International sales

On my web page, I say I will ship to Canada, but haven’t had a buyer from Canada yet. I just realized that I have no idea how that would work as far as duty, taxes, or reporting it as a sale to the Canadian government. I believe there is a fine arts exemption for duty fees, but I’ve also read that a 5% federal tax applies. Do any of you ship internationally? Is there a good source for information on this? What about other countries? (I’m in the US)

Hi Heather! These are good questions. A few years ago I sold a painting to a man in England, and was shocked by the VAD, value added tax, or something. It was $300 for a medium sized painting! Like you I have it that I’ll ship there but I’ve been thinking maybe I’d change that. I don’t know for sure, but I believe they are considered part of Britain and so would probably also charge that tax. The shipping, quite apart from the tax, was also extremely high.

Hi Heather! I’m in Spain and most of my sales are to the US where there is no extra tax paid by the collector, but I do know that if you ship anything from the US to Spain, there will be duty fees and a tax applied, which all went into effect during the pandemic. Previously this did not occur.

I’m in the US and sell overseas all the time. Yes there is an exemption form called “Works of Art, Declaration of Authenticity” and it is for art less than 50 years old. I never pay customs. You also need a Customs Declaration form that you can get at USPS or probably a lot of places.
USPS is the cheapest way to ship but you never know how long it will take to arrive at the destination.


I highly do not recommend shipping internationally right now. Maybe UK and maybe Canada only. USPS suspended delivery in many countries due to covid. And I have one package, sitting somewhere in Midwest, for 2 months now since I’ve tried to ship it to Australia. I refunded to customer, but no painting, no refund from usps so far. Little to no help from usps, very frustrated :frowning:

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Thanks so much for the information, everyone! I’m going to inquire at the post office about the Customs Declaration form and go from there. At this point my website only states that I will ship to Canada. I have family in Canada so I am somewhat familiar with the cost to ship there and have hopefully set my shipping price accordingly. I think I will limit it to Canada for know. I really appreciate all of your input!

What can you share about shipping to Canada?

Me? I’ve shipped there several times. It was all ok. If the package has some thickness and it’s not a letter but parcel - be sure to fill out custom form

Hi Melinda, I’d love to know more about how you avoid the customs. Is the form at the USPS, or…? Thanks so much.

May I respond ? You can’t avoid the custom. The receiver usually pays taxes when they receive the package. The only way to avoid custom and not to fill out custom form - send something thin and flexible like letter, might work with work on paper. Otherwise if your package qualifies like parcel - you must fill custom form.

That’s awful, Julia! Thanks for the heads-up, hope you see some positive results soon. :four_leaf_clover: :art:

It’s a US gov form. Doesn’t look like I can attach it here so here is a link to the PDF:

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