By: James | April 01, 2016

January 9, 2017 Update


I don't know why, but it's still possible to order from iHerb tax-free if you choose SF Express for delivery and the total tax is under 50 yuan (using the old tax calculation system). I just made this order today and it's tax-free with free shipping using SF Express. It's not as easy as before to get both free shipping and no tax because the tax rates have changed. Most items are taxed at 15% now instead of 10% which means you need to make your order over $40 for free shipping but less than ~ $47 (depending on USD/CNY FOREX rate). If you have trouble getting the right items in your cart for both free shipping and tax-free then you can order over $20 and the shipping is only $4.


Here are the new tax rates for personal online shopping.

China online shopping tax rates

I read some very bad news this morning. This news is worse for me than the VPN crackdown of last month


Starting from April 8 China is changing the way imported personal packages are taxed when purchased online via e-commerce websites. This means no more tax free imports for your online shopping from iHerb, Amazon USA, etc. Under the current system packages purchased online and sent directly to consumers in China are assessed a "parcel tax" instead of regular import taxes and consumption taxes. The parcel tax is between 10% to 50% depending on the product category (most products are 10%). If the total parcel tax is below 50 yuan then it's waived. That means you can order up to 500 yuan (for 10% parcel tax category goods) and important your package tax free. To avoid tax all you have to do it split your orders into smaller orders so no single package incurs a parcel tax over 50 yuan. I have been doing this for years and you can see see some of my favorite iHerb shopping carts here that are eligible for free shipping and free of import tax (parcel tax).


Well it looks like the golden days of shipping packages to China from overseas online shopping websites are over. The Ministry of Finance has announced last week that starting from April 8, 2016 goods sent directly to consumers from overseas will be treated as regular imports and subject to regular import duties and value added consumption taxes. They say this is to even the playing field between domestic and foreign products. This is actually true because when you buy anything in China it is subject to value added consumption tax.


I don't know what will happen if I order something today and the package doesn't clear customs until after April 8. As of now the iHerb website has not been updated and it still calculates tax according to the current parcel tax formula if shipping by SF Express (Shipping by China UCS does not calculate the tax in advance, the tax is assessed when your package arrives). 


I'm going to make a few orders today and try to get my packages imported tax free under the current parcel tax system. It so happens that iHerb is running a special this week for an additional 20% off certain brands including Vega, the maker of my favorite nutritional shake.


If you haven't tried iHerb yet then there is no better time than today to make an order and try to get your package tax free before the new changes are in effect. Don't forget to use my promotion code ITU171 and get USD $5 off your first order!


If you want to buy something from Amazon USA tax free then use this link and you will only see items eligible for international shipping. If your package is not too heavy the shipping rates are very reasonable.


Tips and general information for shopping on iHerb


My iHerb favorites - my actual shopping carts which are all eligible for free shipping and tax free (before April 8, 2016)


Tips and general information for shopping on Amazon USA


Sources for news about the change in import tax policy:


http://english.caixin.com/2016-03-28/100925526.html

http://atimes.com/2016/03/china-to-impose-new-tax-on-imported-e-commerce/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-tax-on-overseas-purchases-set-to-kick-in-1459439096



Category: iHerb 

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Comments:

Ive

Posted on : January 13, 2017

James, thank you a lot!


James

Posted on : January 12, 2017

@Ive. You need to send a photo of your passport or ID card when you make your first order. It's required by China customs for import customs clearance. After your first order, it will be saved in their system, you don't need to upload it again.


Ive

Posted on : January 12, 2017

James, when I made an order, they asked my Chinese ID. And after a while they sent a message asking to send them a photo of my Chinese ID! Why? Do they always ask for a photo of ID? I thought they might call and confirm the actual ID number, but why do they need a photo?


James

Posted on : January 09, 2017

@Ive If you choose an item that cannot be delivered to China then you will get an error message when you check out. If you can check out successfully then your items can be sent to China.


Ive

Posted on : January 09, 2017

James, thank you! I tried to split my order into smaller orders, but because I buy only cosmetics and the tax is high, it is not convenient at all, because then I cannot put in my cart more then 1 or 2 goods. Well, for now I decided to pay the tax (because I really need my cosmetics as soon as possible)). But there is a thing.. I have also read that some ingridients in cosmetics are forbidden. And if you choose SF Express, it is even stricter. Is it true? If there is something that cannot be delivered to China, will someone contact me and inform me? What to do in this case?


James

Posted on : January 08, 2017

@Ive Split your orders into smaller orders and use SF Express. If the total tax owing for each order is under 50 yuan then you don&#39;t need to pay the tax. Just make sure it shows $0.00 for tax when you choose SF Express. If it doesn&#39;t say $0.00 then remove items from your cart until it&#39;s $0.00.<br /> <br /> Customs doesn&#39;t check every package, they just do it randomly. If you choose SF Express, the customs clearance is done in advance so you can get the goods faster.


Ive

Posted on : January 08, 2017

Hello!:) Thank you very much for the information! I&#39;m living in China now and I really need to make an order from iherb! But the tax is really high! I chose goods in total about 830 yuan, but the tax is 250 yuan! I&#39;m also very interested in the actual procedure of goods delivery. After purchasing online, the goods are sent to the custom-house, where their compositions are checked, right? I mean, how and who actually checks the compositions of the goods? Usually when I receive goods from iherb, they are properly wrapped with some polyethylene. So, does it mean that custom-house stuff unwrap each of my goods and check it?


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