The government of Norway recently announced changes to the assessment of Value Added Tax (VAT) and customs duties/taxes/fees on low value goods imported into the country effective in 2020.  Low value is defined as below 3000 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $339.00).  Under the new regulations, the exemption of VAT and customs duties/taxes/fees for low value goods sent from foreign sellers to consumers in Norway (de minimus threshold) is being eliminated in two stages - January 1 and April 1.  The intent is to charge VAT on all goods, regardless of value, but to no longer charge customs duties/taxes/fees on low value items.  Previously, goods from abroad were not assessed if valued at less than 350 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $39.00) including postage/shipping costs and insurance.

Following is the implementation schedule:

  • January 1, 2020:  The exemption on customs duties/taxes/fees for low value goods (goods with a value below 350 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $39.00) was eliminated for foodstuffs and dietary supplements.  In addition, VAT was introduced on such goods.  All charges on such goods imported through the international postal channel are paid by the addressee.
  • April 1, 2020:  The exemption for all other goods valued below 350 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $39.00) will be eliminated.  VAT will be introduced on such goods and paid by the sellers through a process similar to those recently established by Australia and New Zealand.  However, customs duties/taxes/fees will no longer be charged on such goods when VAT is paid through the newly established VAT payment process.  This process, called VOEC (VAT On E-Commerce), will be required for sellers and online marketplaces with annual sales of 50,000 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $5,600.00) to Norwegian consumers.  Under VOEC, companies will register with the Norwegian Tax Administration and remit the collected VAT on a quarterly basis. The VOEC registration number will be required to be printed on postal customs forms/address labels.

Please note the Norwegian Tax Administration is currently in the process of establishing the VOEC registration system.  It is expected to be operational by February 1, 2020.  Additional details will be provided as they are received.

Companies with annual sales of less than 50,000 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $5,600.00) to Norwegian consumers will not be required to register under the VOEC system but can do so on an optional basis.  It may be desirable for such companies to exercise this option since goods sent to Norway by VOEC unregistered companies will be subject to VAT in addition to customs duties/taxes/fees which will be paid by the addressee.

It should also be noted that goods with a value above 3000 Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD $339.00) are not eligible to be entered under the VOEC system.  Such items will be subject to VAT in addition to customs duties/taxes/fees which will be paid by the addressee. 

Please see the following references for further information:

The Postal Service has updated its international inquiries online application to better serve customers.

U.S. customers who are registered usps.com users may now file an international inquiry regarding their lost or damaged packages. If the result of the inquiry is claim-eligible, an international claim will be initiated automatically.

The update changed the international inquiries online application on usps.com so it requires users to upload their “evidence of mailing” and “evidence of value” documentation during the inquiry process.

This improves the process for customers because they won’t have to wait to receive an international claims packet via mail, to be completed and returned with supporting documentation.

Additionally, customers may check the status of their inquiries and claims online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We all know that price in this industry is paramount to choosing a vendor partner.  But we also think that it's the other things that set IMS apart from our competitors!  We like to think that we take "good service" to a completely different level.  Here's some unique advantages we provide our customers .....

  • Unparalleled Customer Service.  Only our customers truly know the experience, but I can guarantee that you can talk to a real person any time (normal business hours).  We go to great lengths to have a quote or answer to a question within an hour or two - if not immediately.  You'll also get my cell phone number for those evenings or weekends when business owners or managers are often still working.
  • Daily pickups nationwide and all-inclusive pricing available to customers of ALL sizes.
  • Expertise.  We've done nothing but process international mail and parcels - for 28 years.  We've built this business from the ground up and include many innovations that are very unique to our industry.
  • Accurate and timely invoicing.  Through the development of a highly customized ERP system, invoices and mailing statements are 100% accurate and literally available at our fingertips.  This allows us to invoice the same day as received if our wholesale customers are waiting to invoice their customers.  We can also provide line item detail for packages showing the exact weight and cost (even including a comparison to USPS Retail rates for comparable services).
  • We track a lot of packages so we can help set customer expectations.  We can also provide data on YOUR packages when requested (we provide this for all new customers).  We can also provide country specific information on both delivery and delivery scan rates which average about 95% via our ePacket service.
  • There are also many things we do to insure timely entry and delivery that go unseen.  We go to great lengths to fix bad addresses - not even a single package gets by us if it's missing an address component or if routing "issues".  Trust me, we've seen and handled it all!

If ever in the area of Kalamazoo (SW Michigan) and it's not "blizzarding", stop and see us - we love company!

The Switzerland Federal Taxation Administration earlier this year announced Value Added Tax (VAT) changes which will impact companies shipping goods to Switzerland.  Effective January 1, 2019, any mail order company which generates at least 100,000 Swiss Francs in turnover per year from small consignments which it transports or dispatches to Switzerland from abroad must be entered in the Switzerland VAT Register.  VAT will be assessed on such consignments.  Following is a link to the Switzerland Federal Taxation Administration website with details:  https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/en/home/mehrwertsteuer/fachinformationen/regelung-fuer-den-versandhandel.html

If you have specific questions concerning the Switzerland VAT, please contact the Switzerland Federal Tax Administration directly:

Online form:

Click here for questions about the Value Added Tax.

Phone:  41 58 462 21 11

Postal Address:

Federal Tax Administration FTA
Main Division Value Added Tax
Schwarztorstrasse 50
3003 Berne

Need an effective return mechanism to get packages returned from Canada?  IMS now offers "International Business Reply Service (IBRS) Canada Small Package Return" service that makes it very easy for your customers to return packages back to your USA location.

The service is designed for items measuring up to 24” in length and weighing up to 4.4 lbs. IMS will provide you with a preapproved label containing content information along with your US address. You can make this label available by either enclosing with each outbound package, via email, or post in your web site. Then, your customer simply affixes to the package and drops off at any Post Office or Post Collection Box in Canada. No postage required. Items are delivered back to the US in an average of 4-7 days. You’re charged only for those items actually returned.

Please let us know if you’d like more information on this exciting new service by calling 800-466-6245 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..