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Traveling with expensive items on you (watches, etc) can you be asked to pay import tax/vat?

PinkCat

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Dec 20, 2022
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Lets say you have one expensive watch on your wrist and one in your carry on luggage in travel box, no original box, papers or warranty with you. Can customs officer at land border or airport ask you to pay tax on them with the the threat that otherwise they will confiscate them?

I've always believed there can be a problem if you travel with the original box and papers with you, but just got anecdotal story about a friend who while crossing Switzerland - Italy border was asked by the italians custom to pay tax on bunch of designer items that were WITHOUT price tags and without retail packaging and were infact his personal items that he has bought before. They've asked for invoice, but who travels with invoices of all the stuff he carries?
 
Agree, all stories, crossing Switzerland and Italy boarders almost every second week never had the slightest issues there.
 
Lets say you have one expensive watch on your wrist and one in your carry on luggage in travel box, no original box, papers or warranty with you. Can customs officer at land border or airport ask you to pay tax on them with the the threat that otherwise they will confiscate them?

If they stop you at the border and see the watch in the box its a coin toss which way it goes.

I've always believed there can be a problem if you travel with the original box and papers with you, but just got anecdotal story about a friend who while crossing Switzerland - Italy border was asked by the italians custom to pay tax on bunch of designer items that were WITHOUT price tags and without retail packaging and were infact his personal items that he has bought before. They've asked for invoice, but who travels with invoices of all the stuff he carries?

If something looks obvious like a purse still in its Louis Vuitton shopping bag, protective film still on stuff then you will get issues. But if your ever stopped and searched instead of being waived through then something else is at play.

P.S For some reason when I used to drive across the Swiss Italian border and see those neon signs reminding you you must declare if you have more then 10,000 euros in cash it always made me nervous. Never once was stopped for anything but heard all the stories also. This was years ago so things may have changed.
 

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