  For details, please read more on importing individual items."


Electronics, books, laptops, clothes/shoes, and bags

Electronics such as cameras, tablets, smartphones, etc. are subject to 20% taxation.

Books are duty free, but audio books (CDs, DVDs, etc.) are subject to 20% taxation.

There is no duty on laptops, but 10% VAT on the CIF value (the price+freight+insurance fee) is charged.

The duty rate on clothes and shoes is 13%, whereas it's 8% on bags.

How are duties calculated?

Let's suppose you ordered clothes (13% duty rate) whose value is $200 USD and the current exchange rate is 1,100 KRW = $1 USD. Let's also suppose the shipping is $10 USD.

Duty fee = (value of products in KRW + shipping in KRW )*duty rate

Duty fee = (200 USD * 1,100 KRW/USD   +  $10 USD*1,100 KRW/USD)*13%  = 30,030

VAT=  (value of products in KRW + shipping in KRW + duty fee)*VAT rate=

VAT = [200 USD*1,100 KRW/USD + $10 USD*1,100 KRW/USD + 30, 030 ]*10% = 26,103

Total fees =  Duty fee + VAT = 30,030 + 26,103 = 56,133 KRW

How do I pay?

Online banking is the probably the easiest and fastest way, but it's also possible to pay by going to your bank or any post office.

How did my  friend order over 200,000 KRW worth of  dietary supplements (or X good) and not get charged a dime?

S/he probably ordered from a Korean company that is aware of customs laws (most, if not all, are). Hence, they probably marked the package as gift and/or deliberately marked the value of the package such that you avoid paying fees.

It's also possible that the goods ordered are exempt from duties and taxes. Or maybe s/he just got lucky!

More Info

http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/main/content/ContentView.do?contentId=CONTENT_ID_000001318&layoutMenuNo=21023

Have a specific question?

Ask Korea Customs directly:

http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/main/qna/QnaList.do?layoutMenuNo=21035
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 10:50:17 pm by Davey »


  • misskris
  • Expert Waygook

    • 558

    • October 08, 2010, 02:46:41 pm
    • seoul
Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 08:55:43 am »
Just a thought....  Can you get the same camera here?  I find that generally that kind of stuff is around the same price

Other than that, Ive got tons of gifts from home before.  Not electronics, mind you,
but new Ugg boots and wrapped stuff for Xmas and I never got charged tax.  They were sent in a seperate box (not original ) with snacks and other small gifts


  • Pants
  • Waygookin

    • 20

    • July 13, 2010, 01:26:56 pm
    • Gimpo
Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 01:21:43 pm »
I'm having the same issue at the moment, Wazure, because it looks like it might be cheaper to buy an iPod in the US and have a friend send it to  me, so I've been doing a little research. The most useful thing I've been able to find so far is this:

"If the total value of the goods (including purchase price plus freight and insurance) does not exceed 150,000 won (about US $120), it could be cleared without paying Customs duties and taxes.

If the total value of the goods exceeds 150,000 won, you need to pay Customs duties, VAT (Value Added Taxes) and special excise taxes & etc.

However, for most industrial products, you will probably pay 8% of Customs duties and 10% of VAT. For all the details of Customs duty and tax rates applicable, you can refer to the Duties and Taxes in Korea of this web-site.

Besides Customs duties and taxes, some items require licensing & approval procedures in other government agencies. The most likely items are food, alcohol, pets, medicine and cars. For details, please read more about importing individual items."

Here's the link to the site if you want to read up some more: http://english.customs.go.kr/


  • ano33
  • Adventurer

    • 50

    • March 09, 2010, 12:13:32 pm
    • Korea
Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 01:28:47 pm »
I bought a lens from America and payed $30 to have it shipped to Korea.  Even with the added shipping cost it was way cheaper than buying it here.  HOWEVER, i am a retard and totally didn't think about customs tax until I got a phone call from the customs people saying my package had just cleared customs and will be delivered the next day and that I would have to pay 70,000 won customs fee.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.  If you are saving a ton of money, have your Mom ship it and pray it clears without fees.  If you are only saving a few thousand won, then just buy it here and save yourself and your mom the hassle.


  • ramackenzie
  • Adventurer

    • 32

    • November 10, 2010, 03:09:49 pm
    • Busan, South Korea
Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 01:46:33 pm »
My mom has sent me numerous "gifts" since I've been here and haven't had to pay any duties or taxes. As long as your mother clearly writes GIFT on the cutoms form you shouldn't have to pay anything even if it is worth more than 150 000 won.


Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 05:11:27 pm »
Don't send it in the original packaging.  I recommend shipping it in with a few other personal items, like clothes, for both padding and camouflage.


  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
Re: Send something through customs as a GIFT?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 09:20:12 am »
THANKS SO MUCH!!! between you all, i think i have a plan now. the camera is about $100 cheaper in the US, so worth it to ship. i will remove it from its box, and have my mother mark as "gift".

Thanks again! happy birthday to me! :) :)


  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 02:21:57 pm »
Hi,

I want to buy a used laptop (refurbished actually) and don't want the Korea/English keyboard, so must get one from the Apple Store online for US customers. However, if I have my mother mail it to me in Korea, how can I avoid high customs taxes and fees? I usually have people mark "gift" on the customs package, but have never imported anything more valuable than $300 worth of stuff. A bit nervous about importing a laptop. Anyone ever done this? Did you get it past customs?

Thanks a bunch  :)


  • mlcarn
  • Adventurer

    • 63

    • September 15, 2010, 03:06:06 pm
    • Seoul
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 02:44:22 pm »
My parents bought and sent me a laptop in October. The Korean customs office held my laptop for over a week until they could call my school a few times and get information about my address, foreigner card number, and everything else. When it was finally delivered I had to pay a $100 import tax in cash only. I'm not sure if there's a way to get it around customs- theyr'e going to see that it's a laptop and swipe it.

You could buy one in Kore and if the Hangeul keyboard characters bother you that much just buy stickers to cover them up.

Or this (just saw it): http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,6692.0.html
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 02:47:12 pm by mlcarn »


  • Koradian
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 443

    • October 08, 2010, 10:29:15 am
    • South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 02:48:34 pm »
I just purchased a new MBP. I did want the English/Korean keyboard so I went through Apple Korea.

Why do the Korean characters bother you?


  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 02:50:16 pm »
Thanks Mlcarn, hmm, $100 isn't terribly bad. What was your laptop valued at? I wonder if it is based on the value of the laptop. It's not only the keyboard in Hangul, it's the operating system. I might have to fiddle with it to switch it to English, so just want to avoid all that since I'm back in the US in 5 months. Unfortunately my current computer is not good enough for my job, so need a laptop soon. Thanks for your help though!


  • Ben-Ja-Meen
  • Veteran

    • 166

    • December 02, 2010, 12:30:36 pm
    • Seoul (Dongdaemun Area)
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 02:53:02 pm »
I bought a Macbook Pro last year on line from a US store.  My parents shipped it to the school.  No customs issues, no taxes, no import fees or anything else.  :)   Even with shipping costs included  it was much cheaper to buy it in the U.S. and have it shipped to Korea.  Really glad I didn't waste a bunch of money buying any Apple product here.   

*Side note:  It was around Christmas time, so maybe customs was overloaded with care packages and overlooked my laptop.  Good luck! 


  • EPSK
  • Veteran

    • 140

    • September 07, 2010, 07:52:55 am
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 02:54:11 pm »
Well having it shipped to your parents then to Korea be careful on the customs declaration form. You WILL have to pay duty if you declare a laptop or something worth over a certain amount.


  • Brit_1
  • Adventurer

    • 56

    • September 29, 2010, 12:49:54 pm
    • South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 02:54:20 pm »
So are you planning on buying a Mac then? I bought a mac from the Korean apple store and I highly recommend it. Aside from the fact that you get a teacher discount of 100'000 Won, the keyboard is not a big issue. Nothing else is in Korean unless you want it to be, and because it is an Apple product if you take it into an apple shop back home they will change the keyboard for you for hardly anything.


  • Koradian
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 443

    • October 08, 2010, 10:29:15 am
    • South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 02:55:11 pm »
I bought a Macbook Pro last year on line from a US store.  My parents shipped it to the school.  No customs issues, no taxes, no import fees or anything else.  :)   Even with shipping costs included  it was much cheaper to buy it in the U.S. and have it shipped to Korea.  Really glad I didn't waste a bunch of money buying any Apple product here.   

*Side note:  It was around Christmas time, so maybe customs was overloaded with care packages and overlooked my laptop.  Good luck!

Lucky! I purchased mine though Apple Korea which worked out around $300 cheaper than going through Apple Canada^^


Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 02:58:09 pm »
I was sent a laptop a couple months back, actually i get alot of packages. just have it shipped to your school, Ive never had to pay any tax:)


  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2011, 03:01:01 pm »
Thanks Koradian.. haha,  ;) the Hangul keyboard bothers me because I'm anal and hate useless things in my sight. I love Hangul, nothing against it! But i'm gone in 5 months and won't return and don't speak Korean. When investing a lot of money, I want things as perfect as possible. Did they give you the option of an English-only keyboard by chance?

Ben-ja-men: Oh really?! That's great! But I wonder why they didn't ask for fees and stuff. Did your parents mark "gift" on the package? How much was the laptop worth? I've actually seen the laptops in Korea as cheaper, although I'm getting a refurbished one, so hard to compare that. Haha, yeah maybe around Christmas they were in the Santa Claus spirit  :D

Brit 1 - omg, your ideas sound pretty good! WOW and a teacher discount too! I should look into that, thanks so much, a keyboard switch is a great idea  :)

EPSK, thanks.. I will be aware of that then.


  • Koradian
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 443

    • October 08, 2010, 10:29:15 am
    • South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2011, 03:06:16 pm »
Thanks Koradian.. haha,  ;) the Hangul keyboard bothers me because I'm anal and hate useless things in my sight. I love Hangul, nothing against it! But i'm gone in 5 months and won't return and don't speak Korean. When investing a lot of money, I want things as perfect as possible. Did they give you the option of an English-only keyboard by chance?


The reasons I went through the Korean store are:

1. I did want the Korean keyboard and this was the only way
2. The $100 discount off the computer with another discount on Apple Care
3. I have been stung with paying customs charges in the past having electronics sent from Canada.

To answer your question, if you are to go through Apple Korea, you are not given the option of an English only keyboard.


  • wazure
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 10, 2010, 01:44:36 pm
    • Incehon, South Korea
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2011, 03:09:04 pm »
Thanks Koradian, that's good to know about the discounts. Plus having a laptop shipped from thousands of miles away makes me nervous. I might give the Koran store a shot.


  • kcjohn7
  • Adventurer

    • 71

    • January 03, 2011, 10:05:18 pm
    • Anseong
Re: How do I avoid customs taxes/fees for an imported laptop?
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2011, 03:10:15 pm »
I know if you are able to get it marked as repair service - or something similar that you don't have to pay taxes or fees on it.  Not sure that you can actually do that when it coming from your parents.  But maybe they could package it separate or something and make it look that way.

Also, just wonder here - but maybe if you have it sent to school it's then thought to be an educational supply and so you'd avoid the fees that way?  My co-teachers always tell me it's better to have everything shipped to the school, but haven't really said why.  Sounds like a lot of people get around fees this way though.