Understanding Duties & Taxes


Importing to Hong Kong from overseas

Hong Kong is a free port. Generally, many goods are not required to pay customs duties when they are imported into Hong Kong

Exporting to overseas from Hong Kong

When you send from Hong Kong to other countries, your parcel might need to collect certain taxes in accordance with the requirements of the local customs legislation of the receiving country in order to be successfully delivered. No matter which country in the world you are sending to, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, etc., the following are the basics about the customs and tax regulations you should know.

Customs declarations

Whether you are using a personal account or shipping for business purposes, filling out customs declarations is a must for all international parcels.  This is a document that provides customs with information about the parcel(s) you are sending.  It includes:

  • Reasons for export; e.g. business use, gift, return items
  • Country of origin
  • Info and contact of the sender and recipient
  • Item descriptions; e.g. 1 blue t-shirt, 2 pairs of blue socks
  • The value of each item sent

The information you fill in on the customs declaration section helps customs calculate what type of duties and taxes will be applied so it’s essential that the information you provided is accurate.

How to fill in customs declarations when shipping with Spaceship?

  • Booking through Spaceship, simply fill in a few boxes on our platform and we do all the paperwork for you
  • During our booking process, fill in the item category, item declaration details and value of the item(s) 
  • If you are not sure about what to do, please contact our Customer Experience Specialist online for help!

How to calculate duties/tax/tariffs?

  •  No matter what your parcel content is, your parcel must go through the customs, and the customs of the destination country will decide whether you need to pay taxes and the amount of taxes to be paid;
  • As all tariff details are determined by the customs of the destination country, the details of the payable tax amount need to be confirmed after the parcel arrives to the destination country
  • Customs usually determines the amount of tax and customs clearance procedures according to aspects like the origin of the shipment, the value of the items, the purpose of shipment, the type and quantity of the goods etc.
  • For parcels that the local customs decide to be tax-payable, they must pay the customs duties before they can be released

Should the duties be paid by the sender or the recipient?

  •  All parcels sent through Spaceship are automatically sent Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU), meaning the duty will need to be paid by the recipient when it arrives in the destination country.  
  • After the parcel has arrived at the destination country, if you refuse to pay the tax, the parcel then will not be able to pass through the customs clearance successfully, you then will need to pay extra charges and send the parcel back to the sender

Why do I still need to pay tax even I declare the parcel as gift?

  • When declaring the parcel content, avoid using generic terms like ‘clothing’, personal belongings’ or ‘gift’.  List every item, e.g. 1 x red t-shirt, 2 x jumpers
  • Whether the purpose of the parcel is a gift or not, it must go through the import and customs clearance progress determined by the customs law of the receiving country
  • Tax amount is determined by a variety of factors, and is totally calculated by the customs department of the destination country

Why do I still need to pay tax even I declare the parcel as personal use?

  • Each country has their own customs regulations, such as list of prohibited goods, required certificates and legal documents.  Even if the shipment is marked for personal use, customs will still re-examine your parcel according to local tax and customs standards, so some countries will still levy taxes on parcels that marked as personal use

What should I do if my package is held in customs?

  • If you see your parcel has been held in customs on our tracking system, contact the recipient to ensure the customs has contacted them; if they haven’t, get in touch with Spaceship Specialist online and we can contact the courier to resolve this
  • Delays can occur in customs sometimes and nothing can be done until the customs of the destination country have taken the time to process your parcel
  • As a courier booking platform, we do not have direct contact with customs, but we are happy to liaise with the courier service provider you booked through Spaceship to resolve any issues

Each country has their own customs regulations, such as list of prohibited goods, required certificates and legal documents. Let Spaceship logistics specialists solve all your shipping concerns

If you have any questions about the contents of your shipment, please call Spaceship Customer Service Specialist online

If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Success Specialist on Spaceship.hk

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