Bringing MacBook Pro from U.S. to Europe

jcclose1

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 25, 2013
2
0
Hi Everyone,
I've been hearing conflicting info about getting a new MacBook Pro from the U.S. into Europe by mail while avoiding a hefty VAT. If anyone can help clear things up for me I'd greatly appreciate it.

One method I've read of is to have a friend on the U.S. side do the following:
1.) Install the OS and load a few personal photos onto the desktop.
2.) Get rid of all the Apple packaging and pack only the computer and accessories into the parcel.
3.) On the outgoing customs form, declare the parcel contents as "Personal property."

If you have knowledge or experience that says this plan is doable - or whether there is a fatal flaw somewhere - please let me know.

Many thanks for your input.
 

jamesjingyi

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2011
792
32
UK
Hi Everyone,
I've been hearing conflicting info about getting a new MacBook Pro from the U.S. into Europe by mail while avoiding a hefty VAT. If anyone can help clear things up for me I'd greatly appreciate it.

One method I've read of is to have a friend on the U.S. side do the following:
1.) Install the OS and load a few personal photos onto the desktop.
2.) Get rid of all the Apple packaging and pack only the computer and accessories into the parcel.
3.) On the outgoing customs form, declare the parcel contents as "Personal property."

If you have knowledge or experience that says this plan is doable - or whether there is a fatal flaw somewhere - please let me know.

Many thanks for your input.
Is your friend going on a trip to the UK anytime? Would be a lot easier this way... Or if you were going to America..

Otherwise this sounds fine... A bit sketchy but fine :)
 

Laai

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2012
116
20
Germany
Ok, I can't (and won't) advise you to do illegal stuff, but I hope that this helps you out:

1. You can ask for a Tax Free refund (ex. Global Blue) when you purchase any item in the US (provided you payed tax of course). You can get some money back from your purchase in that way. This money can be used toward paying VAT when importing the computer to any other country.

2. Into which country are you importing your rMBP? I come from Germany and there is a law here that makes the life of customs officers very easy: basically, they do not have to provide evidence that you purchased the computer from outside of the EU, but YOU have to provide evidence that you purchased the computer within the EU - and this is only doable via a receipt, they will not accept anything else. So loading pictures and data will not help you at all.
 

jcclose1

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 25, 2013
2
0
I am in fact in Germany. If it's the way you say it is, then I will not take my chances. But just out of curiosity, is that receipt requirement applied uniformly? Or is just a matter of getting extremely unlucky?
 

jonnysods

macrumors 603
Sep 20, 2006
6,457
3,214
There & Back Again
Doing it by mail? I have my doubts you'd get it home without getting taxed.

If you had a friend put it in their backpack and bring it to you... but defeats the purpose of trying to save coin.
 

Mr. Dee

macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2003
2,451
3,488
Jamaica
I going to give you a story. In 2015 I won a Surface Pro at a conference, but I also purchased a MacBook Pro. I put the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro in addition to my laptop in my backpack. Upon return, customs asked me how much I paid for the Surface. I said I won it, they said it doesn't matter. I had placed boxes for the Mac and Surface in the checked in luggage. To cut a long story short, they were't going to let it leave the airport with some duties paid on it, even if you are sending it as personal property or gift.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,985
5,493
Whether a tax will be applied or not is decided by the customs officials. And you never know what they will do. You can try that scheme, but if it fails you will end up paying more than what you'd pay in Germany.

P.S. Why not buy in Switzerland? Its ~15% cheaper. Combine it with a hike in the lovely Alps, have some nice Rösti :)
 
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hamiltonDSi

macrumors 68000
Jul 29, 2012
1,541
247
Romania
Last year a good friend was visiting the US and I asked him to buy an Apple Watch for me and an iPhone for my sister [we saved 300$ lol - Apple products are expensive as **** here in Romania].

He put the products in his backpack and just got on the plane - nobody asked anything. He did not remove the products from the package. I guess it depends on your luck ?

He flew from US to Turkey, then from Turkey to Hungary, then finally to Romania.
 

MacInTO

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2005
1,171
185
Canada, eh!
Seems sketchy sending it through the post. You'd have to declare a proper value for insurance purposes. If customs opens the package, they can figure it out because it will have a North American keyboard and cable/plug.

Why not take a vacation to the US and go shopping? You'll have much more fun! :D
 

MacInTO

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2005
1,171
185
Canada, eh!
Are gifts exempt?

I do recall a certain japanese car parts vendor who would gift-wrap purchases for their offshore customers :)
Gifts are probably exempt from taxes up to a certain value. Anything beyond the certain value would likely be taxed. If gifts of all values were exempt from taxes, then the government would lose a lot of tax revenue.
 

Pangalactic

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2016
428
948
You can try using Grabr for it: https://grabr.io/

Basically the way it works is another person flying form the US buys your MBP, you pay money to Grabr, and when he brings you your Mac from the states he gets your money pluss a small premium.
 

Mr. Dee

macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2003
2,451
3,488
Jamaica
At a minimum, leave the boxes behind.
[doublepost=1494852518][/doublepost]But I hate leaving the boxes behind. I think its part of the experience.
 
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