Customs Duties (also called Customs Taxes) are taxes imposed by the Government, specifically the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), levied on products imported into the USA over international borders.
There are three costs associated with customs:
1) Customs Brokerage
Customs clearance needs to be coordinated by a licensed customs broker.
We can include the cost of customs brokerage into your quote, which pays for a licensed customs agent to handle and submit your documentation. That usually costs around $125 (USD), depending on how many commodities you're shipping, and can be included by checking the box for customs brokerage on the search page.
Note: For Express shipments, customs is handled directly with the carrier (ex. DHL, UPS, etc.)
For Express shipments under $800, there are no customs fees. For shipments under $2,000, the carrier can broker customs on your behalf without need of a POA (Power of Attorney).
2) Customs bond
For most shipments you may also be required to purchase a customs bond (if you don’t already have one). This can either be a single-entry bond (SEB) or a continuous bond. The better, more cost-effective option for you will depend on how many times you expect to ship in the next 12 months
The cost of an SEB is dependent on the value of your goods, typically 0.5% of their total worth, with a minimum charge of $50. For shipments arriving by ocean, a customer with a single-entry bond will also need to purchase an ISF (Import Security Filing) bond separately for a flat fee of approximately $75.
A continuous bond typically costs $500 and is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase, encompassing any and all shipments into the US registered to the company holding the bond. No further charges are required.
Therefore, if you are shipping more than five times a year, it may be cheaper long term to purchase a continuous bond, especially as it covers additional bond requirements.
Additionally, many users have reported that single entry bonds are more likely to be inspected at customs, which can incur more charges; less customs holds issues have been reported for continuous bonds.
If you don't already have a customs bond, you can purchase one through Freightos by opting in on the search page.
3) Customs Duty
This is the actual customs tax required by the government.
The cost of customs taxes/duties themselves depends on what goods are being shipped, and are paid to the government via your customs broker only once the goods arrive to port. It therefore cannot be included in the quote upfront.
However, you can get an idea of what the cost will be using a duties calculator.