Compliant shipments entering the U.S. with a retail value of less than $800 USD, are exempt from taxes and duties. However, when shipping internationally, duties and/or taxes may apply to your shipments depending on any of the following:

  • The destination country
  • The value of the shipment
  • The contents of the shipment

Content can refer to both the items contained in the shipment as well as the package content type e.g. Merchandise, Gifts, Returned Goods, etc.* It is important to clearly and accurately declare all shipment contents and values to ensure smooth customs processing.

De Minimis (Import Limits)

As each country has its own specific import limits (i.e. de minimis), you are responsible for knowing which limits apply to your shipments before you drop off with us. For example, shipments to Australia that exceed the $1000 AUD de minimis may require formal customs clearance which is subject to additional fees. You may want to reference this list of international duty limits before you ship.

Paying Taxes and Duties

If duties and taxes are applied to your shipment, the recipient may be required to pay them either before or upon delivery. Additionally, if taxes and duties do apply, delivery times may be impacted as the shipment may require extra time to clear customs in the destination country. It helps to manage your international customer's expectations as international shipments can have longer delivery times due to customs clearance. 

For most postage options, these fees cannot be paid in advance and you may need to inform your recipient to make the appropriate arrangements. These postage options are commonly referred to as delivered duty unpaid (DDU) services. In the event that the recipient refuses to pay the outstanding duties, you as the shipper are responsible for any customs fees that your shipments incur.

However, for some countries like those in the European Union (EU) and Great Britain, you may be required to include specific customs information such as a tax reference number to show that the appropriate taxes and duties have been paid in advance. To avoid your customers having to pay these fees twice, there is another option for international postage, delivered duty paid (DDP). Our Chit Chats International Tracked service offers DDP postage to select destinations to speed up delivery times and help make the journey through customs smoother for your shipments.

Customs Tax Reference Numbers

Businesses selling to customers in the UK and EU respectively must collect and remit value-added tax (VAT) at the point of purchase. You must include an Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) number for your EU shipments and you may need to make changes to your sales channels or online stores. Learn more.

If you have an IOSS or VAT number simply provide this in the customs tax reference number field when creating your shipment. IOSS numbers must follow the correct formatting.

  • Maximum of 20 characters
  • Cannot contain any special characters (i.e. -, !, #)
  • Not necessary to include the words 'IOSS' or 'VAT'

The IOSS VAT Identification Number contains a total of twelve (12) alphanumeric characters in the following format of IMxxxyyyyyyz (reference USPS IOSS FAQ). Examples of EU VAT formats can be found here.

If the incorrect format is provided this can impact the delivery of your shipment (potential delays,  the recipient may be asked to pay duties, shipment may be undeliverable). 

Shipments that are charged value added tax (VAT) requiring an IOSS or VAT number must not exceed the following shipment retail value requirements:

  • Addresses in the UK: $220 CAD *
  • Addresses in the EU: $215 CAD *

*Subject to fluctuations in currency exchange.

If you are shipping a package with a retail value exceeding this amount, please select a DDU postage option.

A failure to provide an IOSS number may result in additional customs fees such as your customer paying the VAT for their shipment twice. It can also result in delays and the potential for non-delivery meaning your shipment may either be returned to sender or destroyed.